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.