Dirty Baker's Dozen

NORMAN, Okla. — The Sooners will get their crack at the Big 12 Championship next weekend when they head to Stillwater because they suffocated the Iowa State Cyclones in a 26-6 decision Saturday afternoon at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.

"Good football game today," said head coach Bob Stoops, whose Sooners defeat the Cyclones for the 13th straight time dating back to 1990. "I credit Paul Rhoads and their staff for continuing to do a great, great job. They came in here hot on a three-game winning streak. We both played under some adverse conditions, and it had an effect on the game. I really feel overall, our players, for the most part handled it pretty well."

That was the story really all day.

The Sooners seemed to handle it well, although they had some dropped passes at times, while Iowa State just didn't.

Quarterback Landry Jones commanded the Sooners' offense, while the Cyclones just simply never found a rhythm, tallying just 245 yards of total offense a week removed from racking up 568 in a two-overtime victory over Oklahoma State.

"It was bad for sure," Jones said of the conditions. "The wind made it tough, making the ball sail a little bit, or it would start to duck when you wouldn't think it was. So, you had to play and throw it through it. It was tough, but I think the offense, as a unit, did a good job, both offensive line picking it up, or we were getting chunks out of our run game that helped a lot."

Overall, the Sooners amassed 509 yards of total offense, more than twice as much as the Cyclones.

So, it was impressive on both sides of the ball for the Crimson and Cream, but perhaps more so for a Sooner defense that surrendered 616 yards of total offense against Baylor a week ago.

"I think we stepped up," said defensive back Tony Jefferson. "There were some mistakes in there that need to be fixed up, but I felt like we went in there and played our game like we should."

In the first quarter, it was all about miscues on both sides of the field.

Iowa State made theirs first when running back James White fumbled the second play from scrimmage, which resulted in a Michael Hunnicutt field goal for the Sooners to make it 3-0.

Moments later, as the Cyclones were driving and approaching the red zone on their next possession, quarterback James Barnett coughed up a zone read exchange, and the Sooners took over at their own 25.

"We worked on it hard last week, and that is the number one, immediate comment on our headsets," said Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads. "Not only ball security, but exchange practice is what we are doing every day."

But it was time for a mishap of the Sooners' own.

After a quick three-and-out, long snapper James Winchester errantly snapped the ball past punter Tress Way, and the Cyclones recovered at the OU 10.

They turned it into six when quarterback Jared Barnett hit wide receiver Albert Gary for the 10-yard score to make it 6-3 Iowa State.

OU committed its second major mistake of the game when backup quarterback Blake Bell, in the special Bellcat formation, threw an ill-advised pass over the middle of the field that was picked off on second-and-goal from the 1.

The Sooners could have took the lead at that point, but as it was, they trailed 6-3 after the first.

"Yeah, when you get in the red zone and don't score a touchdown, it can be frustrating," Jones said. "But we will get better from it and move on."

They came alive in the second quarter, as quarterback Landry Jones guided a 10-play, 84-yard drive that spanned 5:34 and culminated with a Bell 3-yard touchdown run to give OU a 10-6 advantage.

Bell capped off another drive later in the quarter with a 1-yard touchdown run, and OU led it 17-6 at the time.

That set the stage for one of the game's biggest plays.

With Iowa State on the plus-side of the 50, linebacker Tom Wort tipped a pass in the backfield and linebacker Travis Lewis picked it off and appeared to return it to the house for an incredible Senior Day moment.

But defensive tackle Jamarkus McFarland was tagged with a block in the back on the return, which nullified the touchdown.

Still, the Sooners took over possession, and although they couldn't punch it into the end zone, ultimately added another Hunnicutt field goal from 28 yards out with 25 seconds remaining in the first half.

The Cyclones' fourth boneheaded play of the first half--they muffed the ensuing kickoff--put OU in position to add three more points before intermission.

And Hunnicutt came through with a 37-yarder into the wind to give OU a 23-6 lead at the break.

"Mike Hunnicutt was really good kicking the football," Stoops said.

Scoring shut down almost completely in the second half, as the teams played a scoreless third quarter.

It was the first time OU hadn't managed a single point in the third quarter since the Florida State game the second week of the season.

But the Sooners did manage to get on the board the final time with Hunnicutt's fourth and final field goal from 21 yards midway through the fourth quarter.

That completed all the scoring because OU held ISU on fourth-and-6 inside the red zone with just a couple minutes to play.

"I'm very pleased," Stoops said. "The only touchdown they get came off a muffed punt. That sets them up down there. The rest of the day, they don't really get near the goal line and didn't really approach many field goals. It was pleasing to play soundly and to limit them the way we were able to."

Jones finished the day 22-of-43 for 256 yards with a pair of picks, while Barnett was 13-of-28 for 125 yards and a touchdown along with an interception.

Bell had the two touchdowns with 14 rushing yards, while wide receiver Trey Franks actually led the Sooners with 88 rushing yards on a pair of reverses.

Running back Roy Finch had 83 yards on 15 rushes.

For Iowa State, running back Jeff Woody finished with 60 yards on 13 touches.

Gary led all ISU receivers with his 52 yards and a touchdown on four receptions.

The Sooners will now head to Stillwater for a chance to win the Big 12 Conference, as they face off with the No. 4 Oklahoma State Cowboys next Saturday at 7 p.m.

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