Despite head coach Bob Stoop's warnings earlier this week the OU players still might have bought in to the hype a little, as they came out flat in the first half to find themselves down 7-0 to an ISU squad that was obviously fired up about proving themselves after being dismantled 56-3 by Texas a week ago.
"Anyone can beat anybody and if you're not at your best," Stoops warned. "Again it has been evident this year more than any."
First year Iowa State head coach Gene Chizik had some success the past two years at controlling the Sooner's offense as the defensive coordinator for the Texas Longhorns, and while the Cyclones "D" looked to be completely overmatched it was the unit's play that helped them take the early lead.
The defenses would battle back and forth in the second quarter, and despite the fact that Iowa State had the ball deep in Sooner territory twice they would not be able to add to their lead.
Struggling ISU kicker Bret Culbertson missed a 36-yard field goal, by a mile, wide to the right. OU would take over the ball, but the ISU defense would come up with another big play when Allen Bell would intercept a Bradford pass that bounced in and out of the hands of tight end Jermaine Gresham.
The Cyclones would subsequently move the ball down to the nine-yard line and with the crowd energized by the big defensive play the coaching staff would confidently go for a fourth-and-one rather than attempt a field goal. That is when big 6-foot-2, 307-pound defensive tackle DeMarcus Granger would stuff Jason Scales to send the Sooners to the half down seven.
In the second half the Sooners would start off their first offensive possession by getting physical with Iowa State. After three passes by Bradford to start the drive offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson put the game on the backs of an offensive line that clearly had a huge size advantage over Iowa State's Dline.
That line cleared some huge holes to help the Sooners draw even with ISU at 7-7 behind a rushing combination of DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown. Murray would rush four times for 37 yards and then Brown capped the drive off by punching it in from 8 yards out.
After the score the OU "D' would force another ISU three-and-out but on the first play on the next drive DeMarco Murray would fumble the ball away at the Sooner 43, the Sooners third turnover of the day.
"It is frustrating You can't turn the football over like that away from home," Stoops said of the three turnovers. "We got an off week so hopefully we will get some things worked out this week"
Despite the great field position defense would start to change the game by shutting Iowa State down and forcing yet another punt.
One week ago Chris Brown would emerge as a serious offensive threat when he scored three touchdowns in the second half to help lead the Sooners over the Missouri Tigers 41-31, and it was his ability to find the end zone that would help them overcome the enthusiastic play of the Cyclones.
Brown, who has been showing great vision on his runs, put the Sooners up 14-7, on his second touchdown carry of the day, after what ended up being the most balanced offensive drive of afternoon. OU mixed some runs, throws, and a fourth down conversion to drive 80 yards for the score.
Sooners backfield combination of Patrick, Murray, and Brown, would combine for 163 yards to help power the team offensively.
As good as the Cyclone defense was in the first half it could not stack up to the stout defensive effort of the Sooner's unit in the second half. The defense, once again led by Curtis Lofton, held ISU to 132 total yards in the half and 270 total yards in the game.
Coming in to the game the Sooners had clearly been struggling on the road giving up 1,164 yards of total offense in their three games away from Norman, so it is easy to assume the coaches are pleased to see that the defense was ready to step it up in a tough game on the road with their backs against the wall.
Despite the domination of the defense the Cyclones still had the chance to draw even late in the game as they had a first-and-goal deep in Oklahoma territory but a huge interception by D.J. Wolfe in the end zone would put the momentum of the game squarely on the side of the Sooners.
The OU offense would then take over 5:00 minutes off of the clock by driving the ball 54 yards down the field. Garrett Hartley would seal ISU's fate by booming a 43-yard field goal, through the wind and the uprights, to put the Sooners up 17-7.
It was a much tougher game than many Sooner fans and experts expected coming in, but any fan has to be proud of the way that the team and most especially the defense performed when all of the chips were on the table.
SI Offensive Player of the Game- Chris Brown
Brown could have got player of the week honors last week after rushing for three scores, but his two touchdowns were even bigger this week.
SI Defensive Player of the Game- D.J. Wolfe
Wolfe not only made the play of the game on his interception in the end zone, but he also did a great job in run support. Wolfe seems to just get better and better.
On Deck: Bye (11/03 Vs. Texas A&M, TBA)