Matt Campbell is not concerned about Brock Purdy bouncing
Randy Peterson, email@example.com
NORMAN, Okla. — Wouldn’t it be something if somehow history repeats when Iowa State plays Big 12 Conference football on Saturday at Oklahoma?
You know what I’m talking about — something akin to the day Matt Campbell and a gutsy performance from a backup quarterback (or two) put the Cyclones smack dab on the national stage after the most unlikely victory in program history.
Iowa State 38, No. 3 Oklahoma 31 on Oct. 7, 2017 — the day this program came alive.
Since that historic occasion, Iowa State has an 18-11 record, two bowl appearances, two players selected in the NFL Draft for the first time since 2013, and more recently welcomed the emergence of quarterback Brock Purdy and running back Breece Hall.
Saturday, the Cyclones return to the stadium where it all happened for a 7 p.m. game against the nation’s eighth-ranked team.
“We thought they were a pretty good team coming into that year,” said Lincoln Riley, whose lone home loss since replacing Bob Stoops as Oklahoma head coach in 2017 was to Campbell’s Cyclones. “That game maybe made everybody else realize it.”
It was the first time in school history that Iowa State beat a top-five opponent on the road. It stopped a 19-game losing streak against Oklahoma. It was the Cyclones’ first win in Norman since 1990.
“I was in the field, running the combine and listening to it on radio,” Iowa State redshirt freshman left guard Trevor Downing said of the 2017 upset. “I was shocked.”
The national media took note. Campbell’s already shining star shined brighter after that game in front of 86,019 mostly bewildered fans and against quarterback Baker Mayfield, who would win the Heisman Trophy a couple of months later.
“That football season allowed us to put some proof into the vision that we thought we would have of where Iowa State football could go,” Campbell said.
Can history repeat? Sure.
We’ll know sometime Saturday night.
Breaking down Iowa State-Oklahoma
Cyclones’ winning formula
Kansas State had the ball for 38 of the game’s 60 minutes — including 20 of 30 minutes in the second half — while beating Oklahoma on Oct. 26. The Wildcats kept Jalen Hurts and the nation’s highest-scoring offense (49.2 points a game) on the sidelines and that’s what the Cyclones must do.
Whether it’s Purdy hitting receivers Deshaunte Jones, La’Michael Pettway and Charlie Kolar in mid-range open spaces, or the tuck-and-go quarterback runs that have been very successful, the sophomore must be on top of his craft.
The same goes for the freshman running back Hall. Pound that Sooner rushing defense that’s allowing an average of 138.4 yards a game, don’t fall into a rash of third-and-long situations, don’t turn over the ball, and maybe 2017 can happen all over again.
Sooners’ winning formula
Hurts aside, look at what receiver CeeDee Lamb has done this season: 816 yards on 36 receptions, 11 touchdowns, and averages of 102.0 receiving yards per game and 17.0 yards per catch.
Furthermore, Oklahoma quarterbacks have been sacked just seven times this season, so the Cyclones pressuring Hurts out of his comfort zone could be iffy. His 308.6 passing yards per game is second in the Big 12 behind Purdy. His 100.1 rushing yards a game is second to Oklahoma State tailback Chuba Hubbard.
Oklahoma State torched Iowa State with long scoring plays of 50, 65 and 71 yards during the first half of its 34-27 victory two weeks ago in Ames. Oklahoma has the playmakers to do the same, and that list includes Hurts. This could be a big game for the Alabama transfer considering the Cyclones haven’t performed well against dual-threat quarterbacks.
What to expect
Take a nap, because this 7 p.m. game could last a while if it’s the offensive shootout many are expecting. That’s the last thing Iowa State wants and it’s exactly what the Sooners need.
The quarterbacks involved are statistically the top two in the Big 12. Oklahoma has more playmakers and don’t discount the fact that Riley’s team needs impressive victories the rest of the way to be in College Football Playoff contention.
Time, TV: 7 p.m., FOX
Vegas line: Oklahoma by 13 ½ points
Score: Oklahoma 42, Iowa State 38
Big 12 predictions
No. 10 Baylor (8-0, 5-0) at TCU (4-4, 2-3)
Time, TV: 11 a.m., FS1
Vegas line: Baylor by 2 ½ points
Prediction: This is the calm before Baylor’s storm. Get a win Saturday in Fort Worth and the Bears enter consecutive home games against the Sooners and Longhorns as the Big 12’s lone unbeaten. TCU has lost three of its last four games and the defense hasn’t played like Gary Patterson defenses of the past. All of that plays into what should be a winning hand for Baylor.
Score: Baylor 30, TCU 24
Texas Tech (3-5, 1-4) at West Virginia (3-5, 1-4)
Time, TV: 11 a.m., ESPN2
Vegas line: Texas Tech by 2 ½ points
Prediction: On the Intrigue Scale, this one rates a minus-10. West Virginia can’t score in bulk, barely plays defense (allowing 31.4 points a game) and returns home for the first time in almost a month on a four-game losing streak. Texas Tech has lost three-in-a-row, has a shaky pass defense, and is fortunate to be playing against a 59% passer with 12 touchdowns against 8 interceptions. That’s why the Red Raiders win.
Score: Texas Tech 27, West Virginia 24
No. 22 Kansas State (6-2, 3-2) at Texas (5-3, 3-2)
Time, TV: 2:30 p.m., ESPN
Vegas line: Texas by 7 points
Prediction: Kansas State quarterback Skylar Thompson is on top of his all-around game with 7 rushing touchdowns the past two games. For the season, the junior has 7 touchdown passes and he’s been intercepted just once. He’ll be passing against statistically the worst pass defense in the Big 12 — against whom opponents have averaged 305.4 air yards per game. Kansas State has won four-in-a-row while Texas has lost two of its last three — with the win being a 50-48 thriller against Kansas. The Wildcats will maintain their time-of-possession dominance against a shaky defense.
Score: Kansas State 30, Texas 24
Iowa State columnist Randy Peterson has been writing for the Des Moines Register for parts of five decades. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org, 515-284-8132, and on Twitter at @RandyPete.
Source: Des Moines Register