No. 9 Oklahoma knows Iowa State not a doormat
NORMAN, Okla. — Oklahoma fully recognizes Iowa State’s transition from Big 12 doormat to capable adversary.
The Cyclones upset the Sooners 38-31 in Norman in 2017 and now Iowa State (5-3, 3-2 Big 12) visits Oklahoma again Saturday not nearly the underdog it was two years ago. Matt Campbell has a 21-13 record coaching the Cyclones the past three seasons, with several wins over ranked opponents.
“Competitive each and every game,” Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said. “Seems like they always give themselves a chance to win. I think that’s one of the biggest compliments you can give any coach, is if they’re able to do it with different people and sustain it, and he’s certainly done that there.”
Oklahoma (7-1, 4-1, No. 9 CFP) is coming off a 48-41 loss to Kansas State two weeks ago that could cost them a shot at a College Football Playoff spot. The ninth-ranked Sooners tried to iron out kinks during a bye week so they can make a run and try to keep up with league-leading Baylor.
“I think we got a lot of good work in, kind of got the opportunity to re-evaluate ourselves and refocus and attack what’s to come,” Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts said.
Iowa State still could position itself for a spot in the Big 12 championship game. The Cyclones might be in better shape, but star quarterback Brock Purdy threw three interceptions in the fourth quarter of a 34-27 loss to Oklahoma State two weeks ago.
“What’s gone well — we’ve played a lot of really good football through eight football games,” Campbell said. “What hasn’t gone well is when we’re not playing our best, some of our detail and our discipline slip.”
Hurts and Purdy are among the nation’s most productive quarterbacks. Hurts leads the nation in passer efficiency and ranks second in total offense and third in yards per carry. Purdy ranks third nationally in yards passing per game (320.9). They are the top two players in the Big 12 in total offense, with Hurts’ rushing yards putting him ahead of Purdy.
Iowa State freshman running back Breece Hall ranks second in the Big 12 with 98.2 yards rushing per game during conference play. He rushed for 132 yards and three touchdowns against West Virginia, followed that with 19 carries for 183 yards and two scores against Texas Tech, then had 18 carries for 76 yards and two more scores against Oklahoma State. If he can provide some balance for the Cyclones, the Sooners could struggle to defend them.