Oklahoma-Iowa St. Preview
After Oklahoma failed in a high-profile contest out of Big 12 play, its next opponent could be a more favorable one.
Iowa State, however, has fared well in recent games against Top 25 foes.
The 14th-ranked Sooners have won 13 straight over the Cyclones heading into Saturday's matchup in Ames.
Oklahoma (5-2, 3-1) fell 30-13 at home to then-No. 5 Notre Dame last Saturday, likely ending its BCS title hopes. The Sooners' other defeat was 24-19 at home to then-No. 15 Kansas State on Sept. 22.
The Wildcats are currently ranked third and the Fighting Irish are fourth.
"Nothing's missing," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops insisted. "We've lost to the No. (3) and (4) teams in the country in two really good, hard-fought football games. When you schedule Notre Dame and you know that's coming, that's just part of the way it's unfolded."
Landry Jones was held without a touchdown pass for the first time all season despite completing 35 of 51 passes for 356 yards. The Sooners had a season-low 379 yards of total offense.
Stoops felt some critical decisions by the officials factored into the defeat.
"We were just on the wrong side of, particularly through the game, on the wrong side of some judgment calls that in the end, in a tight football game, they're part of the game," Stoops said.
The Sooners also lost leading rusher Damien Williams and starting left tackle Lane Johnson late in the game to ankle injuries, and their statuses for Saturday are not known.
Iowa State (5-3, 2-3), meanwhile, has not defeated Oklahoma since 1990. Fourth-year Cyclones coach Paul Rhoads will finally get the Sooners on his home field after losing his previous two meetings with Iowa State by a combined score of 78-6.
"Iowa State's football record against Oklahoma is dismal and our guys know that," Rhoads said. "It's another great challenge against a traditional powerhouse in college football. It's one of the reasons why you play in this league, you look forward to these types of games."
The Cyclones have been known for pulling upsets under Rhoads. They ended a 36-game road skid against ranked teams two seasons ago versus Texas and have split their last six overall contests against Top 25 teams, beating then-No. 15 TCU and losing to Kansas State this year.
Jones has been a problem for Iowa State in the past, completing 52 of 77 passes for 590 yards and three scores over the last two meetings.
Iowa State will also get its first look at Fresno State transfer Jalen Saunders, who matched an Oklahoma record with 15 receptions for 181 yards against the Fighting Irish.
"I think Landry Jones is as good as a quarterback as there is in efficiently running this kind of offense," Rhoads said. "They have got explosive receivers that will be a great challenge for our guys."
The Cyclones will be without senior linebacker Jake Knott, who is likely out for the season with a torn left shoulder. Knott, who leads the Big 12 with 79 tackles, could return for a possible bowl game.
Knott injured his shoulder Oct. 20 against Oklahoma State, but he returned and had 11 tackles and forced a fumble in a 35-21 win last Saturday over Baylor.
"He's been the voice, if there is such a player with this team, of the defense," Rhoads said. "He's the one in the locker room who's challenging them, who's motivated them."
Although Knott is a major loss, Stoops believes the Cyclones will still be tough to attack since they have allowed 19.8 points per game.
"They play very well, very disciplined, very good," Stoops said. "You look at them, they're third in the league in scoring defense."
Offense has been the Cyclones' problem as they rank ninth in the conference with 25.0 points per game and an average of 369.4 yards.
Iowa State's passing attack, however, got untracked last week as Steele Jantz posted career highs of 381 yards and a school record-tying five touchdowns.