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The Oklahoma Sooners return home off a bye week to host the Iowa State Cyclones in a matchup of the second and third place teams in the Big 12 standings. Oklahoma's last outing resulted in a stunning 48-41 road loss to Kansas State that at least momentarily knocked OU out of the College Football Playoff picture. The Sooners now must prepare for a Cyclones team that had won three-in-a-row before falling to Oklahoma State 34-27 over the weekend.
Oklahoma's defense fell apart in the late first and second half of the Kansas State defeat, allowing the Wildcats to outscore the Sooners 41-6 before OU made its futile comeback effort. Quarterback Jalen Hurts threw for 395 yards but never had a chance to lead the Sooners all the way back. The OU defense will be tested against Iowa State sophomore quarterback Brock Purdy, who is eighth in the nation with 2,567 passing yards. Expect a lot of offense.
Iowa State will look to exploit OU secondaryWhereas Kansas State beat Oklahoma on the ground, Iowa State will look to use the passing game to break open its matchup against the Sooners. ISU has one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the country in sophomore quarterback Brock Purdy. The Gilbert, AZ native threw 378 yards and three touchdowns against Texas Tech last month. He topped that with 382 yards versus Oklahoma State two weeks ago. Purdy's biggest struggle is accuracy; he's thrown five interceptions in the last three games.
The Cyclones use a pass-heavy offense (Purdy had over 60 attempts against Oklahoma State) but they can run the ball, too. Freshman running back Breece Hall has averaged over 130 rushing yards the last three games and seven touchdowns. With the opposing defense expecting pass so much of the time, it sets up a lot of successful run plays for ISU.
Defense remains a question mark for the Cyclones, who allow about 23 points per game. The unit allowed over 400 yards in both its last two games. However, the Cyclones have the top rushing defense in the conference, as they allow 116.2 yards on the ground per game. Senior linebacker Marcel Spears Jr. is sixth in the Big 12 with 7.4 tackles per game.
Oklahoma seeks improvement on defenseScoring isn't a problem for the Sooners, who lead the nation points per game and rank 4th in passing yards and 11th in rushing. Even in their loss to Kansas State, Oklahoma out-gained the Wildcats 497 to 426 yards. Quarterback Jalen Hurts remains a Heisman candidate, while a trio of running backs have over 300 yards rushing. Junior receiver CeeDee Lamb is third in the country with 11 touchdown receptions.
OU's defense is its greatest weakness, even if most teams in the nation would love to trade their defensive unit for the Sooners'. OU allowed KSU quarterback Skylar Thompson to find plenty of room to run, leading to four touchdowns on the ground by the QB. By the time the Sooners came up with some key defensive stops, they were trailing Kansas State by multiple scores. The OU defense has not produced a turnover in four straight games.
One loss doesn't wipe away all the talent that OU puts onto the field every week, but the Sooners don't look invincible anymore. Injuries are starting to pile up, too. Starting linebacker Jon-Michael Taylor is out for the year with a groin injury, while All-Big-12 tight end Grant Calcaterra has missed three straight weeks with an undisclosed injury.
- Sooners are 0-3-1 ATS in their last four games in November.
The top supporting trends for this game, found on Covers.com, are:
- Cyclones are 3-0-1 ATS in their last four games after accumulating more than 450 total yards in their previous game.
- Cyclones are 15-5-2 ATS in their last 22 conference games.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
With the line up to over touchdowns, I have to go with Iowa State on this one. The Cyclones have an explosive offense led by sophomore quarterback Brock Purdy. ISU should be able to complete some big plays against an OU secondary that showed cracks against Kansas State. OU's offense is stellar in its own right, but the Sooners saw what happens when they get caught in a track race. OU is more than likely not going to lose two-in-a-row, but I see this game coming down to the fourth quarter. Go with the Cyclones here.
Prediction: Iowa State Cyclones +14.5
Full-Game Total Pick
Oklahoma and Iowa State both can put up wicked numbers on offense. The Sooners have the highest scoring group in the land, while Iowa State has scored over 20 points in all but one game. Just as significant is that both defenses are coming off very poor outings. OU gave up a season-high 48 points to Kansas State. The Cyclones allowed 34 points to Oklahoma State. The over seems like the clear call.
Prediction: Under 66.5