2015 Game IX: Iowa State (3-6, 2-4) vs. Oklahoma State (9-0, 6-0)
Date: November 14, 2015
Time: 2:30 PM CST
Location: Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, IA
Line: Oklahoma State -14, O/U 61
Radio: Cyclone Radio Network
The Cyclones welcome in another foe from Oklahoma, except this time they are undefeated, and riding a program-changing win against TCU last week.
Rhoads and company will have their hands full for this one. It will be the last time that 17 seniors grace the field of Jack Trice, and while only some of those seniors had the chance to play in a bowl game, their time here at ISU was under appreciated.
We all remember when there was "something special in the air" only a short four years ago on a similar Senior Night against the black and orange of OSU..
The Wide Right Gods were in the building that night.
P.S. What happened to those Hit Tapes? I think we need to bring those back
When we last left off....
ISU got hit coming off the bus last week against Oklahoma, as they lost to the Sooners by a score of 52-16. Oklahoma dominated the trenches on both sides of the ball, and Joel Lanning came back down to earth. RB Mike Warren was held in check, as he only rushed for 43 yards, and Lanning threw a career-high 51 times.
Anytime Lanning is throwing for over 40 times a game, that is not a good sign for this offense. This team's strength is in the run game, and if ISU can get the ball moving north and south on the ground on Saturday, we are in good shape. Keyword is if.
The defense showed a lack of discipline in breaking down on tackles, and it showed as Oklahoma had four scores on plays of 50 yards or more. It comes back to the offense needing to help the defense though. The D was on the field way too long in this one, and we saw a lot of tired bodies in the second half. ISU was unable to sustain drives on offense, and punch the ball in the end zone.
Oklahoma State Tidbits
The Cowboys moved up seven spots to number five in the nation after last week's trouncing of TCU. ISU currently has FIVE opponents this season that are now ranked in the Top 15 in the country. If only we had Iowa's schedule...
Oklahoma State controls their own destiny, as they are undefeated, and still have Baylor and Oklahoma left on their schedule, and both at home. The Cowboys carry a two-quarterback tandem, and are led by Sophomore QB Mason Rudolph and a 44.6 points per game average. They are also top-10 in passing and red zone offense, and aren't too shabby on the defensive side of the ball either, as they rank third nationally in sacks, and fourth in forced turnovers.
Oklahoma State leads the all-time series 28-18-3, and won last year's affair 37-20, behind another Big 12 Refs blown call.
You can fast forward to 1:10, or just watch all the blunders over the years. And for that, we thank you @Big12Refs.
Which of course led to Jamie Pollard standing up for his Cardinal and Gold, and receiving a fine. Still well worth it Jamie.
Iowa State Offense
Joel Lanning went from runner to passer last week, and that didn't work out so well. The jump balls to Lazard were a success, but Joel still wasn't as accurate as he needed to be. There were a ton of dropped balls from the receivers, especially on key third down plays, and can't happen in order for the offense to move the chains.
Oklahoma State carries an aggressive blitz scheme, and will be in the backfield a lot on Saturday. It will be important for the linemen to sustain their blocks on passing plays, and may need to bring in an extra blocker in the form of TE Ben Boesen or RB Joshua Thomas on 3rd downs.
First Key to Victory - Run the Ball
It has been one of my main keys all year, and truly butters the offense's bread. It keeps Lanning upright and forces the safeties in the box. I noticed in the Oklahoma game that Lanning was unable to audible even when it was clear there was pressure coming. Hopefully Sturdy has given Joel the go-ahead to make those check downs and changes at the line of scrimmage to get him out of bad situations.
RB Mike Warren will go over 1000 yards on the Saturday, and he needs to break through in flying colors. It won't help that guard Daniel Burton will be out, nursing a bum knee. He is an impact for the run blocking scheme that makes this offense go round.
I would be perfectly fine with 20 targets going to Allen Lazard on Saturday. The guy is a stallion, and can out-jump anyone for a deep ball. If the Cowboys send blitzes then Lazard will most likely be in single coverage, and I would love to see him get as many opportunities as possible.
Oklahoma State Defense
What has been lost in the shuffle about this Oklahoma State team is how good their defense is. They lead the Big 12 in tackles for loss, second in sacks, second in rush defense, first in interceptions, and second in pass efficiency defense.
They are led by All-American to-be DE Emmanuel Ogbah, who leads the Big 12 in sacks and tackles for loss. The 6-foot-4, 275 pound Junior will most likely be named Defensive Player of the Year in the conference, and needs to be accounted for on all plays. Good luck Jake Campos, you are going to need it.
Second Key to Victory - Win the Turnover Battle
The OSU defense feeds on turnovers, and currently have five touchdowns by way of interceptions and fumble returns. They rank fourth nationally, taking the ball away 23 times. Look out for free safety Jordan Sterns, who leads the team in tackles, and senior CB Kevin Peterson, who has started 31 games in the orange and black, and is a semi-finalist for the Thorpe award.
