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Peterson: Questions, questions, questions on Xavier Foster (oh, and the Oklahoma showdown)

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Matt Campbell is not concerned about Brock Purdy bouncing
Randy Peterson, rpeterson@dmreg.com

While we’re celebrating that fact that Oskaloosa High School’s big-time basketball recruit Xavier Foster is staying in the state, let’s not get stupid about it.

To the fan base that doesn’t come away smiling after his Monday morning press conference at the high school, let’s not hurl false accusations at the sweepstakes-winning school.

To the happy fans, please keep enthusiasm within reason. Praise the winning coach for getting the 7-footer with the sweet perimeter shooting stroke. Don’t poor-mouth the other side, and again, don’t publicly accuse someone of something unless you have proof.

We know how ugly Cy-Hawk football can get. Please keep this one within reason.

I bring that up because of multiple social media inquires Wednesday morning.

Where’s he going? How’d his Iowa State visit go Tuesday night?

Who was the last Iowa high school star to choose between Iowa State and Iowa?

Adam Haluska to the Cyclones in 2002 comes to mind first, and then he transferred to Iowa after one season in Ames. As for other selections coming down to either Iowa State or Iowa, that’s a toughie.

A friend who knows more college basketball than I’ll ever know says Jeff Horner, Chris Street, Jess Settles and Alex Thompson were among players that had offers from both during their recruiting process.

What else did people want to know during our almost-weekly Facebook live and social media mailbag session?

TOPIC: Saturday at Oklahoma

If you believe the cliché that there’s “a first time for everything,” then you’re of the mind that the Cyclones could beat the Sooners in Norman, Oklahoma, on Saturday.

Never has Iowa State won consecutive games at Oklahoma, so in that respect, duplicating 2017’s 38-31 Cyclones win there would be epic.

Stuff happens, though, and we saw that the last time Matt Campbell’s team played at the Sooners. 

But will it happen again? Let’s just say that 2017 Oklahoma team was better than the one Iowa State faces on Saturday. Those guys beat TCU in the Big 12 championship game. That team was the No. 2 seed in the College Football Playoff.

Conversely, I’d say this Iowa State team has more talent and better legitimate depth than the 2017 team. David Montgomery rushed for 1,146 yards that season. That team had Allen Lazard. That game featured Kyle Kempt becoming the starting quarterback during game-week of prep for the nation’s third-ranked team.

This team has the best offensive line in a long time, one of the school’s best defenses, and an established quarterback in Brock Purdy. And yet, the Sooners are two-touchdown favorites.

So who wins Saturday?

I’ll get back to you on that one.

TOPIC: How Iowa State beats the Sooners

Purdy must be flawless in all aspects of his game. He of course can’t repeat the final 7 minutes against Oklahoma State, in which he threw three interceptions. He must tuck-and-run the football for significant yards.

The whole offense must major in extended possessions. The more quarterback Jalen Hurts is on the sidelines, the better it is for the Cyclones.

Hurts affects games in multiple ways — the Sooners have the Big 12’s best passing attack, yet he’s also the conference’s No. 2 rusher. He’s the main reason for the eye-popping averages of 551.4 yards and 45.4 points a game against league opponents.

That’s why keeping him off the field is high on Iowa State’s wish list.

TOPIC: Xavier Foster’s Tuesday night

He hasn’t committed anywhere yet. Let’s get that out there right now.

I talked to his parents at halftime Tuesday, mostly casual conversation about some of his mom’s relatives that I know.

DaJuan Foster said his son has not told either Cyclones coach Steve Prohm or Hawkeyes coach Fran McCaffery his decision.

That’s the meat-and-potatoes stuff. As for the rest:

Foster sat in the front row along the baseline closest to the Iowa State bench during the first half of the blowout against Mississippi Valley State. He hung out in the upper sections of Hilton Coliseum during the second.

That’s all I know now, and all we may find out until Monday.

TOPIC: Will Greg Eisworth play Saturday?

Coach Matt Campbell said the starting safety “will definitely be available” Saturday.

That doesn’t answer whether he’ll start at Oklahoma, but it’s safe to assume the junior will play.

He’s had a nagging shoulder injury most of the season, then took a good wallop there two weeks ago against Oklahoma State. He went to the sidelines, and then to the locker room.

“He’s had a week off to get himself back to the best health he’s been in a long time,” Campbell said.

Iowa State needs as many healthy players in the secondary as possible Saturday, not only to defend Hurts passes’ — especially to talented CeeDee Lamb — but also to defend quarterback runs.

Hurts averages 7.8 yards each carry. He’s scored 13 rushing touchdowns, and he will get in the open field. That’s where a healthy Eisworth comes in. He’s a solid open-field tackler.

TOPIC: The Big 12 title

Sure, Iowa State is in the picture. Win out, and take your chances. If I’m predicting now, however, it’s Oklahoma against Baylor.

Iowa State columnist Randy Peterson has been writing for the Des Moines Register for parts of five decades. Reach him at rpeterson@dmreg.com, 515-284-8132, and on Twitter at @RandyPete. No one covers the Cyclones like the Register. Subscribe today at Des Moines Register.com/Deal to make sure you never miss a moment.

Source: Des Moines Register