Iowa State Preview: Stopping Seneca

Oklahoma Co-Defensive Coordinator Brent Venables says the Sooners have enough star power to contain ISU's star quarterback. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

All year I have been pushing Iowa State quarterback Seneca Wallace for postseason honors. In the preseason I tabbed him the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year and I named him one of my preseason Heisman Trophy candidates.

Now, halfway through the season my preseason thought are right no the money. Wallace is even better than I first thought.

Wallace will bring his Iowa State Cyclones to Norman on Saturday and he will come in as the best offensive player in the country. Wallace has transformed a fairly good Iowa State team into a top 10 squad and a BCS Bowl contender.

Wallace will be the best offensive player the Sooners face this year, but he will face the best defense that he will play against this year and that is where the great matchup comes in.

"Seneca is really something special, but we think we have that same special quality on defense," said Co-Defensive Coordinator and Linebacker Coach Brent Venables. "First, he has a great arm and he is a very accurate thrower. Most people assume he likes to run, but in reality he likes to scramble to buy time to throw the ball. If his protection breaks down or his receivers are not open he will scramble until his receivers can get open and then he will throw a strike."

When he does run, evident by the run against Texas Tech, he is very dangerous with it and he is fantastic in open field," continued Venables. "However, after saying all of that the best thing I like about him is that he plays with great heart and determination. He will fight until the very last play and will battle you on every play. He is a great competitor and his leadership lifts the play of Iowa State every Saturday. He is the heart and sole of their team."

"That is what makes this game, from our standpoint, so interesting," said Venables on the matchup with Wallace. "We feel we have some star power on our defense as well and we get another opportunity to play a mobile quarterback. We didn't fare so well the last time we faced a running quarterback (Brad Smith at Missouri) and we are competitors and want to prove ourselves against a running quarterback. Wallace is better than and the Smith the stakes are every higher for this game. Wallace has never faced a defense that can run like ours and if we play more disciplined and tackle better in this game we like our chances."

The Sooners must contain Iowa State and force them to drive the length of the field. Iowa State gets three to four big plays a game. Their wide receivers are always sneaking behind a secondary, especially in scramble situations. OU's secondary must not lose track of the wide receivers.

On offense, the Sooners are playing with a lot of confidence. Iowa State's defense is tough, and in Matt Word they have an outstanding linebacker. OU feels their running game is coming around they are pumped about the play of Quentin Griffin.

The fourth quarter play of Nate Hybl has also juiced the team. The Sooners feel they are ready to go and OU has a huge speed advantage against the Cyclone defense.

This is the best Iowa State team under Dan McCarney, who is a great coach, but they are not good enough to beat OU. Wallace will scare the Sooners a little bit and he will scare Sooner fans a little bit, but in the end the Sooners have too much team speed on both sides of the ball and they are playing at home.

OU wins 34-17.

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