Five questions: Iowa State

What can OU fans expect this weekend on the road against Iowa State?

Oklahoma is ready to take the field once again. What exactly should Sooner fans be worried about when facing Iowa State? Let publisher Alex Halsted fill you in on what’s going on in Ames.

Was Texas a turning point for Sam Richardson? What did Iowa State do so well against the Longhorns' vaunted defense?

Richardson’s performance against Texas certainly vaulted him another step in the right direction, and he has certainly gained a lot of confidence in recent weeks. The big turning point may have come at halftime one week prior to Texas when Richardson and coaches discussed going up-tempo with the offense and ultimately scored 28 points in the second half against Toledo.

Yet the performance against a Texas defense that has been lauded was much more impressive. Iowa State continued to go up-tempo at times against Texas, which has made a big difference, and another key has been ball distribution. Seven different players had receptions against Texas, including three with eight or more.

What's the attitude right now in Ames? No doubt Paul Rhoads has made some strides but 2-5 was not what was expected for this season.

The attitude this season has been up-and-down. Following the season-opening loss to North Dakota State, it was immensely negative and there were fans wondering what changes needed to be made. That calmed following a narrow loss against Kansas State a week later and has been mostly silent since as Iowa State has been competitive in at least parts of almost every game.

Right now the Cyclones have narrow losses to Kansas State (four points) and Texas (three points) that could have the mood and season outlook in a totally different area had they come out differently. Nonetheless, there is more optimism now considering the offense is building for what fans hope is a brighter future.

If the upset is going to happen, somebody has to step up. Who is poised for a breakout game for the Cyclones against OU?

The answer might not rest with a single player, but rather a unit. Paul Rhoads was asked Monday if the Cyclones needed to out-gun the Sooners to get a win Saturday. He said no. Rather, Rhoads feels the defense needs to step up in a big way and limit Oklahoma's chances.

Iowa State’s offense has taken steps forward and is now more capable of competing in back-and-forth higher-scoring Big 12 affairs. But for the Cyclones to win, it can’t surrender 41 points, which it did against Texas in the 48-45 loss.

Harp on it each time but E.J. Bibbs picked Iowa State instead of OU during his recruitment. He has produced in a huge way for Cyclones. What's his biggest strength as a player?

With five touchdowns in the last three games, Bibbs has been the big talk at recent media availabilities. When players are asked about the tight end, they often marvel about his hands. Bibbs has made numerous one-handed catches this season and is still very athletic at 6-foot-3.

He started the season slow — 11 catches for 88 yards in the first four games — after having meniscus surgery two weeks before the season, but he’s come on strong in the last two weeks and is a primary reason the offense has taken off. Last week alone, Bibbs brought in 10 catches.

Who leads the defense and what would you say is the strength of the ISU defense?

The defense is led by defensive end Cory Morrissey, who has emerged as a true pass-rushing threat off the edge. He leads the line, which is what has probably at times been the best aspect of Iowa State’s defense. That has been the problem with Iowa State’s defense this season, though. The strength is often shifting week to week as it’s been an inconsistent unit. Big plays from the defense are often followed by watching the offense make something big happens.

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