Smacked around for the second time this season, Iowa State (1-3, 0-2) got a hard reality check against Baylor after defeating their in-state rivals. However, the road gets a little bit easier in October. Oklahoma State (3-1, 1-0) is rebuilding and reached a setback with a quarterback change, but they have an extremely dynamic and exciting player that will cause problems in multiple phases of the game.
It won’t be easy, but the Cyclones have won away from Jack Trice Stadium once already this year. Maybe they can use their own big-time weapon to cause some problems themselves.
Iowa State Cyclones at (21)Oklahoma State Cowboys
Boone Pickens Stadium | Stillwater, Oklahoma
Saturday, October 4, 2014
Kickoff – 11:00 AM CT | TV – FOX Sports 1 | Web: FOX Sports Go
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Oklahoma State took everyone by surprise by nearly defeating Florida State on college football’s opening weekend. Since then, they’ve taken apart three weak opponents, but they still have a few issues on both sides of the ball. Their defense has been lackluster, letting some of the weaker teams beat them up. Missouri State scored 23 points on them.
Jameis Winston may be great, but there’s no reason he should put up 370 yards on the Cowboys with his arm. Missouri State had 200+ passing yards and 374 total yards of offense. Texas Tech nearly outgained Oklahoma State in total yards 512-528.
Iowa State has the talent to move on the Cowboys, and if Texas Tech is able to get over 100 rushing yards, the tandem of Aaron Wimberly and DeVondrick Nealy must do that as well. Or any of the backups.
Oct 26, 2013; Ames, IA, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys Head Coach Mike Gundy looks on during their game with the Iowa State Cyclones at Jack Trice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports
Contrary to many former Big 12 South matchups, this one isn’t as bad as you’d think. Iowa State is 18-27-3 all-time against Oklahoma State. The last time the Cyclones won in Stillwater was back in 2000 — a 33-26 win. They have defeated the Cowboys three times since them, but those all came in Jack Trice.
Because of the former rotation of the Big 12, Iowa State has played just three times in Stillwater since the 2000 victory and have lost all three times.
- Oklahoma State only has four more first downs than their opponents (90-86).
- Oklahoma State only has 46 more passing yards than their opponents (1162-1116).
- The Cowboys have picked it off six times this season (20th nationally). Iowa State has two (101st nationally).
- The Cowboys have converted 16-of-17 red zone opportunities. Iowa State has only 8 red zone opportunities (124th nationally).
- Cowboys’ opponents are just 30.7 percent successful on 3rd down (19-of-62).
- Cowboys are only 40.3 successful on 3rd down (75th nationally). Iowa State is right at 40 percent (80th nationally).
What to watch for
Sep 27, 2014; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones wide receiver Allen Lazard (5) is tackled by Baylor Bears cornerback Xavien Howard (4) at Jack Trice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports
Iowa State must have a breakout game offensively. Sam Richardson hasn’t thrown the ball well downfield, missing on two or three big plays that could have kept them in the game against Baylor. If he needs to throw it downfield, target Allen Lazard. The hefty 6-foot-5 freshman has a big size advantage over Oklahoma State’s best secondary players.
If the Cyclones can become a threat downfield, that would open up the running game. Perhaps it’s better to have that mindset instead of having the run set up the pass because the linebackers are so good for the Cowboys and the running game needs an obvious boost.
Obviously, Iowa State will have to pay attention to Oklahoma State’s prized JUCO transfer, Tyreek Hill. He’s a threat running the ball, passing the ball, and returning it on both kickoffs and punts. He’s the top man on the depth chart in both those special teams categories. The Cyclone defense can’t have another lazy day tackling the ball, or else he’ll have a big day.
I don’t even need to mention Desmond Roland, who torched Iowa State last year for over 200 yards on the ground because of poor tackling.
There was talk on how Iowa State may have the best offense ever before the season. Well, that offense is ranked 116th nationally. The Dan McCarney-led North Texas team has a better offense statistically. So does Florida Atlantic, Wyoming, Temple, Minnesota…you get it.
Iowa State must change their ways on offense. Now, in defense of their offense, they’ve faced four really good defensive squads. Iowa, KSU, and Baylor are all 19th nationally in total defense or higher (NDSU isn’t listed because they’re in the FCS, but they’re better than most FBS teams).
Oklahoma State’s isn’t easy, but it will feel like that compared to the other talent — they’re 68th nationally in total defense. If the Cyclones can’t figure it out on offense this Saturday, it could be a really long finish to the football season.
However, I think they will. Perhaps putting up 30 on Baylor was too optimistic, but they can get that amount on the Cowboys. The size of both Lazard and E.J. Bibbs should give them their biggest outputs of the season. The ISU defense will go back to making their tackles, and they’ll exploit backup quarterback Daxx Garman by reminding Cowboy fans that he’s a backup. He’s completing less than 60 percent of his passes, and he’s due for some more picks.
They’ve pulled out a close contest before on the road this season, and they’ll do it again in Stillwater. Call me crazy if you want, but the Cyclones move to 2-3 on the season by finally kickstarting their offense and getting a win at Boone Pickens Stadium over an Oklahoma State team that’s not as threatening as they have been in recent years.
Iowa St 37, Oklahoma St 34