OU vs. Iowa State: Report card

AMES, Iowa — Sooners Illustrated provides the grades for OU's 35-20 Saturday victory over the Iowa State Cyclones.

Running back Brennan Clay: A+

Patience. Power. Poise. The 5-foot-11, 201-pound junior back showed all three in taking the bulk of snaps for injured starter Damien Williams and delivered a career day as part of it. Clay rushed for 157 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries in his first ever 100-yard outing. Time and time again Clay came up with key rushes that triggered important drives, most notably a 5- and 9-yard run on the Sooners' final drive before the half that allowed them to use good field position and extend their lead to 14-6 at intermission.

Front four: A

Iowa State quarterback Steele Jantz found himself running for his life with the pocket breaking down for a large portion of the contest. Defensive end Chuka Ndulue and tackles Jamarkus McFarland and Stacy McGee all picked up sacks, while McGee, Ndulue and defensive end David King all recorded hurries. Head coach Bob Stoops said in the postgame press conference that they're always looking for more out of these guys, but it was a dominant showing.

Response off a heartbreaking loss: A

Give Stoops and his troops credit: they just know how to win coming off setbacks. Dating back to 1999, his first year of service at OU, the Sooners have rattled off 28 straight victories following a regular season loss. They did so again in a setting that has trapped many teams over the years, most recently including a 37-31 double overtime shocker over No. 2 Oklahoma State last year.

Wide receivers: A+

Hard to find anything to critique here. Penn State transfer Justin Brown put together his best game as a Sooner, racking up seven catches for 107 yards and a touchdown, while Kenny Stills notched a pair of touchdowns and 92 yards on six total receptions. Freshman Sterling Shepard also got into the end zone while catching five passes for 77 yards.

Tempo: A

It started off as a bit of a dragger, with the Sooners failing to score in the first quarter. But they dictated with a nice mix of tempo and methodical drives down the field. OU won the time of possession battle by nearly 13 minutes, holding it for 36:11. It had the margin in all four quarters, the most dominant of which was a third quarter where OU possessed it for 10:54.

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