Setting the stage: Iowa State at OU

OU looks to bounce back with a win against Iowa State. How will the game shake out? is going to set the stage every week breaking down Oklahoma's game during the 2013 season.

Iowa State (1-8, 0-6) at No. 18 Oklahoma (7-2, 4-2)

When: 11 a.m. CST

OU's biggest question going into the game

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."

Iowa State's biggest question going into the game

Déjà vu, what is the mentality of the Cyclones right now? Before last week, Iowa State had lost its previous three games by at least more than 30 points.

That didn't matter last week as the Cyclones put on a strong performance against TCU before losing in the final minute. That marked ISU's third one-possession conference loss this season.

When is enough enough? Paul Rhoads has felt like the man for the job in inspiring his players, but eventually results have to follow for any traction to be built.

The way the Cyclones start the game will go a long way toward answering where their mentality is.


"He's a guy that cares deeply about this program. It meant something for him to come here and play, it means something for him every day, and that's why you see him prepare and practice the way he does every single day. He's played at an extremely high level for four years. He's been versatile – been able to move from guard to center and back and forth. He's got a bright future ahead of him in the game of football but in the game of life, as well." – OU co-offensive coordinator Josh Heupel on senior Gabe Ikard with senior day Saturday

Breakout player

It's going to be a big day for all of OU's seniors, but especially for running backs Brennan Clay and Roy Finch. As OU goes back to a ground-and-pound game plan this week, Clay and Finch each find the end zone one last time at Owen Field, and the Sooners rush for more than 200 yards on the Cyclones.


OU 24, Iowa State 10. It's an odd game because it's one where it doesn't feel like the Sooners should ever feel threatened on the field. But because of the inconsistency on offense, there's no way to know if OU can put another 40-spot this season. As is, though, the Sooners will get back in the win column to move to 8-2 with their final two games on the road.

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