In order for ISU to make this a game, they have to take the throws that OSU gives them. That means quick screens (not to the short side of the field) and short to intermediate routes in the middle of the field. And if they are going to blitz, look for Lazard streaking down the sidelines.
The Verdict - Oklahoma State
The Cowboys average over five three-and-outs per game, and get to the quarterback often. It will be hard to run against this defense, as their two interior linemen are overpowering. ISU needs to gain yards on first and second down by way of quick passes, and Warren needs to find some holes, especially on the edge. If we are in 3rd-and-longs we are in big trouble.
Iowa State Defense
ISU got pressure on the quarterback last week, and Dale Pierson finally got back in the sack column. The 3-4 can hold its own against Oklahoma State, but will also need to be ready when they bring in their power-running QB J.W. Walsh.
We have seen a slew of underclassmen take the field for fresh legs, and that will pay dividends down the road. Players like LB Brian Mills, Nickel Reggan Northrup and even LB Luke Knott have seen more playing time as of late. Northrup took more snaps last week than Jay Jones, as Jones has been out of position far too often. Look for more corners on the field, especially Jomal Wiltz at the third corner spot. He has earned his stripes and adds another gear in the speed column.
Nigel Tribune and Brian Peavy will have their hands full again, as OSU likes to spread it out and throw deep. So far the mainstay of the defense has been Qujuan Floyd, as he has led the team in tackles and will be busy again.
Third Key to Victory - Red Zone Defense
This ISU team has given up the yards this year, but has been unable to stop teams when it matters the most. The best Wally Burnham defenses, bend but don't break, and the only way that works is if they can hold the Cowboys offense to field goals and force turnovers in the red zone.
Oklahoma State Offense
Mike Gundy is known for his spread attack offenses, and this year is no different. OSU is yet another high scoring team in the Big 12, averaging 44.6 per game on the scoreboard, and their claim to fame is through the air. They average 354 passing yards per game, behind sophomore QB Mason Rudolph who had 5 touchdowns last week against TCU.
When Rudolph needs a breather, in comes senior J.W. Walsh, who is the better runner of the two. So far on the season Walsh has led the team in rushing touchdowns, and isn't too shabby throwing the ball either. Walsh completes a ridiculous 77% of his passes and has an astounding 294.22 pass efficiency rating.
The Cowboys share the ball amongst a bevy of receivers, most notably James Washington and David Glidden. Washington is the touchdown maker, with seven on the year, and Glidden a 5-foot-8 speedster who can take it to the house on any play.
Running the ball for OSU are juniors Chris Carson and Rennie Childs. The two combine for 682 yards on and five rushing touchdowns on the season. Look for the Cowboys to spread it out, throw it deep and utilize as little clock as possible.
Verdict - Oklahoma State
Another ISU opponent, another steadfast offense. The Cowboys get my vote in this matchup, as they have proven their notoriety in the passing game. Gundy and his crew will not let up on the Cyclones, as they want to score as many style points as possible to appease the College Football Playoff Committee.
Cole Netten got back in the good graces of Cyclone faithful last week, as he went 3-for-3 on kicks, including a career-long 51 yarder. ISU has continued to show that they can cover kicks and punts, and also have a weapon in Allen Lazard and Trever Ryen returning punts.
Oklahoma State trots out a solid kicker in junior Ben Grogan, who has made 11 of 14 field goals on the year, and carries a freshman at the punter position.
Advantage - Iowa State
The Cyclones have proven that they can cover kicks, ranking 8th in kick return defense. The punt returners are also solid. That is if they get to return any on Saturday.
KnowDan's Beer Pick of the Week
Mailing this one in boys, it's the final home game of the season and I'm tired. It's the 7th Annual Shitty Beer tailgate this weekend and we're gracing ourselves with the presence of great beers such as Tecate, Heineken, Corona Light, Lone Star, and many others. Stop by if you're in Ames and you want to go blind before the snuff film in the stadium.
Mike Gundy has a special team this year. Experts picked OSU to finish in the middle of the conference, and so far he has exceeded all expectations. Will the Cowboys look past ISU like they did on that magical night four years ago?
Paul Rhoads and Todd Sturdy have their work cut out for them. Don't be surprised to see a bit of Sam Richardson in this one, as ISU may be forced away from the run game and into passing mode. Lanning is a serviceable throwing quarterback, but doesn't have the experience that Richardson does against frantic defenses.
The defense has been up against some of the best passing attacks all year, and this one will be no different. In order for ISU to make it a contest they will have to force turnovers, and convert those into touchdowns. As good as this defense is, they have still yet to score a touchdown on their own.
I see a bright future ahead for this young Cyclone team and wish the seniors their best in their last game in Jack Trice.
Iowa State 20
Oklahoma State 38