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Aggressive Sooner Defense Frustrates And Overpowers Cyclones

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into Saturday's game against Iowa State one thing that was certain was that the Sooners would score points. Iowa State was next to last in the conference in run defense and near the bottom of the Big 12 in scoring defense. There's no way that OU wasn't going to score. What was uncertain though was whether the points would come in a pressure packed shootout or not and to that, Oklahoma's defense rose to the occasion.

Under first-year offensive coordinator Mark Mangino the Cyclones were just starting to find their offensive stride. Iowa State have been averaging 30 points per game in conference play but the Sooners held them to less than half of that. The Cyclones' 14 points were fewest they've scored since dropping their season opener 34-14 to North Dakota State.

Oklahoma held Iowa State to less than 100 rushing yards on the day and ended seven of the Cyclones' seventeen offensive possessions in three-and-outs. How bad was it for the ISU offense against Oklahoma? The Cyclones produced 334 total yards but but netted 336 punting yards. Yup, they out punted their offense.

It was all about pressure and being aggressive for Oklahoma's defense. The Sooners recorded seven tackles for loss on the day and hassled ISU quarterback Sam Richardson with blitzes. As we said on our podcast Thursday, the lack of a game-breaking running back allowed Oklahoma's defensive ends to crash and the linebackers to fill. The result was pressure from all angles and the Iowa State offense wasn't prepared for it.

Position Grades

Defensive Line - This group didn't add a lot to the total tackles category but they did a lot in way of pressuring the backfield (Charles Tapper had a sack and forced fumble) and clogging running lanes. The linebackers should be sending thank you cards to the line for making their jobs easier.  Overall Grade: A

Linebackers - The brightest light on a very good defensive performance belongs to the linebackers. Dominique Alexander led the team in tackles, Jordan Evans recovered a fumble, and Eric Striker had a sack. Overall Grade: A

Secondary - Ahmad Thomas and Hatari Byrd quietly had good games but the corners struggled a bit. Julian Wilson was flagged twice for pass interference and Zack Sanchez was beaten on Iowa State's second touchdown.