Iowa State ready for the challenge of facing Oklahoma

Then-redshirt sophomore Tarique Milton runs past his defender during the game against Oklahoma on Nov. 9, 2019. The Cyclones lost to the Sooners 42-41.

Matt Belinson

Chase Allen remembers the feeling of taking down the Oklahoma Sooners in Norman, Okla., on Oct. 7, 2017.

He was just a redshirt freshman at the time as the Cyclones visited the mighty Sooners on their home field, with Iowa State sitting with a 2-2 record.

And then you know the rest.

But on that day, that historic upset, Allen bought into the process completely.

It was the start of his long Cyclone career. And he said it’s only fitting his last time playing the Sooners will be in Norman — the place where ‘The Process’ took off.

“It would be quite the finale to a journey that that’s what really started it all for me as a freshman playing in that game and just getting that first recognition of like, ‘Oh my gosh, buying into the process, doing things the right way, that can pay off,'” Allen said.

“Being able to finish like we started it would be kinda storybook.”

Matt Campbell doesn’t set his sights specifically on giving his senior class the storybook ending Allen describes, but the sixth-year head coach of the Cyclones does understand the challenge in front of them and knows it will take a total team effort to get the job done. Iowa State has beaten the Sooners five times since the 1940 season, but two of said wins have come within the last four seasons under Campbell and this group of seniors.

Heading into Saturday in Norman, Campbell isn’t worried about which quarterback the Sooners roll with, explaining how he doesn’t see a distinct shift in how Oklahoma plays with either Spencer Rattler or Caleb Williams.

Williams was benched last week in the Sooners’ loss against Baylor, but will be the starter again on Saturday against the Cyclones.

“They’re so similar. You gotta give Coach Riley a lot of credit he does a great job of development of those at that position group,” Campbell said of Rattler and Williams. “And I think both of them [are] extremely athletic, can make all the throws. Offensively, I don’t see great changes from what they do when either quarterback is in the game.”

Williams has thrown for 14 touchdowns and three interceptions in his four starts as the Oklahoma quarterback, completing over 75 percent of his passes in three of his four starts.

Another layer to Saturday is a bit of a homecoming. In case you haven’t heard, Charlie Kolar is from Norman, Okla., but more than that he’s had some of his better statistical games against the Sooners.

Naturally, the emotions are heightened for Kolar after only receiving two power-five offers out of high school: Iowa State and Oklahoma State. But he’s not letting himself care more about this week than anything else. The Cyclones have to be on their ‘A’ game to win, and Kolar wants himself and teammates to worry about that.

And while he’d like to come out of Norman with a win like his friend and fellow tight end in Allen, he isn’t getting up any different — even for the Sooners.

“Obviously, growing up in Norman, growing up around that stadium and that program it’s always exciting to go back,” Kolar said. “But like I said with the Texas Tech loss, for myself personally and for this team, we shouldn’t need that type of motivation to go play hard.”

“If you’re implying that you can play harder against a team you’re from than other teams, there’s something wrong with me and there’s something wrong with everyone.”