Reese Strickland-US PRESSWIRE
The BCS Championship hopes may have been dashed but Oklahoma's season carries on as they visit a scrappy Iowa State team this weekend.
Oklahoma 5-2, (3-1) at Iowa State (5-3, 2-3)
Saturday, November 3rd
11:00 am (CST)
Opponent Blog: WRNL
Cyclones Scouting Report
For Oklahoma, all that's left is to try and remain in the hunt for the conference championship. For Iowa State, they have four game remaining to try and secure their bowl eligibility. The Cyclones would like for nothing more than to gain a sixth win against the Sooners, thus eliminating Oklahoma from the conference championship race as well.
The Cyclones have made their living this season with a stingy defense that is third in the conference and 26th nationally at 19.8 points per game allowed. However, they suffered a significant loss this week when it was announced that linebacker Jake Knott was lost for the season due to a shoulder injury. Knott leads the team in total tackles (79), and has been at the heart of the Cyclone defense for four years now.
Iowa State is seventh in the conference against the run, with opponents averaging 3.6 yards per carry and 135.1 yards per game. ISU has given up 9 rushing touchdowns this season and, with the absence of Knott, you have to expect those numbers to rise. As with most Big 12 teams, defending the pass has been a bit more difficult for Iowa State. Opposing quarterbacks are throwing for 267.4 yards per game, which ranks the Cyclones 8th in the conference.
The Sooners learned last Saturday night that yards don't always equate to scores and while Iowa State is guilty of giving up a lot of yards this season, their bread and butter has been forcing drive-killing turnovers. ISU has one more interception (10) than passing touchdowns score against them (9). They've forced ten fumbles this year and have recovered nine.
Forcing turnovers that result in a short field for the offense is crucial to the Cyclones. Iowa State is 68th in the nation in passing offense (227.5 YPG), 83rd in rushing offense (141.9 YPG), and 84th in the nation in scoring offense (25 PPG). Quarterback Steele Jantz has completed 66.5% of his passes for 1,219 yards and 12 touchdowns. He has been a bit sloppy with the ball though and has thrown 8 interceptions. Aaron Horne has been the top target for ISU quarterbacks. He's hauled in 34 passes for 316 yards and two scores.
On the ground, Iowa State has looked to Shontrelle Johnson and James White to get things going. Johnson is averaging 4.2 yards per carry and White an eye popping 5.3. Defending the Cyclone offensive attack starts here. Oklahoma must stuff the run game and force ISU to try and beat them off the arm of Jantz. This means winning on first and second down to put Iowa State behind the chains on third down.
Kicker Edwin Arceo is 5-of-8 on field goal attempts this season and he's 3-of-4 from beyond forty yards. He's certainly a threat anytime the Cyclones get within the 30 yard line. Punter Kirby Van Der Kamp may be the best in the conference. He's booted a punt of 50+ yards on ten different occasions this year and has pinned opponents inside their own 20 on twenty-one different occasions.
The other side of the special teams unit is the return game, and the Cyclones are modest. Horne averages 17.7 yards per punt return and Jarvis West produces 19 yards, on average, per kickoff return.