Nov 9, 2019; Norman, OK, USA; Iowa State Cyclones quarterback Brock Purdy (15) runs as Oklahoma Sooners linebacker Nik Bonitto (35) defends during the fourth quarter at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Chris Williams, Publisher – Iowa State 38, Oklahoma 35
This is a brutal game to pick because of everything that goes into it. Oklahoma, coming off of a loss, has to play on the road against arguably the Big 12’s best defense the week before the Red River Shootout. This is an AWFUL “spot” for the Sooners. But despite winning at TCU last week, we really haven’t seen enough of the Cyclones to be crazy confident that they can knock off Lincoln Riley, right? Frankly, I just like this matchup for Iowa State on Oct. 3. Perhaps on Nov. 10, things would be different. But Oklahoma doesn’t have an elite, veteran quarterback to bounce back with. They have an elite talent, but Spencer Rattler has only seen one true week of high-level competition. He will learn from the KSU loss, but how much in only six days? The other problem is that he doesn’t have an elite defense to help. Iowa State’s running game last week at TCU wasn’t a fluke. I think that the offensive line has taken a significant step forward this season and we haven’t even seen it at full strength. Matt Campbell is 4-0 against the spread vs. Lincoln Riley. Give me the Cyclones, at home, in a statement game for the rest of the season in the Big 12.
Jared Stansbury, Managing Editor – Iowa State 42, Oklahoma 41
I’m not sure Iowa State has ever matched up position-by-position with Oklahoma better than they do this season. Iowa State’s defensive line has an opportunity to bully an Oklahoma offensive line that has started the season off slow. If Iowa State can find success running the ball, it would not surprise me to see the Sooners’ defensive deficiencies become glaring, similarly to how they did last week against Kansas State. This game has all the makings of being a classic under the lights at Jack Trice Stadium. With a win, a trip to the Big 12 title game becomes a considerably more realistic goal (maybe even an expectation). Buckle your seatbelts and prepare for something crazy.
Rob Gray, Senior Writer – Oklahoma 31, Iowa State 27
Spencer Rattler is likely the most potentially dynamic quarterback ISU will face in the regular season, but it will be interesting to see if the Cyclones’ sterling defensive front can force him into desperation mode at times and poor decisions. I say yes, but the amount of big plays given up must decline — and ISU’s offense needs to continue find success on the ground while manufacturing more explosiveness in the pass game. Bottom line: I think a lot of good happens for the Cyclones on Saturday night, but unless they win the turnover battle for the second straight game, I fear another valiant effort will come up barely short.
Jeff Woody, Football Analyst – Iowa State 40, Oklahoma 38
Iowa State is 10-1 in October since 2017 with the only loss being Oklahoma State last year. Iowa State is 3-0 in that same timeframe in their second Big 12 game of the year beating #3 OU, #25 OSU, and hammering TCU last year, respectively. If this coaching staff is known for one thing it’s making adjustments and getting better quickly throughout the season. Kansas State showed the blueprint of how to move the ball and make OU uncomfortable. Iowa State will run the ball better than KSU but probably won’t force turnovers at the same rate. But if you rush the passer like Iowa State has for the past few games, you’re going to cause major trouble. OU is going to score. ISU is going to screw up some coverages. But OU is going to bungle their defense worse. Oklahoma hasn’t been 0-2 in the Big 12 since 1998 under coach John Blake, two years before Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler was even born. Until Saturday.
Jay Jordan, Football Analyst – Iowa State 37, Oklahoma 34
OU is different. Not just because of the loss. The identity is different. They pass well, but aren’t running the ball effectively. They defend the run well, but not the pass. They are still good, but searching. Can ISU take advantage of that? I think they can, but the blood on the ISU screen are a barrier. I think the pass rush of ISU is the difference in a close battle.
Kevin Fitzpatrick, Contributor – Oklahoma 31, Iowa State 20
The seasonally cold weather, damp conditions and another good game plan from Jon Heacock should slow down the Oklahoma offense a bit in this one. The question is, can Iowa State take advantage? I’m hoping the power of the black uniforms pulls through, but I’m picking the Sooners in a frustrating game under the lights for the Cyclone faithful.
Kirk Haaland, Contributor – Iowa State 34, Oklahoma 31
Watching clips from Norman on Saturday, Kansas State really capitalized on Oklahoma’s mistakes and made some huge plays when the Sooners couldn’t tackle. Yes OU turned it over four times, but the Wildcats have always been very good in that department will the Cyclones have struggled recently. That doesn’t remove the possibility of multiple turnovers created by the defense, just a thought that it isn’t a guarantee. Iowa State really needs to shore up their coverage mishaps downfield and do as much as possible to confuse and pressure Spencer Rattler. Offensively the Cyclones need an efficient passing game and while continuing to run the ball against what will likely be the toughest test yet on the ground. I think it is going to be nip and tuck and generally uncomfortable in the waning minutes where one big play or one big mistake turns the tide. A win would put the Cyclones in a position in the conference race with another home game on the horizon that hasn’t been seen in over 40 years, maybe more.