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Oklahoma Sooners Football Defensive Expectations | Stop The Run & Beat The Cyclones

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Iowa State Cyclones are near the bottom of the barrel in the Big 12 when it comes to scoring points, but that doesn't mean they don't have an offense that needs to be schemed for. With an average of 4.4 yards per carry, stopping the ICU offense means plugging gaps and stopping their rushing attack.

Stop The ISU Running Game

Oklahoma's defense is currently allowing a respectable 3.5 yards per carry average (tied for second best in the conference) against their opponents this season, but the Cyclones' Mike Warren is cranking out 6.2 yards per carry. Obviously something has to give here and the expectation is that it'kk be the ISU rushing attack.  The Cyclones are averaging 42 rushing attempts per game and Warren, a product of Lawton, OK, is responsible for around half of those. However, in ISU's 24-0 win over Texas last Saturday (their first game without Mark Mangino calling the plays) he carried the ball 32 times for an average of 4.9 yards per carry.

The Cyclones are one of five teams in the Big 12 that average less than three hundred passing yards per game (236.6) and the only team in that mix that has a higher yards per carry average is Texas at 4.5 yards per attempt.

Team Passing Yards Per Game Rushing Yards Per Attempt
West Virginia 254.1 4.3
Iowa State 236.6 4.4
Kansas 230.5 2.9
Kansas State 157.3 3.8
Texas 134.4 4.5

I'm not implying that the Cyclones don't have potential to hurt you through the air, but I am saying that if Oklahoma can force them into passing situations then it'll be a big advantage for the Sooners' defense.

Win The Line Of Scrimmage

This is a must, regardless of whether you're trying to stop the rush or defend the pass. Oklahoma must make plays at the line of scrimmage. Pushing the ISU offensive line back will allow for linebackers to better fill gaps, and gain penetration into the backfield, and it will make it easier to disrupt pass plays by collapsing the pocket. Charles Tapper had his best game of the season last week against Kansas, now the Sooners need him to continue that momentum at home this weekend against the Cyclones.

Tackle In Space

Your basic Big 12 offense is all about getting a guy in space and seeing if he can make a play and Iowa State is no different. While they may not go about it in the same fashion the Sooners do, they will certainly want to try and capitalize on one-on-one opportunities. The defense that tackles well in space beats the Big 12 offenses.

This is a game where the Sooners are expected to win, and that's exactly what should happen on Owen Field Saturday evening. Oklahoma's defense needs to do a lot of things well to make that happen, but they need to do these three things exceptionally to put themselves in a position to contend for the conference title going into the final three-game stretch of the season.