Oklahoma-Iowa State keys to victory, HUGE predictions

Austin Wood

After two weeks to prepare, what will we see from the Lincoln Riley led Sooners this week? More carries for the backs? Will the tight ends be more involved? Will we continue to see the trickeration that we have seen this season? What about the defense-- did they get back to the drawing board?

Two years ago, Oklahoma entered the matchup with the Cyclones as a 31.5-point favorite. This year, Iowa State enters as only a 14.5-point dog. This matchup is big for the Sooners as not only does it impact their chances at a Big 12 title game, but any more losses will knock them out of consideration for the playoffs.

What are the keys to an OU victory?

1. Turnovers- The old saying ‘defense wins champions’ proves true even to this day. The Sooners have greatly improved on that side of the ball. Although they were manhandled in Manhattan, Grinch has two weeks to prepare for this passing attack the Cyclones bring in. Purdy is a capable QB who can beat you with his arm. The secondary will be tested early and often. The defensive line will need to get pressure. After racking up nine sacks against Texas, OU has managed only one in the last two games. If they can get pressure on Purdy, the defensive backs can be a little more aggressive and look to force a turnover--something that hasn’t been done since Texas Tech.

2. RUN THE BALL- After only compiling six carries between Brooks and Sermon against the Wildcats, the Sooners need to establish a rushing attack, outside of Jalen Hurts. In the Big 12, OU ranks second overall in rushing yards per game. The leading rusher for the Sooners is not a running back-- it’s the Heisman contending QB. As the season progresses and the grind of conference play occurs, the Oklahoma running backs will need to carry more of the load to keep Hurts healthy.

3. Penalties- OU ranks tied for 107th in terms of penalties with just over seven per game. During the game against Kansas State, some of the biggest ones came on third down that extended drives-- including multiple pass interference calls. If this happens against Iowa State, this is part of the recipe that could lead to another upset. The Sooners must remain aggressive, as this is what has led them to their improvements so far this season. In saying that, they must play smart. They have to limit the obvious and bad PI’s and obvious holding calls.

4. Get the tight ends/Jadon Haselwood involved- The usage of the tight end position has been a big part of why Lincoln Riley’s offenses have been so dynamic. Mark Andrews and Grant Calcaterra have been benefactors of being primary red zone targets for the past two Heisman winning QBs-- this year has been different. The tight ends only have one td catch all season. In 2018, Calcaterra, Willis and Morris combined for 15. What about the highly thought of five-star receivers? Haselwood has separated himself in the trio of incoming freshman and has seen the most playing time. However, since Texas, it seems as though he has fallen into the shadows. Lamb and Rambo are stars in themselves, but having an option as talented as Haselwood, you need to find ways to get him the ball. 

Predictions:

OU gets 4 sacks on Brock Purdy-- Perkins and Gallimore each get one, Murray and Fields end up with one a piece.

Sooners force two turnovers. Purdy will throw an interception picked off by Jaden Davis and Bonitto forces a fumble.

The OU running backs will carry the ball more than Jalen Hurts. OU finishes with 215 yards rushing and we see a re-emergence of Sermon and Brooks.

Calcaterra returns and has a big day. He will finish with five catches for 85 yards and one td. Haselwood will see similar numbers as he will finish with four catches for 95 yards and one td.

Oklahoma bounces back from their dreadful performance in Manhattan and wins, covering the spread.

Oklahoma 45 Iowa State 24

The game can be seen on FOX at 7 PM. 

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