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Oklahoma vs. Iowa State Preview and Prediction

NCAA Football: Oklahoma at Iowa State

Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming Big 12 game in Norman in our Oklahoma vs. Iowa State preview and prediction.

Broadcast info

Date: October 7th, 2017 | 11:00 a.m. CT | Oklahoma Memorial Stadium

TV: FOX | Brian Custer (Play-by-Play), Ben Leber (Analyst), Jen Hale (Sideline)

Radio: Sooners Sports Network | Toby Rowland (Play-by-Play) Merv Johnson (Analyst), Chris Plank (Sideline)

Radio: Cyclone Radio Network | John Walters (Play-by-Play) , Eric Heft (Analyst), Ben Bruns (Sideline)

Satellite Radio: Sirius 132, XM 99

Fun fact: This marks the 128th time since the start of the 2000 season that OU has been ranked in the top five of the AP poll. Only Alabama (134 times) has more topfive rankings during that period. Meantime, Iowa State is one of eight teams in the nation yet to lose a fumble this season.

 

Key Players

Iowa State Cyclones

Ray Lima, defensive tackle

Lima’s stats don’t jump off the page, but he’s been as big a part of this defense as anyone. Matt Campbell even said as much this week, commenting, “Ray Lima — to be honest with you — if you really study the tape, is kind of the unsung hero right now of what’s going on, on that defense.” 

David Montgomery, running back

Montgomery’s outstanding season was slowed down last week by the Longhorns defense. Montgomery only rushed for 34 yards on nine carries. He needs to get back on track in the running game, and on screens and check downs in the passing game, for Iowa State to have a chance.

Oklahoma Sooners

Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, DE/LB

Okoronkwo leads the team in tackles for loss (7.5), sacks (4.5) and forced fumbles (2). We saw the trouble the Texas pass rush gave Iowa State QB Jacob Park last week, so Okoronkwo will look to be the same kind of force in the Cyclones backfield on Saturday.

Baker Mayfield, quarterback

I usually hate to go with the most obvious choice, the quarterback, but it’s important in this match up. Iowa State has the third-worst passing defense in the Big 12, while their run defense is actually in the top 3. So to really get this offense rolling Saturday afternoon will likely begin on the arm of Mayfield and his wide receivers.

 

Key Storylines

Oklahoma offensive line vs. Iowa State front seven

This is the best match up to watch. As noted above, Ray Lima has caused a lot of issues for opposing offense lines. In turn, that has opened things up for the rest of the front seven like J.D. Waggoner, who is tied for the team lead with 4.5 tackles for loss, along with linebacker Joel Lanning, who had a ridiculous 20 tackles last week against Texas. Iowa State is actually tied for the lead in the Big 12 with 11 sacks as a team. But this Oklahoma offense line is the best Iowa State will see all season, and is one of the best in the country, and more than held its own against Ohio State’s front seven.

Sooners in the Red Zone

The Sooners have the best red zone offense in the Big 12 conference, scoring on 17 of 18 drives, with 16 of those scores being a touchdown. Meantime, Iowa State has the worst red zone defense in the Big 12, allowing opponents to score on 12 of 12 drives, with 10 resulting in touchdowns. Iowa State is going to have to either get a key turnover in the red zone (a la Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma State last weekend), or simply hold OU to field goals (or missed field goals!), to keep themselves in this game.

OU rushing attack

We know that Iowa State is going to focus on slowing down Baker Mayfield’s passing attack, but that should set up for a big afternoon from the running game. In their last game against Baylor, OU’s Abdul Adams (164) and Trey Sermon (148) combined for 312 rushing yards and three scores. Iowa State’s rushing defense has been pretty good, but even against Texas, which doesn’t have a loaded rushing attack, they allowed nearly 150 yards on the ground. OU has a ton of depth at the position and gets to run behind an excellent offensive line.

Prediction

Oklahoma 49, Iowa State 21

Jacob Park’s performance against Texas really concerned me. He looked completely out of sorts and it held back the offense all night. Now Iowa State has to go on the road and play a significantly better team in Oklahoma, with just as many weapons in the front seven. Meantime, while Iowa State was facing a banged up offensive line in Texas, now they face one of the best units in the country. Plus, there are three guarantees in life, death, taxes and Oklahoma beating Iowa State. Oklahoma owns a 74-5-2 (.926) all-time record against Iowa State and is 38-3-1 vs. the Cyclones in Norman. In the Big 12 era, the Sooners hold a 13-0 series advantage (7-0 at home).

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