Sports writers Randy Peterson and Tommy Birch break down the Iowa State Cyclones’ matchup with No. 5 Oklahoma.
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Iowa State coach Matt Campbell talks about his team’s offensive struggles against the Hawkeyes last week.
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The big breakdown
Iowa State passing
It’ll be tough for whoever starts against a team that had two sacks against Florida Atlantic and a whopping six last Saturday against UCLA. Oklahoma’s defensive average against the pass is 223 yards a game — and that’s not horrible. Look for Iowa State to throw more on first down — three of their nine passes on first down against Iowa happened during the first series of the game. After that, offensive imagination went out the window. Tight ends caught four passes against the Hawkeyes, including three by Chase Allen. He had as many receptions as feature receiver Hakeem Butler. ADVANTAGE: Oklahoma.
Iowa State rushing
David Montgomery must at least triple what what he had last week number for Iowa State to hang in this game. It’ll take a combination of creative play-calling, better blocking and maybe even working as an under-coverage receiver. Those types of plays worked last Saturday — until Iowa adjusted, and until the Cyclones’ could not counter adjust. There’s also this: Four of the five touchdowns scored against Oklahoma have been rushing touchdowns. Interesting. ADVANTAGE: Iowa State.
Top back Rodney Anderson will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a knee injury last Saturday against UCLA. He’ll be replaced by a committee that includes Murray, who’s good enough to beat Iowa State with his arm or his legs. The fact that he’s ultra-adept at both aspects — well, it could be a long day for whichever Cyclones are in charge of chasing him. ADVANTAGE: Oklahoma.
Oklahoma won’t be confused this time when Cyclones defensive coordinator elects to drop eight into pass coverage; the Sooners will be ready for that this time. Murray is 28 of 44 for 515 yards and five touchdowns. He hasn’t played an entire game. “Most impressive is his ability to throw the football,” Campbell said. “They’re hitting on all cylinders right now.” ADVANTAGE: Oklahoma.
Prediction: Iowa State won at Oklahoma as a 31-point underdog last season. Saturday, the Sooners are a 17-point fave. Unless the Cyclones have improved dramatically from the no-offense of last Saturday, this one will be something like Oklahoma 42, Iowa State 24.
Peterson’s bold Big 12 predictions
Rutgers (1-1) at Kansas (1-1)
Time, TV: 11 a.m., FSN
Vegas says: Kansas by 3 points
Prediction: This likely is the least-inspiring matchup among Power Fives, a pair of struggling teams playing in Lawrence, Kansas. The last time they played each other, it was Rutgers 27-14 in a 2015 game that ESPN called “the worst game ever.” I’m not sure the updated version will be much better, although the Jayhawks just ended a 46-game road losing streak. Saturday, Kansas returns back home. Saturday, Kansas reverts to form.
Score: Rutgers 3, Kansas 0 (OT)
Duke (2-0) at Baylor (2-0)
Time, TV: 2:30 p.m., FS1
Vegas says: Baylor by 2 points
Prediction: The Bears aren’t back to the free-wheeling offense of past seasons, but averages of 15.9 yards per completion and 357.0 passing yards a game aren’t bad. Duke is a little banged up after last Saturday’s victory against Northwestern, while Baylor is OK after beating Texas-San Antonio. Bears coach Matt Rhule’s team will start out 3-0 — with the possibility of being 4-0 after Sept. 22 against Kansas.
Score: Baylor 21, Duke 20
No. 17 Boise State (2-0) at No. 19 Oklahoma State (2-0)
Time, TV: 2:30 p.m., ESPN
Vegas says: Oklahoma State by 3½ points
Prediction: This is one of the better games on Saturday’s board, both teams among the top four nationally in offense — Oklahoma State being No. 1 with a 674-yard average, and Boise State checking in at No. 4 with 617 a game. Oklahoma State’s edge goes to running back Justice Hill, with 154 yards and an eight yards per carry average while playing minimally against Missouri State and South Alabama.
Score: Oklahoma State 38, Boise State 35
UTSA (0-2) at Kansas State (1-1)
Time, TV: 3 p.m., FSN
Vegas says: Kansas State by 20 points
Prediction: Kansas State’s offense has been woeful, especially passing, where the Wildcats have averaged just 126.0 yards in two games. They’ll do better Saturday, because they’re facing an opponent against whom opponents averaged 320 yards through the air. This isn’t a great Bill Snyder team, but it’ll be good enough to be 2-1 heading into Big 12 play.
Score: Kansas State 31, UTSA 17
Houston (2-0) at Texas Tech (1-1)
Time, TV: 3 p.m. Fox
Vegas says: Texas Tech by 3½ points
Prediction: This one could (will?) get offensively wild, which is just the way things should be in Texas. Texas Tech doesn’t have a rusher among the Big 12’s top 10, however quarterback Alan Bowman averages almost 300 passing yards a game. Houston quarterback D’Eriq King averages almost 300 each game, too, and we all know the Red Raiders’ defense continues to be something less than great.
Score: Houston 41, Texas Tech 38
No. 21 USC (2-0) at Texas (1-1)
Time, TV: 7 p.m., Fox
Vegas says: Texas by 3½ points
Prediction: USC covers the spread — and loses the game. I’m guessing it’s that close. It’s about time Tom Herman’s Longhorns program does something to impress his fans. Beating a Pac-12 Conference that’s among the Top 25 will be a nice start in that direction. And because the game is in Austin …
Score: Texas 27, USC 24
No. 14 TCU (2-0) vs. No. 4 Ohio State (2-0)
Time, TV: 7 p.m. ABC
Vegas says: Ohio State by 13½
Prediction: The big question is about Ohio State covering the spread. Will it? Maybe by half-a-point. The Buckeyes’ offense is second nationally, averaging 650 yards a game. That’s 300 rushing yard a game and 350 yards a game through the air. TCU’s defense is good — the Frogs have allowed an average of 213.5 yards a game, but not good enough to beat the Buckeyes.
Score: Ohio State 37, TCU 14
Iowa State columnist Randy Peterson has been with the Register for parts of five decades. Randy writes opinion and analysis of Iowa State football and basketball. You can reach Randy at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @RandyPete.
Source: Des Moines Register