For the second year in a row, Sooners Illustrated breaks down Oklahoma’s toughest games for the upcoming season. The rating system is based on the importance of a win, the strength of the opponent and a general idea of how key the game will be in terms of scheduling and performance.
It starts with the easiest game and ends up with the toughest.
4. Iowa State
There’s no team with less recent success against Oklahoma than the Cyclones, who haven’t beaten the Sooners since 1990. Oklahoma has won 16 straight and has lost just once in the past 45 games, dating back to 1961. That might mean the Cyclones should be even lower on this list, but Iowa State comes into Norman with at least a little bit of pedigree compared to Kansas.
2014 record: 2-10
Last year vs. OU: 59-14
Why this game is dangerous: Iowa State should be able to score this year. The Cyclones won’t be a slouch on offense with Sam B. Richardson returning at quarterback for a second year under offensive coordinator Mark Mangino and a handful of the top receivers coming back, including rising sophomore and 6-foot-5 weapon Allen Lazard. The Cyclones could have a pretty dangerous back end of their defense, where the Sooners new passing attack will be focused. Keep in mind too that this game comes after what could be a tough two-game stretch against Texas and Kansas State.
Players to watch: Iowa State had one of the worst rushing defenses in the conference last year, and this game will be a perfect time for Ty Darlington to show his experience and leadership of the offense line. It’ll be a chance for Josiah St. John to prove he’s worthy of being Oklahoma’s next left tackle. Nila Kasitati could go a long way to make a case as a draft pick. Needless to say, Oklahoma’s offense line has a huge chance to be big.
Prediction: Since 1999, Oklahoma has scored few than 30 points against Iowa State just twice. Picking apart the Cyclones defense shouldn’t be an issue. In that same time period, Iowa State has scored more than 14 only once and never scored more than 20 points. Trends aren’t likely to change on this day – Oklahoma wins 45-13.