Do you fall asleep? Isn’t that the major story line this week? Last week, the Oklahoma Sooners’ offense had a few hiccups, only putting together 20 points. On the other side, the defense wouldn’t let the Sooners sweat it out, much less lose. That exact same game plan can work again this week. Three solid drives from this offense, and Oklahoma can get to 17 points and this thing can be over.
However, that won’t work against Texas.
So while I have no worries about Oklahoma winning this game, going into the game next Saturday in Texas with a little offensive momentum sure wouldn’t hurt.
What will I be watching?
- I don’t really have any points on the defense to monitor. I think the safety rotation is interesting, but mostly because I like every single one of those players and they can’t all be on the field at once. All of these are leaning the other way. The offense’s slow start last week needs to be a one week blip. Oklahoma allowed Emory Jones and Cincy to hang around into halftime. Iowa State isn’t going to be a massive concern if Oklahoma goes in 10-3 at half, but again, I am viewing this from a prism of momentum.
- Oklahoma’s offense had six drives in which they punted last week. Those six drives averaged just under four plays. So, when the offense worked, it marched. When it stalled, it stalled immediately. I don’t think OU needs to hang 70 this week like the disrespectful Dolphins (I kid, I kid) but I do think that not allowing themselves to live in the extreme of points or three & out is a path for long-term growth.
- Finally, I wouldn’t be a football guy if I didn’t say the obvious — Iowa State isn’t a good a football team. However, they are coming off not only a win but a game in which their QB gained a little confidence. The Sooners can not come out slow or asleep at the wheel. Wherever that BV intensity switch is in the locker room, we expect to see that early. No look-ahead energy here.
Know your opponent: Iowa State Cyclones
- I mentioned their QB — Rocco Becht. He’s a true freshman who really can sling it if you watch last week’s tape. He made some big throws and some really well placed balls. He struggled with pressure, but he is willing to take a hit to lay one over the top. The Sooners need to be aware that their chances will be there to make a big play, but if you play loose, he can make it. I was impressed with him in regards to him being a freshman last week, not in slaying a big team on his own. So, again referencing the momentum he built last week, it will be big for Oklahoma to “win” the first 10-15 passing plays of the game.
- Jaylin Noel gave Oklahoma State massive problems last week. Eight catches for 148 feels like his likely season high, but Noel is explosive in space. He also made a few big plays on returns and was avoided the entire second half by the Pokes. In an offense for the Cyclones that otherwise lacks really any fire power, this is the one I would reference.
- Iowa State’s defense has made famous the dreaded “rush three drop eight” defense. You will see more of that this week from their defensive coordinator, Jon Heacock. However, this year Heacock has caught teams, like OSU, completely flat footed by throwing out a four-man front on third down and even adding a blitzer. Give the Iowa State defensive coaching staff credit for catching Gundy sleeping, but Jeff Lebby needs to be aware. Iowa State manufactured pressure like week by breaking tendency.
At risk of looking stupid, I really don’t think this is a game. I really believe in this defense against bad offenses. Texas will make me sing a different tune, but I just don’t see Iowa State mustering enough. Now, I am worried a little bit about the boom/bust nature of this offense when it comes to really short drives, but it doesn’t change the outcome of this one.
Sooners - 27
Cyclones - 6
Talk to you later, knuckleheads!