The game is at 11 a.m. on FS1 (Adam Alexander doing pxp and former Texas quarterback Chris Simms, who never beat OU, serving as analyst).
Forecast: High of 73, low of 56 ... 30 percent chance of rain.
Line: Oklahoma (-24).
Three Keys to a Win
1. Take deep shots, and execute them. There's not a perfect blueprint for Iowa State to try and replicate against Oklahoma. The Sooners have two losses, none being flukes, against two Top 25 teams, Texas and Baylor. The Longhorns and Bears took their deep shots and hit big on them.
Can Iowa State do the same? If you're reading this, you likely no the answer is a resounding "probably not," but the Cyclones have to try. Iowa State expects Oklahoma to go uber-blitz happy on them Saturday, playing Cover 1 and Cover 0 (either one deep safety or none) because the Sooners' don't respect Iowa State's deep passing game.
Fair? Yes. The Cyclones' have three long passing plays, but Quenton Bundrage did the heavy lifting on two of those, both on short routes. Iowa State is No. 115 nationally in yards per attempt, a measly 5.7. Unless they try to stretch the field on the Sooners — like they did against Oklahoma State — the Cyclones will fail miserably to establish a run game or a short and intermediate passing game.
2. Pressure Blake Bell.
In OU's seven wins, Bell is 101-for-151 (66.9 percent) with 10 touchdowns, one interceptions, an average yards per attempt of 8.05, being sacked six times (two of these games, Bell attempted five and one attempt as a backup).
In the two losses, Bell is 27-for-61 (44.3 percent) with one touchdown, four interceptions, 4.64 yards per attempt and five sacks.
When Bell is bad, he's really bad. Iowa State needs to get after him, make him throw on the run and keep the Sooners out of short-yardage situations, where Bell and Trevor Knight, resigned to the situational runner, can pick up small chunks in an easy manner.
3. Make it manageable at halftime. The Cyclones are 1-8, but they've only been out of two games at intermission (Baylor and Kansas State).
In every game but the nightmare against Baylor, Iowa State's defense has put together successful series. But when the offense can't do anything, it's only so long before even a sound defense breaks. It's incredibly demoralizing.
As mentioned above, the Cyclones would be smart to take some downfield shots. Courtney Messingham said this week he's reluctant to do that, because a miss compromises down and distance. He's correct. Too many three-and-outs leads to too many Oklahoma possessions, and the Cyclones can't expect their defense to hold on so long before it cracks.
Find a way to keep the score within 10 or even 14 at halftime and keep morale up. String together some drives, chew some clock, take a shot here or there.
Pulled from Bob Pryzbylo's preview over at SoonersIllustrated.com.
What is OU's mentality heading into these final three games? For a program so accustomed to playing for championships in November and December, it will be intriguing to see how far pride gets this team down the stretch.
The players and the coaches are all saying the right things. They're saying they just want to move on from Baylor and focus on Iowa State and closing the season strong. But it's clear last Thursday in Waco stings, too.
"It's frustrating," junior quarterback Blake Bell said. "You play like that and you're inside the five yard line a few times and you punch it in. If the game had gone differently, if we had scored those times, who knows what would have happened. But that's in the past so now we're trying to move forward to Iowa State."
OU is going to move forward, but will the fans come along for the ride? Two years ago against Iowa State felt like the smallest OU crowd in history. It was cold, windy and also an 11 a.m. start. Saturday has that same kind of feel right now, but it's a huge recruiting weekend for the Sooners.
It's also senior day. The only way for progress is to put Baylor in the rear view mirror and try to close things out in style.
"I am excited. It has flown by and it's kind of strange that this is my last game," senior offensive guard Bronson Irwin said. "I look forward to having a good one and putting on a good game for the home crowd for the last time."
A nice strong safety blitz below, resulting in a sack of Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty. Striker, in OU's 3-3-5, is pushed to the outside but Quentin Hayes finds a crack in the offensive line, the result of the front three crashing down, toward the left tackle. See how the center, No. 54, is engaged with the strong-side end, the running back, No. 25, has nobody to block, and the right guard, No. 67, is upfield and in no-man's land.
"He didn't really know how to play football. He was a freelancing fool." — defensive coordinator Wally Burnham on tackle Rodney Coe.
F/+: OU, 34.5-15.5 w/90.7 percent chance of winning.
BCF Toys: OU, 29-14.
RealTeamRPI.com: OU, 39-8.
Massey Ratings: OU, 34-16.
SoonersIllustrated.com: OU, 24-10.
AllCyclones.com: OU 31-13.
|Matchup Preview | November 16, 2013|
|Iowa State Cyclones|
(1-8, 1-3 Away)
|#22 Oklahoma Sooners|
(7-2, 5-0 Home)