With Saturday's game now squarely on the horizon, we reached out to our Iowa State SBNation website to give us the inside scoop on the Cyclones.
CCM: For the Sooner fans who haven't followed the Cyclones very closely this year, tell us a little bit about the team and what players to watch for on Saturday?
WRNL: For the first time you will see a new quarterback in sophomore Joel Lanning. Lanning is an in-state product, (yes, Iowa has some high school talent), and will be making his second start in a Cyclone uniform. He possesses a cannon for an arm, and a powerful running style. Behind him will be Oklahoma native Michael Warren, who leads all FBS freshman in yards per game.
While the offense is competent, the defense has been a pleasant surprise this year. After last year's debacle in Ames when your team ran for 510 yards through our defense like a hot stick of butter, Rhoads finally realized he needed immediate help. The defense carries nine former JUCO players in the two-deep, and are led up front by DT Demond Tucker and DE Dale Pierson. Look for those two to make an impact, along with cornerback Nigel Tribune who will most likely take the matchup against Shepard
CCM: What happened with Mark Mangino?
WRNL: Well, let's just say that the Mangenius didn't enjoy the food in Iowa. All kidding aside, there seemed to be a riff in the coaching staff and Rhoads didn't agree with the pass-happy Mangino, and wanted to get back to a run-style offense. While the restaurant business suffered in Ames, the offense has taken a step forward with new coordinator Todd Sturdy.
CCM: What would have to happen for Iowa State to win in Norman on Saturday?
WRNL: If the entire Oklahoma team came down with food poisoning I'm still not sure the Cyclones would win in Norman. Bob Stoops has never lost to Iowa State, and that probably won't change on Saturday. In order for Iowa State to make Paul Rhoads "So Proud" the ball will have to bounce Iowa State's way. If you want to pull a (then Big 12) Nebraska Turnover Tirade the WRNL will most certainly provide the Crimson and Cream staff with a lifetime supply of Natty Lite
ISU will have to run the ball effectively against Oklahoma, draining the clock to keep Mayfield from throwing bombs to Shepard, and a slew of turnovers would change the dynamic of the game for Iowa State
CCM: How do you see the rest of the Iowa State season shaping up?
WRNL: Going into the season I was cautiously optimistic about the team, but seeing now that the defense is legit and the change at QB has been for the better, I see Iowa State stealing a win in Morgantown, and the possibly solidifying the firing of Dana Holgerson after a victory in Morgantown. Who knows maybe we can put the vampire Bill Snyder to rest as well.
CCM: What is your score prediction and why?
WRNL: Iowa State matches up well defensively with their bend-but-don't-break defense against Oklahoma, as they will take away the deep ball throws. Samaje Perine scares the crap out of me, and Iowa State likes to bounce off running quarterbacks sometimes. I see OU putting up points and trying to make it a track meet. The ISU roster isn't built for that and my prediction is Oklahoma 45, Iowa State 27.
We appreciate the staff at Wide Right Natty Lite for taking time to answer these questions. You can follow them on twitter at @WideRtNattyLt