Inside the Numbers: Oklahoma

With half of the season in the books, the Cyclones find themselves with a 3-3 record and in serious trouble of falling to 0-3 in the conference for the third straight year. Click here to check out what the numbers have to say about Iowa State's next opponent, the Oklahoma Sooners.

I hope the Iowa State football squad wasn't planning on taking getting any breaks, but that isn't going to happen.  After dropping a heartbreaker (and potentially momentum breaker) to the Nebraska Cornhusker, the Cyclones have to find a way to rebound and travel to the University of Oklahoma to face another Big 12 Conference foe.  I usually write about a few things I saw in the game and give my interpretation at this point.  Well, I am not going to do that this week because it would just be a rehash of stuff that has been said about 1,000,000 times already.  I am a numbers man and will leave the big-picture breakdown to someone else.  With that, let's talk some stats.

 

Cyclones Statistical Breakdown

 

The statistics, much like the overall game, had some upsides and some downsides.  On the upside, linebackers Alvin Bowen, Jon Banks, and Tyrone McKenzie led the team in tackles with Bowen being first with 17, followed by Banks (13) and McKenzie (11).  Those are add to their season totals to keep all three players ranked in the top 30 in the nation for total tackles (Bowen 1st, McKenzie 7th, Banks 29th).  Blythe gained another touchdown, making his season total six and his career total 24.  Blythe also tallied six receptions for 97 yards.  On special teams, red-shirt freshman Mike Brandtner continues to shine, punting five times with an average of 43.2 yards per punt.  On the downside, the team was out rushed 251 to 53.  Nebraska had two running backs run over 100 yards, while Hicks and Meyer only had 22 and 41 yards respectively.  Another stat that hurts is that ISU was only 4 of 12 for 3rd down conversions, and 0 of 3 on 4th down (not including the fake field goal).  Finally, despite having a rushing game that couldn't be stopped, Zac Taylor did pass the ball from time to time and only had four incomplete passes in the whole game (17-21).  After seeing stats like those, I think the ISU coaching staff has a thing or two they will be working on during practice.

 

Up Next

 

As was previously stated, the next test for the Cyclones is the University of Oklahoma Sooners.  The Sooners, coming in at #23 in the latest AP poll, are coming off of a heartbreaking loss of their own; the loss against arch-rival Texas in the Red River Shootout.  The Sooners come in with a record of 3-2, and their only loses being against #6 Texas and #18 Oregon, with neither game being played in Memorial Stadium.  Oklahoma is coached by Bobby Stoops, who is 3-0 against the Clones, while Dan McCarney is 0-5.  The last time ISU won a contest against the Sooners was in Norman in 1990 (final score was 33-31).  The Sooners have not only dominated the series, leading it 65-5-2, but currently own a nine game win streak against the Cyclones of Iowa State.  The Cyclones will take the field on Saturday and try to avenge the 53-7 shellacking Oklahoma gave them the last time they meet in 2003.

 

Offense

           

Everybody knows about the hit that the Sooners took when they lost their starting QB Rhett Bomar before the season even kicked off, but what everybody didn't know was that senior Paul Thompson would step in and be the 23rd most efficient quarterback in the nation.  He already has 1139 and eight touch downs.  But he isn't the star of this offensive unit, not by a long shot.  The real star is junior Adrian Peterson.  He is heralded as one of the best players in all of college football and has the gusto to back it up.  Peterson averages 150.4 yards a game (752 yards total) and has eight TDs already this season.  Adrian is currently ranked 2nd in all purpose running yards and the rush offense is the 31st best in the nation.  Plus, he should have extra incentive.   Peterson's dad was recently released from prison and was supposed to attend the Red River Shootout but had to spend the weekend at a half-way house.  It is possible that Papa Peterson will be in attendance on Saturday, marking the first time that dad has seen his soon play live.  If you don't think Adrian will be revved up for that, then your lying to yourself.  All this and I didn't even mention the plethora of talent at wide receiver, starting with sophomore Malcolm Kelly.  Kelly has 410 yards and four touchdowns at this point in the season, and it looking for more.  Combine all these weapons and you get a very impressive offense ranked at 26th in the nation in total offense.

 

Defense

 

This defense is the best that the Clones have faced since Texas, and we all know how that turned out.  The domination starts up front with last years Big 12 defensive newcomer of the year DE C.J. Ah You and his counterpart Calvin Thibodeaux.  These two guys combined for 17 sacks last year.  The front four do their part, but they also have plenty of help from the linebackers, with LBs Rufus Alexander and Zach Latimer leading the team in tackles at 41 and 33 respectively.  The rush defense is decent, but the pass defense is where the power is.  Coming in a 33rd in the nation in passing defense, this crew already has four interceptions, and three are from sophomore Nick Harris.   Both pieces together and you have the 41st best defense in America, which is no small task considering the competition OU has played against.

 

Special Teams

 

The OU special teams is a solid group, but nothing to write home to mama about.  The field goals are handled by sophomore Garret Hartley, who is 10-11 with a long of 44 but his one miss was also from 44 yards out.  Hartley also handles kickoff duty, averaging 61.1 yards per kickoff after 34 attempts.  Michael Cohen has taken over the punting duties and has booted 15 times with an average of 41.5 and five inside the 20.  As for returners, Reggie Smith does punt and kick return, averaging 13.6 yards a punt with a TD and 24.8 yards per kickoff, with Adrian Peterson also getting some kick returns in(23.1 yard average).

 

Final Verdict

 

It is time to sum this whole thing up in a few sentences.  The offense is high powered and the rushing game is pretty much unstoppable.  Defenses can't stop Adrian Peterson; they can only attempt to contain him.  The defense is a good group of athletes with a better than average pass defense and some solid plays in the line backing corps.  The special teams in a solid unit but hasn't really done anything too out of the ordinary.  The thing about the Sooners that stands out the most is that they don't really have a weakness.  They are at least solid in every aspect of the game.  The Cyclones have the players to run with the Sooners for a while, but are going to have to play an almost perfect game in order to pull out the upset.  Dan McCarney has said from day one that this is a season of opportunity.  Well, this is one heck of an opportunity for the Cyclones to turn around their wilting season.  Let's hope they learned some valuable lessons the last few weeks.

 


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