Good Cop/Bad Cop: Oklahoma


Marijke Mendeszoon

Cyclone quarterback Hunter Dekkers drops back to pass as the lineman battle against the Texas Longhorns on Oct. 26.

Payne Blazevich and Anthony Hanson

Good Cop: Payne Blazevich

After a stretch of losses that saw Iowa State drop four games by a combined 14 points, the Cyclones were in desperate need of a bye week. Rest and recuperation following a frustrating set of games will make the difference against Oklahoma Saturday. 

One-score losses have plagued Iowa State throughout conference play, and its young offense has struggled to maintain a rhythm. The potential and talent have always been present, but the unit needed a week to make critical adjustments. 

Tweaks were already made prior to the matchup against Texas. Quarterback Hunter Dekkers was more willing to spread the ball around, rather than just focusing on star receiver Xavier Hutchinson. He also opted to run the ball himself, which created another opportunity to gain yardage against tight pass coverage. 

With more time to adjust the offensive scheme, as well as allow injured running backs Jirehl Brock and Cartevious Norton to get healthy, the offense could make a leap of progress. The matchup Saturday is favorable for Iowa State, as Oklahoma’s defense has struggled all season. 

The Sooners have not held a conference opponent under 40 points, relying on their up-tempo offense to score points in order to win a shootout. Iowa State’s defense has been shootout-proof so far this season and should be capable of shutting down Oklahoma.

Iowa State badly needs a win, and there is no doubt that the team will be fired up to take the field Saturday. With the offense flowing and the defense remaining sharp, the Cyclones can finally see a result swing in their favor. 

Prediction: Iowa State 27, Oklahoma 14

Bad cop: Anthony Hanson

The Cyclones will be engaged in a must-win this weekend with the Oklahoma Sooners. 

With three home games remaining on the schedule and Iowa State three wins away from bowl eligibility, the path of least resistance to the postseason involves a win on Saturday. 

Anything less and the Cyclones will be forced to pick up a road win against either TCU and Oklahoma State, the top-two teams in the Big 12 standings right now, to take the field during bowl season. 

Fortunately for Cyclone fans, head coach Matt Campbell says Iowa State is almost as healthy as it has been all season. Jirehl Brock and Cartevious Norton will be healthy and on the field in the Iowa State backfield. The running game will receive a much-needed boost and should help Iowa State answer its questions on the offensive side of the ball. 

But, Oklahoma also had an opportunity to address its concerns. 

Both teams are coming off a bye week, and Oklahoma safety Billy Bowman will be back on the field. Bowman has been dealing with a knee injury, and in his absence, Oklahoma has struggled to prevent big plays in the passing game. 

Most notably, Quinn Ewers of Texas torched the Oklahoma secondary for 289 yards and four touchdowns when the Longhorns beat the Sooners. 

This Saturday, the keys to victory for Iowa State are familiar. The Cyclone defense will keep the game within striking distance as they have all season. But can a healthy Iowa State offense take charge against an Oklahoma defense that has also been nursed back to health?

The answer is going to decide Iowa State’s postseason chances. 

Prediction: Oklahoma 17, Iowa State 13