Iowa State vs Oklahoma State football: Five keys to victory


We predicted that Iowa State will get the win at Oklahoma State on Saturday. Don’t worry, I hear all the scoffs. I get it. So outside of the reasons I posted in the preview, here’s five more. Some of them include me giving a pep talk to the offense, what they can do to be successful, and don’t let Desmond Roland turn into Superman.

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1. Somebody needs to give a pep talk to the offense

If they don’t have a former player or celebrity pumping them up in the locker room before the game, I’ll give it a shot. Iowa State’s offense has had to face some of the best defenses in the nation in all four of their games. In their last three games, everybody was ranked 19th or better in total defense and 16th or better in rush defense. North Dakota State isn’t on the list because they aren’t an FBS school, but you know damn well they’d be there with how great that team has been for the last three-plus years.

Oklahoma State has a stingy rush defense too, but at least there’s a little breathing room for the Iowa State offense. And that’s all they need. This group is good. Sam Richardson isn’t a Heisman quarterback but he’s very smart. He scrambles well and can deliver some solid throws. Aaron Wimberly was on college football award watch lists for a reason and DeVondrick Nealy could be that pain in the ass running back that’s hard to bring down. There’s been multiple receivers that have gone down, but there’s still a wealth of talent in the receiver corps.

It looks bad after the first four games, and no matter how good the opponent is there’s no excuse to be as bad as Purdue on offense. All they need is one game to break through and believe in themselves. This game could be that moment.

Sep 27, 2014; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones wide receiver Dondre Daley (13) catches a touchdown pass while being defended by Baylor Bears cornerback Xavien Howard (4) at Jack Trice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

2. Pass the ball to set up the run.

Yes, it’s unnatural, but I really think the Cyclones need to go West Coast offense. They have to use their advantages, and they have a big one with their receivers against the Oklahoma State secondary. If they can move the ball in the air, that will open up things on the ground.

Iowa State can’t abandon the running game. Doing so would eliminate clock control, and the defense wouldn’t be able to handle that.

3. Utilize DeVondrick Nealy early because he’s harder to bring down.

Remember how Nealy was a beast against Kansas State and was tough to tackle? I’m not saying Wimberly should be replaced, but I think establishing some sort of progress is important, and Nealy fits that bill against the tough Oklahoma State defensive line and the even better linebackers. Both players need to do a lot of shake and bake in the backfield to help out the offensive line.

4. Actually try to tackle OSU running back Desmond Roland.

Last year, Roland had 219 yards and 4 touchdowns on the ground against the Cyclones. Did he even get tackled in the game? If Iowa State wants to stick around in the game, they can’t make Roland look like the top Heisman candidate.

5. Keep in mind that athletic freak Tyreek Hill could be a part of any play.

Running the ball, passing the ball, and returning the ball on special teams. There’s almost nothing he can’t do, and Iowa State needs to be on their heels and pay attention to him especially if he gets hot early.