Well, the Sooners survived.
It wasn't picturesque by any means, but Oklahoma is the Big 12 champion for the sixth consecutive season after knocking off Iowa State 27-21 at AT&T Stadium. Spencer Rattler was named Most Outstanding Player after going 22-of-34 for 272 yards and two total touchdowns, and Tre Brown sealed the Cyclones' fate with a late interception.
Here are three knee-jerk reactions from the Sooners' redemptive triumph over Iowa State.
1) Every single member of the Sooners' front four is an NFL-caliber player. The fact that Ronnie Perkins, Isaiah Thomas, Perrion Winfrey and Nik Bonitto somehow all got snubbed from the All-Big 12 first team is even more unbelievable after their collective performance today. They created a hellish environment in the pocket for Brock Purdy, and won the battle in the trenches all day long. Perhaps more impressively, they shut down Breece Hall. Though he found the end zone twice, the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year could hardly make any headway against the stout Oklahoma defensive front, and his longest run of the day went for just 15 yards. It's no longer a stretch to argue that the Oklahoma defensive line is the best in the country. They've got a legitimate case, and they continue to build upon it each time they take the field. Purdy was under constant duress from start to finish, almost without exception.
2) Spencer Rattler grew up today. Oklahoma's redshirt freshman quarterback proved that he can deliver under the bright lights, as he was composed and in control from start to finish in the biggest game of his young career. It wasn't a perfect performance, and Rattler missed more than a couple of throws that could have broken the game wide open. But at the end of the day, he did everything he needed to do to put his team in position to win a football game. He led a quick-strike touchdown drive at the end of the first half and capped it off with a touchdown run, providing a huge momentum swing in favor of the Sooners before the intermission. And when Oklahoma needed to kill clock late, Rattler hit Brayden Willis for two key first downs. Oh, and perhaps the most important statistic of all? Zero turnovers.
3) Even if they don't make the College Football Playoff, the Sooners have proved that they're still a blue-blood program in the here and now. Right now, this is a football team that's capable of playing with any squad in the country, save perhaps for Alabama. Two early losses all but slammed the door on their CFP hopes, but the way that Lincoln Riley has since rallied his team from adversity is admirable. Make no mistake: this is one of the best defensive teams in the nation (how strange does that sound?), and they validated their status as the perennial cream of the crop in the conference by avenging their loss to Iowa State. The Cyclones are a very talented football team with a very talented head coach in Matt Campbell. This win isn't insignificant for Oklahoma. Things didn't break their way in 2020, but they should reasonably be right back in the College Football Playoff picture come 2021.
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