If you believe that, there’s a bridge for sale in Norman that you might be interested in.
Iowa State was the only team to beat the Sooners in the regular season in 2017, and the Cyclones did it in front of OU’s home crowd. It was a statement game in a season that saw the Cyclones become one of the nation’s surprise teams.
Once again, ISU enters its date with OU as a major underdog. Don’t expect the Sooners to take the Cyclones lightly, though.
Oklahoma at Iowa State
Kickoff: Saturday, Sept. 15 at 12 p.m. ET (Saturday)
Spread: Oklahoma -17.5
Three Things to Watch
1. Iowa State's QB situation
Veteran quarterback Kyle Kempt sustained a leg injury versus Iowa in the team’s first game of the season, initially putting his status for the OU contest in jeopardy. The early word from Ames, however, has Kempt progressing well, meaning he could play on Saturday.
Kempt helped spark ISU’s surprising 2017 campaign. Having him in the lineup isn’t a must if the Cyclones want to win this game, but it would help.
2. Replacing Rodney Anderson
With OU’s star running back on the shelf for the rest of the year, the Sooners have multiple candidates vying to replace the lost production. Sophomore Trey Sermon will likely see most of the carries on Saturday, with senior Marcelias Sutton running second. Redshirt freshman Kennedy Brooks and rookie T.J. Pledger are waiting for a shot if Sermon and Sutton aren’t getting it done.
3. Iowa State’s defensive line vs. Oklahoma’s offensive line
The Sooners’ line received its fair share of hype prior to the year, but the big uglies showed some chemistry issues in last week’s win over UCLA. Led by nose tackle Ray Lima, ISU’s defensive linemen will test OU up front with their relentlessness and mixes of twists and stunts.
After severe weather resulted in their first game of the year being canceled, the Cyclones struggled to get their footing last week against Iowa. Even though ISU held the Hawkeyes to just 13 points, that doesn’t do much good when you can only muster three of your own. Iowa State will have to find a way to kick its offense into gear versus the Sooners to get a second consecutive win in this series.
The ‘Clones can’t count on taking advantage of Oklahoma’s porous defense on the other side of the field this time, either. OU was a mess on D throughout the 2017 season, and ISU benefited from a wide variety of busts and all-around sloppiness in the last meeting of the two teams. Through two games this year, the Sooners look much improved on D. As such, Cyclones' starting quarterback Kyle Kempt’s potential absence looms that much larger.
Iowa State has a well-coached defense in its own right that defensive coordinator Jon Heacock has designed specifically to combat the spread-centric attacks of the Big 12. The Cyclones will probably have some early success in keeping OU out of the end zone as the Sooners adjust to life without Rodney Anderson. ISU will need to find ways to capitalize right away; if not, OU’s offense will eventually wear down the D and pull away.
Prediction: Oklahoma 35, 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.