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Iowa State Cyclones vs. Oklahoma Sooners Preview

Against Iowa State, Bob Stoops prefers to drive a car without brakes, as he always, always steps on the gas.

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NCAA Football: Iowa State at Oklahoma Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

It’s the annual event where Boomer Sooner absolutely shit stomps the Cyclones, and then when they think we’ve had enough, they shit stomp us some more.

They don’t call them shit kickers for nothing, ya know.

2016 Game IX: Iowa State (1-7, 0-5) vs. #12 Oklahoma University (6-2, 5-0)

Date: Thursday November 3, 2016

Time: 6:30 P.M. CST

Location: Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, IA

Capacity: 61,500

Line: Oklahoma -21

Television: ESPN

Radio: Cyclone Radio Network

Game Notes/Release

Oklahoma Game Notes

Oklahoma SB Nation Website – Crimson and Cream Machine

When We Last Left Off

Iowa State played a stellar fourth quarter against the Wizard/Vampire Bill Snyder and his purple cats of Kansas State. The only problem was — they dug themselves such a deep hole it was hard to get out of. The deficit was 31-10 entering the fourth when the gun-slinging arm of Jacob Park came alive, but too little too late, as K-State hung on to a 31-26 victory.

ISU totaled a season-high 360 yards of offense in the second half, and Park accounted for 250 of those through the air. Park is this week’s player to watch, as HashtagChris explained here.

It appears the coaching staff has handed the keys to the sophomore, who has the better arm, and there is no question he has more upside than his counterpart Joel Lanning. I mean, look at that hair! He looks like Weird Al Yankovic mixed in with a dose of Dr. Frankenstein.

The defense did not live up to the task, as their weakness all year has been stopping the run, and K-State exploited it. Our front seven just doesn’t have the talent nor the urgency to stick with the big boys.

Oklahoma Tidbits

Iowa alum Bob Stoops is in his 18th season in Norman, and has amassed all sorts of school records. His biggest accomplishment (a risky one when it happened), was hiring wet-behind-the-ears offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley before last season. The 33-year old not only won the Broyles award for top assistant in the country, but he has even turned it up a notch this season.

Oklahoma has increased their yard totals from 480 yards per game in their first 3 outings, all the way up to 622 per contest since. The point totals have gone up from 35 to a staggering 51 in the same stretch.

Two main reasons for this are the efficiency in the running game and increase in downfield throws. The two main benefactors are running back Joe Mixon and wide receiver Dede Westbrook, who have turned in All-American type of performances in the last few weeks.

NCAA Football: Iowa State at Oklahoma
We don’t travel by way of horses and schooners anymore Oklahoma!
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The defense is a different story, as the Sooners are just another prototypical Big-12 team that scores big, but gives up a lot of points, including 819 yards and 59 points to Texas Tech two weeks ago.

Here’s the stat-line for Taco Tech’s QB Patrick Mahomes:

52 completions on 88 pass attempts for 734 passing yards, 5 touchdowns and 1 interception.


The Series

The Sooners lead the all-time series 73-5-2, have won 17 straight, and ISU hasn’t won since 1990.

This rivalry is about as one-sided as a Chihuahua in a dog fight.

And it hasn’t been close in many of those games. In those 17 consecutive losses, the Sooners have outscored ISU 616-160. Woof

ISU Offense

Although Joel Lanning is listed number one on the depth chart, I foresee Jacob Park making the start in this one. It is clear this staff wants Park to gain more experience in Big 12 games, and are now comfortable enough with his skill-set and mental capacity of the playbook. Don’t sleep on Lanning though, as he will come in to steal some touches in the red zone and short-yardage packages with his truck-stick.

First Key to Victory – Keep Park’s Jersey Clean

After giving up 8 sacks combined against Texas and Oklahoma State, the offensive line did a much better job of holding their blocks in the Kansas State contest. Oklahoma struggles to stop the pass, so ISU will need to take advantage of the opportunities that are there, and that won’t happen unless Park gets ample time to make his reads and throws. The good thing about #10 is he makes quicker decisions than his counterpart, and has the arm strength to make throws in tight windows.

NCAA Football: Iowa State at Texas Christian
The man with the great hair gets his turn at QB
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Warren is questionable to play, but according to coaches he should be good to go. The stud sophomore has been held in check recently, but according to Uncle Randy over at the Rag, everyone is wrong. Everyone. I have seen huge strides in backup David Montgomery, as the freshman runs with a vengeance and can hold his own as a pass-blocker.

Allen Lazard is back to full health, and I could see him posting career-high numbers, as the Sooners are really good at giving up the deep throws this year. Deshaunte Jones will see a steady amount of passes his way, and so will the likes of Carson Epps, Dondre Daley and Trever Ryen. Let’s just hope Ryen doesn’t have the sun in his eyes…

Oklahoma Defense

The Sooners are atrocious at this thing called defense, and the only reason the defensive coordinator is still there is, well, it’s Bob’s brother. Mike Stoops leads a depleted unit that has a plethora of injuries to deal with. Looking at their stat sheet for the year, they have 5 of their top 17 tacklers either doubtful, out or suspended for the game.

One of the doubtful ones is Preseason All-Big 12 defensive tackle Charles Walker, as well as their top pass-rusher Ogbonnia Okoronkwo. He leads the team with 8.5 tackles-for-loss and 7 sacks, and it would be a huge blow if he can’t suit up.

