Iowa State spent last week slogging through an ugly 17-7 loss to Texas. The Cyclones could only muster a total of 256 yards of offense against the Longhorns, including all of 10 rushing.
The Oklahoma Sooners probably watched the game from the comfort of home during their bye week. After a four-week stretch to start the season that left them a little banged up, they probably needed the R&R.
A rejuvenated OU doesn’t bode well for ISU’s chances as the Cyclones travel to Norman.
Maybe ISU head coach Matt Campbell and his team can catch the Sooners looking ahead to next week’s annual showdown with Texas.
Iowa State at Oklahoma
Kickoff: Saturday, Oct. 7 at 12 p.m. ET
TV Channel: FOX
Spread: Oklahoma -27.5
Three Things to Watch
1. Picking on OU’s cornerbacks
In the Sooners’ last game, Baylor took advantage of OU cornerback Jordan Thomas on multiple occasions for touchdown passes in the neighborhood of 70-plus yards. The senior defensive back left the game late with a leg injury, raising questions as to his availability this weekend. If Thomas can’t play, that likely moves one of two freshmen — Tre Norwood or Tre Brown — into the starting lineup. Whether Thomas starts or OU goes to one of his understudies, count on the Cyclones to test out that side of the field with the pass early and often.
2. When the Sooners go deep
OU has one of the most explosive offenses in college football, but quarterback Baker Mayfield and his stable of receivers have yet to get the long ball really clicking. Most of the bigger passing plays are coming from catch-and-run opportunities on intermediate routes. With the Big 12’s heaviest hitters on the horizon, Sooners coach Lincoln Riley would probably like to give opponents something to think about by getting his team to start connecting on some deep shots.
3. Remembering Montgomery
So far this season, the best outcomes for Iowa State’s offense have occurred when running back David Montgomery has the ball in his hands. The sophomore is averaging 5.5 yards per carry and has proven to be a reliable pass catcher. Against Texas last week, the Cyclones apparently forgot that. Montgomery got a combined total of 12 receptions and rushing attempts, well below his average of 12 touches per game. Any path to victory for ISU against OU on Saturday has to start with feeding its star runner the ball — repeatedly.
Neither team played its best ball the last time it took the field. OU survived a penalty-riddled upset bid from Baylor and looked disinterested for most of four quarters. That was even after Baker Mayfield ran his mouth at the Bears before the game started.
Meanwhile, the Cyclones gave a game effort in defending their home turf against Texas, but their abysmal offense thwarted any real hope of a win.
In other words, this game appears to have the makings of a blowout, but Campbell has shown an ability during his time at ISU to convince his team to play hard despite long odds. That might mean a close game for a quarter or a half. It should still end with OU getting the win.
Prediction: Oklahoma 42, Iowa State 17
— Written by Allen Kenney, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Kenney is founder and editor of BlatantHomerism.com and host of the Blatant Homerism Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @BlatantHomerism.