116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
AMES — Breaking down Saturday’s Big 12 football game between Iowa State (6-4, 4-3) and No. 13 Oklahoma (9-1, 6-1) in Norman, Okla.
Kickoff is 11 a.m. (Fox).
Iowa State offense
Iowa State’s offense starts up front. If the Cyclones can get good push along the line, running back Breece Hall will have plenty of success because he’s as dangerous as anyone in the open field.
But if the opposing defense is loading the box and getting good penetration, Iowa State’s offense can grind to a bit of a standstill.
“When you have a player like Breece, certainly handing the football off is somewhat advantageous to you,” offensive coordinator Tom Manning said. “And when you're not able to get good yards, you're going to put yourself into situations where you're in third-and-long and things like that. Then that becomes really difficult.
“We’re trying to find out in a football game, how someone's playing you early on, what are they doing based upon your formations. And I think everyone has played us a little bit differently because we do run the football and Breece is such a good football player, they really try hard to take the run away. I think there's a different point in every game where you feel like, man, can you sneak one in here and not sneak one in. And when you have to adjust to it.”
Oklahoma freshman quarterback Caleb Williams played his first bad game of the season last week in a loss to Baylor.
Preseason Heisman favorite Spencer Rattler went in and finished the game.
“Both are going to play in the NFL,” ISU defensive coordinator Jon Heacock said. “So for us, it doesn't make much difference back there. I mean, they're both NFL quarterbacks. So I think a lot of our focus has been on us. But the quarterbacks are both NFL players, so you just get ready to play them.”
Iowa State defense
Iowa State’s defense has struggled on the road recently, especially in first halves. West Virginia and Texas Tech got whatever they wanted and the Cyclones dug themselves some big holes that were too deep to get out of.
“West Virginia, (we had) no answers to get them stopped,” Heacock said. “I think the same thing happened when we played Saturday. It starts with coaching. And it's on me, I'm in charge of it. And again, we've got to play better football.”
Iowa State’s defense sat atop the Big 12 for pretty much the whole season, but after Texas Tech’s 41-38 win over the Cyclones last week, Iowa State’s scoring defense is now third in the conference and second in yards allowed.
“Our standards have been set here,” Heacock said. “And, shoot, when you don't play to them, that's (losses) what happens. And I'm in charge of that. It's my responsibility, and we're working to get it all fixed."
Oklahoma’s offense will always outshine its defense under Coach Lincoln Riley, but Oklahoma’s defense is respectable.
The Sooners are in middle of the pack in the Big 12 in scoring defense, allowing 24.5 points per game, which is sixth in the Big 12. They allow 5.9 yards per play.
Oklahoma’s defense is at its best when it’s getting pressure and wreaking havoc up front with its line.
Iowa State-Oklahoma prediction
The Cyclones have struggled on the road this season with three of their four losses coming away from home. Oklahoma is coming off of its first loss of the season, so it’ll be interesting to see how the Sooners respond.
Prediction — Oklahoma 34, Iowa State 24