So far Stoops has trotted out 22 different defensive starters due to injury, and has faced some of the top offenses the Big 12 has to offer. Not to mention Houston and Ohio State. They have been dominant in rush defense, ranking 24th in the nation, only allowing 123 yards on the ground per game.

Leading the Sooners in the tackle column is All-Big-12 linebacker Jordan Evans, with 8 tackles per game, and not far behind him is Emmanuel Beal. The third starting linebacker Kapri Doucet is suspended for the first half.

While Oklahoma is proficient at stopping the run, they are terrible at stopping the pass. They are good for 126th out of 128 teams in passing defense, allowing 315 yards per game, and only have 5 interceptions on the year. This team is bad at tackling in space and creating turnovers, so look for ISU to try and take advantage of this weakness.

Verdict – Iowa State

There isn’t a lot of film out there for defenses to key on Jacob Park, and I could see the Georgia transfer having a big day, hooking up with Allen Lazard for multiple touchdowns. #5 could easily pick up 150-plus yards. Oklahoma forced Texas Tech into 3rd and 7 (or longer) 12 different times, and all 12 times Taco Tech converted. That tells me that this team cannot get pressure, and their cornerbacks are deficient at open-field tackling.

Second Key to Victory – Chew the Clock

It’s easier said than done, and with Oklahoma’s strength being stopping the run, ISU will have to do all it can to sustain drives in the short passing game to keep Baker Mayfield off the field. Our receivers will be open, and I’m sure coordinator Tom Manning will muster up a game plan to take advantage of our skill position players in the open field.

ISU Defense

Moving Jhaustin Thomas inside was a breath of fresh air, as the defensive line has played better. It was the linebackers that struggled to tackle and fill the gaps before K-State linemen invaded their space. Their work will be cut out for them again, as Oklahoma likes to run up-tempo and get the ball to their running backs outside in the passing game.

Willie Harvey needs to show up and show more urgency on the field. The game is still moving too fast for him and is putting him out of position to make plays. We will see more of the 4-2-5 set with D’Andre Payne and Evrett Edwards in this one, and both of those gentlemen will have to utilize their speed and break down to tackle.

The secondary will have their work cut out for them against this dude.

Dede Westbrook can take the top off the defense in an instant, and it will be important to keep at least two sets of eyes on #11 at all times. That means safety help in the back end, and will most certainly lure Kamari Cotton-Moya away from run support.

Third Key to Victory – Bend But Don’t Break

I know what you’re thinking. This defensive scheme sucks worse than getting an Almond Joy in your Halloween bag.

Oklahoma is going to get theirs, but what this system does is keep plays in front of you from 20 to 20, and shortens the field in the red zone. You talk to any quarterback and they will tell you it is much tougher to fit a ball in windows on the goal-line than it is in space.

What this also does is slow the game down, milks the clock, and plays at a much better managed pace for ISU. Again, a hard task to quantify, but feasible with the strength of our secondary.

Oklahoma Offense

The Sooners carry with them the most vaunted three-headed monster attack in college football. Quarterback Baker Mayfield leads the country in yards per pass attempt and passing efficiency (and is on pace to break the all-time record). He is completing passes at a 71% clip, has 27 touchdowns versus 5 interceptions, and oh yeah, can run the ball too.

NCAA Football: Kansas at Oklahoma
Can anyone say Joe Dirt?
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Running back Joe Mixon has stepped in for injured Samaje Perine (who is out), and hasn’t missed a beat. He leads the Big 12 in all-purpose yards per game (195) and is averaging an astounding 6.8 yards per carry. But, recent reports have come out that Mixon is suspended for the game and this changes the dynamic of the match up immensely.

Stepping in the big shoes to fill of Mixon and Perine are the following: Dimitri Flowers, Abdul Adams, and Devin Montgomery.

The third stooge goes by the name of Dede Westbrook. This manchild has 881 receiving yards and 11 receiving touchdowns over his last 5 games, and obviously leads the conference in both of those categories. What’s truly scary is that 8 of those 11 TD’s are from 40 yards or longer.

Verdict – Oklahoma by a Wide Margin

I’m not sure what else to say here.

Special Teams

With Mixon out, that takes away a threat in the return game, but Dede Westbrook is still dangerous.

Oklahoma’s kicker was picked as a Preseason 1st Teamer, and is doing his best Tony Yelk impersonation at punting too. Needless to say, he is 7-for-10 on the year in field goals, but also one-upped Yelk with his own missed extra point a few weeks ago.

Cole Netten is 4 points away from becoming the all-time leading scorer in school history, and is currently the most accurate kicker in the conference. Yippee!

ISU’s return game is just waiting for a game-breaking touchdown from freshman Kene Nwangwu, and what better time to do it than on the mothership in prime time?

Verdict – EVEN

I don’t see special teams affecting the game much, as punts will be held to a minimum and most points will be scored by way of 6’s, not 3’s. If ISU does get in a shootout, they are going to have to scrap the field goals and go for it on fourth down early and often.

Final Analysis

Welp, as history proves, this matchup is about as uneven as a blind man playing poker.

Here is what ISU has to do to win this game:

Get pressure on Baker Mayfield (who is outstanding at scrambling), stop the run (haven’t done that all year), control the tempo with sustained drives (good luck), give Park time to throw (we have 3 walk-ons blocking for him), don’t lose the turnover battle (ISU is minus-4 on the year), not allow any big plays (haha), and pray.

Ah, screw it

Crazy things have happened inside the friendly confines of Jack Trice Stadium in week night games...

Final Score

ISU 41, Oklahoma 38