(14) Oklahoma (5-2) at Iowa State (5-3)|
Saturday, Nov. 3, 12 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Frank Haynes, Senior College Football Editor
GAME NOTES: Following a tough home loss to Notre Dame, the 14th-ranked
Oklahoma Sooners return to Big 12 Conference play as they hit the road to
tangle with the Iowa State Cyclones this Saturday in Ames.
Oklahoma's 30-13 loss to the Fighting Irish was particularly hard to take
considering the game was tied at 13-13 until the 5:05 mark of the fourth
quarter. The setback was the Sooners' second of the season, the other coming
against Kansas State in a 24-19 final back on Sept. 22, which means their two
losses have come against the No. 2 and No. 3 teams in the most recent BCS
Iowa State is 5-3 on the year, but just 2-3 in the Big 12. The Cyclones won at
home over Baylor last Saturday, 35-21, putting the brakes on a two-game slide
and giving the team a 3-2 home record. Including this bout, three of ISU's
remaining four games will be extremely difficult as it will also face Texas
and West Virginia sandwiched around a clash with Kansas.
Oklahoma has dominated the all-time series with Iowa State, winning 69 of the
previous 76 meetings. The Sooners have won 20 straight matchups in Ames, and
have lost only once to the Cyclones in the last 42 years (1990).
Despite 356 passing yards from Landry Jones and a record-setting 15 catches
for 181 yards by Jalen Saunders, the Sooners were held out of the end zone
until the 9:10 mark of the fourth quarter last week against Notre Dame. Jones
did not toss a scoring strike in the game, and he was picked off once and
sacked twice. The Oklahoma run game was nonexistent, as Damien Williams
tallied just 29 yards on 13 carries, the team finishing with a scant 15 net
yards on the night. OU was just 4-of-14 on third-down conversion attempts.
The Oklahoma defense stood tall for most of last week's game, but the Irish
scored 17 points in the final five minutes and change to earn the victory. The
Sooners surrendered 215 yards and three TDs to the UND rushing attack, which
averaged 5.5 ypc. Tony Jefferson and Aaron Colvin led the OU stance with 11
and 10 tackles, respectively, but the unit as a whole logged just a single
sack, only two TFL, and failed to come up with a turnover.
With Landry leading the way, the Oklahoma offense is putting up 40.1 ppg,
while converting nearly 50 percent of their third-down opportunities and
scoring on 95 percent of their trips to the red zone. Jones has hit the mark
on 64 percent of his passes for 2,009 yards, 12 TDs and only four
interceptions. Saunders, who had only five catches on the year before last
week's huge effort, currently ranks third on the team's receiving list, which
is headed by Kenny Stills and his 45 grabs for 557 yards and four TDs. The run
game is spearheaded by Damien Williams, as he averages 6.7 ypg in totaling 581
yards and scoring seven times.
Defensively, the Sooners are permitting just 17.4 ppg, with foes typically
churning out 149.1 ypg on the ground and 167.0 ypg through the air. With last
week's late collapse certainly adding to it, Oklahoma has now surrendered as
many points in the fourth quarter (61) this season as it has in the first
three quarters combined. Jefferson is clearly the team's most active defender,
logging 59 tackles, while second-leading tackler Javon Harris has a club-best
Stoops was quick to acknowledge the effort put forth by the Fighting Irish,
but at the same time praised his team for leaving it all out on the field.
"What a heck of a football game. I told my players I was very proud of how
they fought, how they competed, how hard they played and all of that. We just
needed to be a few plays better in some areas."
Iowa State QB Steele Jantz tied school records for completions (36) and
touchdown tosses (5) in leading Iowa State past visiting Baylor last weekend.
Jantz hit 10 different receivers for a career-high 381 passing yards, and his
36-of-52 performance tied ISU's single-game completion mark. Jantz connected
with Jarvis West (seven receptions, 99 yards) for three TDs. The Cyclones
added 176 rushing yards, as Shontrelle Johnson led the charge with 73 yards on
While the Cyclone offense was blowing through the Bears, the defense lived up
to its end of the bargain as well by holding the BU offense, which came in
sporting a scoring average of 48.0 ppg, to 21 points. That despite giving up
541 total yards, including 426 via the pass. ISU also forced four turnovers,
including three fumbles. Linebackers A.J. Klein and Jake Knott tallied 13 and
11 tackles, respectively, but the unit did not record a sack and made just one
stop behind the line of scrimmage. Durrell Givens was credited with two fumble
Iowa State's success this season has almost occurred in spite of its offensive
effort, as the team averages just 25 points and 369.4 ypg, both of which rank
the team ninth in the 10-team Big 12. The Cyclones are actually the worst
rushing team in the conference (141.9 ypg), with Johnson's 343 yards leading
the way. ISU has scored just six rushing TDs this season, half of what Jantz
has thrown in completing 66.5 percent of his passes for 1,219 yards. He has
been picked off eight times, but the team's top five receivers have combined
for 15 TD catches.
Allowing just 19.8 ppg, the Iowa State defense currently ranks third in the
conference and it has been especially tough against the run in yielding only
135.1 ypg on 3.6 ypc. The Cyclones sit second in the league in interceptions
(10), and they've returned two for TDs. Knott (79) and Klein (67) rank one-two
on the team's tackles list, the two also combining for three picks.
Coach Paul Rhoads was clearly happy with the outcome of last week's bout with
"I'm very proud of our football team. We were composed, energized and played
together in all three phases. It was a good win coming off two losses for our
Keeping that momentum going against a foe as formidable as Oklahoma won't be
easy, but you can be sure Iowa State isn't about to throw up the white flag
without taking a few shots at the Sooners. The crowd could play a factor, but
expect Stoops' troops to beat the Cyclones yet again.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Oklahoma 31, Iowa State 14
10/31 10:37:09 ET