🏈 OU-Iowa State primer
A big game in Norman for both teams clinging to aspirations of making conference championship weekend.
✌🏽 Happy Friday, friends. There’s a football game in Norman tomorrow. Let’s ride.
🏟 Game day details
Iowa State (6-4, 4-3 Big 12) at No. 13 Oklahoma (9-1, 6-1 Big 12)
⏰ 11 a.m. CT
📺 FOX (Play-by-play: Gus Johnson, Analyst: Joel Klatt, Sideline: Jenny Taft)
📻 KRXO-FM 107.7 FM in Oklahoma City
💰 Oklahoma -3.5 • O/U: 59.5
📕 Oklahoma leads all-time series 77-7-2
🏈 By the matchups
An 11 a.m. kickoff on FOX against an unranked opponent isn’t the most appetizing way to close out the home slate, but Iowa State isn’t your typical unranked opponent.
The Cyclones are 6-4 with a few puzzling losses to West Virginia and Texas Tech. Baylor’s September win over Iowa State has aged quite well, while Iowa State’s loss to Iowa is just to be expected at this point.
Here are the critical matchups OU needs to win to hand the Cyclones another defeat:
Caleb Williams vs. ISU’s pass defense
Oklahoma’s offense never got fully going against Baylor, despite Caleb Williams and Spencer Rattler’s attempts to air it out in Waco, Texas, last Saturday. OU, which statistically boasts the Big 12's best passing offense, has try to ignite its passing attack against Iowa State — OU just can’t afford as many lulls as it endured at McLane Stadium or as many drops.
In recent Cyclone losses, West Virginia and Texas Tech have proven it’s not all that hard to beat Iowa State through the air. Both teams passed for more than 300 yards and each had three passing touchdowns en route to victories over the Cyclones, who, overall, are allowing 194.2 passing yards per game this season. The advanced analytics, provided by cfb-graphs.com, favor OU to do the same. The Sooners' passing offense ranks No. 17 nationally in success rate at 47.9%, while Iowa State's passing defense ranks No. 107 at 46.6%.
Iowa State still has a lot of the talent that nearly beat OU twice last season, but it has not come together as smoothly as the 2020 ‘Clones that finished as the top seed in the Big 12 title game.
🌪 Players to know
DE Will McDonald IV: OU's offensive line has its work cut out for it against McDonald, who should be at or near the top of every Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year ballot. McDonald has a Big 12 second-leading 10 sacks and third-leading four forced fumbles. If there’s a player that can completely blow up OU’s offensive game plan, it’s McDonald frequently getting to Caleb Williams.
RB Breece Hall: OU goes from facing the Big 12's leading rusher (Baylor's Abram Smith) to facing its second-leading rusher (Hall). If you’ve been following OU closely the past few years, Hall should be familiar. The junior from Wichita, Kansas, has been one of the best tailbacks in the league since his freshman year in 2019. He currently has 1,172 rushing yards and a conference-high 16 rushing touchdowns so far this season.
TE Charlie Kolar: The Norman native stands at an imposing 6-foot-6 and 260 pounds. He’s been a matchup nightmare for the Sooners over the last few years. He currently has 506 yards receiving and four touchdowns on 41 catches, putting him at 12.3 yards per reception.
📺 Big 12 viewing guide
Iowa State at Oklahoma (11 a.m. CT, FOX): Both the Sooners and Cyclones are coming off of losses. What was supposed to be a Big 12 title championship preview, this game now seems more like an elimination game. If OU wins, it remains in control of its destiny to Arlington, Texas. And while it will require A TON of help, Iowa State isn't completely out of the hunt, even with three Big 12 losses.
Baylor at Kansas State (4:30 p.m., FS1): Somehow the Wildcats are 1-point favorites over the 11th-ranked Bears. Worth noting, Kansas State is quietly 7-3 and are at home for a quasi-night game. Why not EMAW?
No. 9 Oklahoma State at Texas Tech (7 p.m., FOX): This feels like a trap game for the Cowboys, but their defense is likely to mitigate any chance of an upset.
Texas at West Virginia (11 a.m., ESPN2): So, Texas lost to Kansas in football. We got our laughs in. They were great times. But hard to care much about this contest between two massively disappointing teams.
Kansas at TCU (3 p.m., ESPN+): The Horned Frogs are 21-point favorites, but when presented with the reality of Kansas having a shot at a winning streak, you root for that every time.
🎧 New podcast
After taking a week off, the podcast is back.
This week’s guest: Jerry Ramsey of 107.7 FM The Franchise in Oklahoma City
Breakdown: Oklahoma is coming off of its first loss of the season. So, how do the Sooners fare going up against Iowa State? To help us answer that question, Ramsey joins the program to talk Sooners, the Big 12 title race and is In-N-Out overrated?
Where you can subscribe to the Eyes on Oklahoma podcast:
⏰ On this day
Five years ago today, Baker Mayfield and Dede Westbrook solidified themselves as Heisman Trophy finalists with a marquee 56-28 win over West Virginia.