Iowa State Random Recall: Oklahoma


Random Recall graphic

Sam Stuve

Editor’s note: Each week, the Iowa State Daily will look back on a notable matchup from the past between the Cyclones and whoever they are playing that particular week.

This week, assistant sports editor Sam Stuve goes back to Iowa State’s 7-7 tie against Oklahoma on Oct. 3, 1981.

People, get your time machines out. We’re going back to the 1980s.

The year is 1981, and Iowa State is off to a 3-0 start, with a 17-13 win over West Texas State, a 23-12 win over Iowa and a 28-19 win over Kent State.

With a 3-0 start, Iowa State headed to Norman, Okla., with the No. 20 ranking and faced the fifth ranked Oklahoma Sooners, who were 1-1 with a 37-20 win over Wyoming to open the year and a 28-24 loss at No. 1 USC the week prior.

Neither team has stats of this game posted on their websites, but, which is not affiliated with Oklahoma, has some unofficial stats posted here. There’s also a YouTube video from the Oklahoma Historical Society that shows some highlights. 

After a first quarter touchdown, Iowa State had a 7-0 lead which it held all the way until the fourth quarter. 

Oklahoma would tie the game with a rushing touchdown from freshman running back Steve Sewell to tie the game 7-7, which is how the game would later end.

Iowa State had the chance to reach double digits but failed as Alex Gilford missed a field goal that would’ve added three more points and ultimately would’ve given it the win in the Big 8 opener.

This game featured a heavy amount of running for both teams. 

Iowa State running back Dwayne Crutchfield, who got drafted in the third round of the 1982 NFL Draft by the New York Jets, and the rest of the Iowa State backfield combined for 204 yards on the ground, while Oklahoma had 314.

Oklahoma was just 2-of-12 on passing attempts for 20 yards in this one, while Iowa State was 12-of-20 for 119 yards. 

The Sooners out-gained the Cyclones 334-323 in this one, but the big difference maker in this one was turnovers.

Oklahoma had seven turnovers in this game, five fumbles and two interceptions. That’s one less turnover than when Nebraska committed eight turnovers in 2009, which Iowa State scored two more points than it did in the 1981 Oklahoma game, to win by a whopping score of 9-7.

But surprisingly, these turnovers didn’t give Oklahoma a loss, as Iowa State’s offense could only muster up seven points.

Iowa State had two turnovers itself, both of which were interceptions. 

So in this game, there was 14 points scored combined, nine turnovers, Oklahoma connecting on just 17 percent of its passes and there was a Oklahoma wide receiver named Buster Rhymes, whose name served as an inspiration for Trevor Smith Jr.’s rapper name, “Busta Rhymes.” So there’s that.

Again, these stats are “unofficial,” but this games appears to have been very wacky.

Following this win, Iowa State jumped eight spots in the rankings to No. 12 in the country.