AMES — Oklahoma lost Sterling Shepard — the wide receiver ISU coach Paul Rhoads considers one of the Big 12’s best, if not the best at his position— one offensive play into Saturday’s game.
Didn’t matter. Not one bit and not for one second.
Shepard was carted off after being injured on a 46-yard catch, but the No. 19 Sooners brutalized the outmanned Cyclones throughout, rolling up 257 yards of offense in the first quarter alone while breezing to a 59-14 win at Jack Trice Stadium.
“We tackled horribly today,” said Rhoads, whose team has not posted a win in the series since 1990. “I mean horribly. But a lot of those tackle chances were well downfield anyway, so I credit what (Oklahoma) did in the open week time to hurt us early — hurt us bad early. Then after we made the adjustments we just didn’t play well enough against good players.”
The Cyclones (2-6, 0-5) also lost some of their own.
One play after Shepard went down, ISU senior linebacker and leading tackler Jevohn Miller suffered a severe knee injury and did not return. Cyclone Radio Network sideline reporter Ben Bruns Tweeted that Miller’s season was over. Rhoads said further information is needed to confirm that, but noted that “it’s probably not good.”
To make matters worse, top cornerback Nigel Tribune couldn’t play because of a groin injury and banged-up senior nose guard Brandon Jensen was unable to take more than a few snaps before leaving the field.
“When he got out there and tried to do it, it just wouldn’t respond,” Rhoads said.
Story of the day — physically and mentally.
The Sooners (6-2, 3-2) racked up 620 yards in the first three quarters and finished with 751 as reserves played the final 15 minutes.
It was the storied program’s fourth-most yards gained ever and ISU’s given up more real estate than that in a single game just twice in its history (776 to Nebraska in 1995 and 775 to Texas Tech).
“We needed a confidence builder,” said Oklahoma quarterback Trevor Knight, who totaled six touchdowns (three passing, three rushing).
So did — and so do — the Cyclones, but instead they got more depressing statistics.
Oklahoma’s 510 rushing yards were the most the Cyclones have yielded since Nebraska racked up 624 on the ground in that aforementioned 1995 shellacking. Three Sooners players — Knight, plus running backs Alex Ross and Samaje Perine — rushed for 110-plus yards each.
It’s the first time since 1992 that’s happened for Oklahoma — and the 510 rushing yards were the most the Sooners have totaled in 26 years.
“The run game was successful today,” OU coach Bob Stoops said.
No kidding, but so was everything else, save the turnover battle, from a Sooner perspective.
ISU cornerback Sam E. Richardson picked off two passes and linebacker Luke Knott rose up to intercept one. But the Cyclones were down 21-0 by the first quarter’s end and trailed by at least that many points the final 2 1/2 quarters of the game.
"As a defense we obviously had those takeaways, but when we weren’t having takeaways we were giving up long runs, long passes,” said Knott, who finished with eight tackles. “I mean, you guys have probably seen the stat sheet already. Just unacceptable as a defense.”
The Cyclones lost just one turnover — a rare fumble from quarterback Sam B. Richardson as he was getting sacked in the third quarter.
By that time the score was 45-7.
Richardson sprinkled in his lone touchdown pass three drives later, a 59-yard connection to D’Vario Montgomery.
"I felt like that would be our start of a snowball to help us keep it going downhill,” Montgomery said.
Too little, far too late.
Richardson, who completed just 15 of 40 passes for 239 yards also rushed for a touchdown. Montgomery led a drop-plagued receiving corps with 88 yards and Allen Lazard made a team-high five grabs.
“Today was probably just not our day for offense,” Montgomery said.
“I couldn’t tell you,” Montgomery said with a slight shake of his head.