How will the Sooners respond after the bye week?

Austin Wood

Oklahoma and Iowa State both enter Saturday’s matchup coming off a bye week as well as suffering a loss being a favorite. The Sooners are a 14.5-point favorite and look to push their mark to 5-4 against the spread this season with a convincing victory. Remember— style points still matter.

For the first time in nearly two months, OU will have a kickoff time later than 11 AM. The last time the Sooners played at night, they routed the UCLA Bruins in the Rose Bowl.

A route in this matchup is highly unlikely.

The Cyclones, quarterbacked by Brock Purdy, come in ranked as the number two passing offense in the league. ISU, unlike Kansas State, doesn’t pose much of a running threat— ranking next to last in total rushing yards per game. The 6’1” QB has thrown seven interceptions this season, with five coming in just the last three games. After a tumultuous game against OSU, throwing 39-62 with 3 INTS, Purdy will be looking for a bounce back game.

Speaking of a bounce back game, the OU defense is looking for redemption. After being a top 30 defense and ranked top five in third down efficiency, the Sooners were taken to the woodshed by Kansas State. The Wildcat’s ground attack was deliberate, constant and couldn’t be stopped. After two weeks to prepare, can the Oklahoma defense turn it around and show that game was a fluke?

As mentioned, ISU will be challenging the OU secondary early and often. This will be the first real test that the Sooners have faced this season in terms of a QB who can beat you with his arm.

Statistically, Oklahoma and Iowa State are similar in defensive numbers. Will either side be able to force turnovers? If not, this could be an old fashioned Big 12 shootout game, where both teams score at least 35 points.

The over/under for total points is set at 68.5, in case you wondered what Vegas thought of either defense.

Scoring points is something Jalen Hurts and the offense can do with ease, however, there are still some serious questions to be answered.

Running backs-- will Sermon and Brooks get more than six total carries, combined? Jalen Hurts has been the leading rusher all season long. The wear and tear that his body is facing could come back to haunt him as the season progresses. The running backs should tote the rock more and take some of the hits away from the Heisman contending QB.

Will the tight ends make an appearance in the offense? Calcaterra is looking to return, after a two-game absence, from what was thought to be a concussion. Morris, Stogner, Willis and Calcaterra have combined for 1 td on the season. Will they have an impact against the Cyclones?

Wide receiver play has been stellar, as CeeDee Lamb continues to wow onlookers with his circus catches and stealth like running. Rambo, Basquine and Hall have all played a solid role as they have reeled in eight combined tds of their own. What about the five-star freshman, Jadon Haselwood? With such lofty expectations which translated to early success, it appears that he has tapered off a bit. Will he see his number called this week?

The game in Norman will be an exciting one as two weeks without football feels like forever. A matchup between these two will be exciting and most likely high scoring. Oklahoma has improved on defense, but still has work to do. If they can force Purdy into a couple mistakes and get pressure on him throughout the game, the Sooners should win and cover the spread. If Purdy connects on some deep throws and matches Jalen score for score, the Cyclones could pull the upset for the second time in a row in Norman.

Keys to victory and score predictions posted tomorrow. 

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