Every play matters but some stick out more than others. Each week Sooners Illustrated will look at the five plays that stood out in Oklahoma's performance. This week it's OU's 48-10 win against Iowa State.
Play No. 1: Bell rushes for five yards
Iowa State had just taken a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter when the Sooners took over at their 25 yard line. Junior quarterback Blake Bell went back to pass but couldn't find anybody so he tucked it and ran.
After picking up five yards, he was leveled on the play and driven into the ground. He stayed in the game for two more plays before leaving and never returning.
"It was the first play. Then we realized it," said OU coach Bob Stoops about when Bell got hurt. "We just felt we needed to get him to the side to be sure."
Of course this allowed redshirt freshman Trevor Knight to get a second shot at being a quarterback and running the offense. And after trailing 10-3, OU scored the final 45 points of the game to improve to 8-2.
Play No. 2: Saunders 91-yard punt return touchdown
Looks like we have the next candidate for best play of the year. OU was 1:29 away from trailing 10-3 at half at home against the 1-8 Cyclones.
It was a good punt, sent Jalen Saunders back to the 9 yard line. Instead of fair catching it, Saunders decided to give it a go. Good choice as he weaved his way to the game-changing 91-yard return and score.
"Usually Coach (Jay Boulware) tells me that if it's behind the 10-yard line to just fair catch it, but I took two steps back and saw the guys chasing me about 20 or 30 yards away, and I thought I'd chance it," Saunders said.
Every single player and coach said this was the turning point of the game during postgame interviews.
Play No. 3: Iowa State roughs Barnett
Doesn't seem like a huge one overall, but the Cyclones were still in the game with more than 11 minutes left in the third quarter. OU's Damien Williams had gotten the half started off in a great way for OU with a 69-yard touchdown on the second play to give OU a 17-10 lead.
But on the next drive, OU went three-and-out. It's not like everything was clicking. And facing a fourth-and-11 at its 32 yard line, there was no chance of a fake punt by OU. However, the Cyclones came after it and roughed Jed Barnett.
OU only managed a field goal from the penalty but drained another four minutes on what turned into a 12-play, 52-yard drive that gave OU a 20-10 lead. The Sooners defense got to rest, while ISU's was wearing down.
Play No. 4: Clay puts the game away
The third quarter was not kind to Iowa State as the Cyclones had 14 plays for 19 yards, and OU started to take advantage with big plays of its own.
The Sooners were out in front 20-10 when senior Brennan Clay hit another home run this season, going 63 yards for a touchdown.
The offensive line that couldn't get anything going in the first half opened hole after hole after hole in the second half as OU rushed for 405 yards.
"We noticed their linebackers were over the top so we changed up our rung game a little bit," Clay said. "They were running a lot of blitzes so we hit the gaps."
Play No. 5: Everett, Grissom combine for sack
By this point the game was no longer in the balance but something has to be said for the way the defense played in the second half.
Iowa State had 37 plays for 198 yards in the first half. The Cyclones finished with 70 plays for 291 yards or 32 plays for 93 yards in the second half.
OU had one sack at halftime and finished with five in the game and nine tackles for loss.
"I feel like we did good," defensive end Geneo Grissom said. "I'm somebody who says there is always room for improvement, but at the end of the day I thought we definitely played well."
Grissom and defensive back Kass Everett combined for a sack in the fourth quarter.