Good Cop/Bad Cop: Big 12 Championship

Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy throws a pass against Baylor on Nov. 7 in Ames. 

Megan Teske, ; Sam Stuve

Good Cop: Megan Teske

The day is finally here.

After trusting the process for so long, the process has rewarded them back and the Cyclones are in the Big 12 Championship game after going 8-1 in conference play and being in first place at the top of the Big 12 standings.

Oklahoma has been here multiple times before. Iowa State has not.

Despite the Cyclones’ inexperience, I believe Iowa State will prevail.

The Cyclones beat the Sooners back in October when the Sooners were having some trouble in the start of the season, and yes, it is difficult to beat a team twice in one season, but who is to say it can’t be done?

Oklahoma bounced back after that game and is currently on a six-game win streak, but Iowa State is also rolling with a five-game win streak, so it will be another tough matchup for both teams.

The Cyclones have had to overcome tough games all season long when people said it couldn’t be done, and here they sit, ready to play in the biggest game yet, led by a coach who was just named Big 12 Coach of the Year for the third time in his five years with Iowa State.

All eyes will be on quarterback Brock Purdy, who has been playing arguably his best football as of late, and running back Breece Hall, who hasn’t slowed down at all this season, on Iowa State’s side of the ball.

Against Oklahoma in October, Hall rushed for 139 yards and two touchdowns. Purdy threw for 254 yards and a touchdown on 12-24 passing, but tight end Charlie Kolar was able to draw plenty of pass interference calls with his size advantage.

Oklahoma will have to stop Hall on the ground and limit Kolar and wide receiver Xavier Hutchinson’s playmaking ability to stop an Iowa State offense that has been firing on all cylinders lately.

On defense, Iowa State will once again have to stop quarterback Spencer Rattler from making plays through the air and on the ground, but a new player has also emerged for the Sooners the Cyclones need to look out for: running back Rhamondre Stevenson.

The Cyclones will have to stop Stevenson, who didn’t play in October against Iowa State, to slow down another facet of Oklahoma’s offense.

Iowa State’s defense has been playing just as strong as its offense, and they will need to continue that Saturday.

The Sooners will be looking for revenge Saturday from their loss in October, but I think the Cyclones will pull it out in another close game.

Prediction: Iowa State 35, Oklahoma 31

Bad Cop: Sam Stuve

It is very hard to beat a team twice in a season, and since Iowa State beat them 37-30 on Oct. 3 in Ames, Oklahoma has been red hot, winning its last six games.

Both teams in Saturday’s Big 12 Championship have been playing their best football in the last five weeks of the season.

The difference maker in the matchup between these two teams was two big plays in the second half by Iowa State, a 65-yard touchdown pass from Brock Purdy to Xavier Hutchinson and an 85-yard kick return by Kene Nwangwu.

Besides those two plays, the matchup was virtually even, with both teams making three field goals, both teams committing just one turnover and both teams finishing with over 400 yards (417 for Iowa State and 414 for Oklahoma).

The two biggest stars to watch during Saturday’s game are Oklahoma’s quarterback Spencer Rattler, who has thrown for 2,512 yards (leads the Big 12 and third in the nation), 24 touchdowns (leads the Big 12) and seven interceptions (just two in the last five games); and Iowa State’s Breece Hall, who leads the Big 12 and NCAA in rushing with 1,357 yards and leads the Big 12 in rushing touchdowns with 17.

In the first matchup, Hall had 139 rushing yards and two touchdowns, while Rattler threw for 300 yards, two touchdown passes, one interception and completed 25 out of 36 passes.

Both Iowa State and Oklahoma are in the top three in the Big 12 in scoring offense and defense.

Iowa State scores 34 points a game (third in Big 12) and gives up 21.3 points per game (second in the Big 12).

Oklahoma leads the Big 12 in scoring with 43.4 points per game (sixth in the nation) and gives up 22 points per game.

This game seems like a coin flip to me; this could probably come down to who has the ball last.

I think Iowa State will control the line of scrimmage on offense and defense.

That normally means Iowa State would win, but I think Rattler and Oklahoma may get revenge for its loss earlier in the season.

Prediction: Oklahoma 34, Iowa State 31