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Five Things We Learned: Oklahoma


NCAA Football: Oklahoma at Iowa State Brian Powers-USA TODAY Sports

Breece Hall is Elite

Iowa State’s sophomore running back is currently fourth in the nation in rushing yards with 397. On top of that, he has six touchdowns. On Saturday, he rushed for 139 yards along with the game-winning touchdown.

One of his most impressive runs that went under appreciate was his run while Iowa State was down 17-6 towards the end of the second half. The Iowa State offense was in desperate need of a touchdown and Hall delivered, breaking two tackles on a 3rd and 8 run while converting a first down. This run set up a touchdown that allowed the Cyclones to trail by 4 at half instead of 8.

Of course, one of the biggest plays of the game was the game winning 8-yard touchdown run by Hall that he set up with a 36-yard run of his own. For the second week in a row, Iowa State put the game in the hands (and feet) of Breece Hall, and he delivered.

On the national stage, Hall proved that he’s not only one of the best running backs in the Big 12, but in the country too.

Heacock Still Has It

With 11 minutes left in the second quarter, when Oklahoma effortlessly drove down the field on all three of their possessions thanks to high powered offense combined with some spotty tackling and a questionable game plan, I was worried. People on Twitter (totally not @mnelson_ISU) were questioning Jon Heacock and his regression of the defense.

But once the deficit reached 11, Heacock made adjustments. He put a spy on Spencer Rattler to avoid his ability to scramble and make plays with his feet. Once this change was made, Rattler was not the same. Oklahoma scored just 13 points after the adjustments, and Iowa State continued to ramp up the pressure,

Heacock has proven time and time again throughout his career that he can steadily ramp up pressure throughout the game. By taking a slow approach, it forces quarterbacks to have to change strategies throughout the game while making them think. In this game, it threw off the young quarterback.

Kene is the X-Factor

I’ll be the first to admit that I was a doubter of Kene Nwangwu. I was as pumped as anyone could’ve been about his future after he returned a kick-return for a touchdown in his freshman season against West Virginia. Unfortunately, he tore his Achilles and missed the entirety of his 2017 season, and he never looked the same in 2018 or 2019.

I didn’t think we would get that explosive and quick player we got as a freshman, he’s proving me wrong in 2020 as a redshirt senior. Against TCU, Nwangwu had just one run, but it went for 49 yards and a touchdown. On Saturday, after Iowa State went down 23-30, Nwangwu returned the kickoff 85 yards to the 13-yard line, setting up the game-tying touchdown.

Kene is famous for running into the backs of blockers when he doesn’t need to, but he hasn’t done that (as much) this season. Instead he’s the difference between 0-3 and 2-1 for the Cyclones.

Gotta Sharpen Up

Yes, it was a great win, but as a pessimistic fan I still have to nitpick. The penalties were a disaster, the Cyclones had 9 penalties for 90 yards, a few of which were completely unnecessary. In the third quarter, Gerry Vaughn was ejected for targeting and roughing the passer. There were also little things like false starts, ineligible men downfield, it was just sloppy football that can’t happened the rest of year if Iowa State wants to compete for a Big 12 title.


Say what you want about Purdy’s season up to this point, he looked off the first two weeks, his stats weren’t there against Oklahoma, but Brock Purdy is back. Yes, he only completed 50% of his passes, but he was making big time throws on the run while the pocket was collapsing, and with the game on the line. He had the look in his eye and led Iowa State to a win.

Fun fact: Brock Purdy is 8-1 in the month of October. Let’s go.