The unthinkable happened: Iowa State defeats No. 3 Oklahoma in Norman

Marcel Spears Jr. dives for a tackle during the third quarter of the Iowa State vs Texas Football game. Longhorns won 17-7. 

Brian Mozey

Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield had one more chance to tie this football game up with 1:27 left in the fourth quarter. It was fourth-and-4 at the Oklahoma 42-yard line.

Mayfield had a lot of time in the pocket, but couldn’t find a target, so he raced out of the pocket chased by a couple of Iowa State defensive linemen.

Once the Cyclones got closer, Mayfield threw a dart to wide receiver Marquise Brown, which was broken up by a couple Iowa State secondary players. The ball dropped onto the field and it was over.

Iowa State had done the unthinkable.

Coach Matt Campbell gave one of the biggest fist pumps throughout the entire season after that failed fourth down conversion and the Iowa State bench erupted into a thunderous cheer.

The 80,000 Sooners fans packed into Memorial Stadium expecting to see a dominating performance by Oklahoma went silent. All you could hear was a small section by the Iowa State bench filled with family and fans of Iowa State filling the entire stadium.

Iowa State defeated No. 3 Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma, with a 38-31 final score.

Senior wide receiver Allen Lazard told Randy Peterson from the Des Moines Register that Iowa State “hit Oklahoma in the mouth.”

This was a first for Iowa State in 27 years. The last time Iowa State defeated Oklahoma was on the road in 1990.

Quarterback Jacob Park didn’t travel with the team to Norman, Oklahoma, due to personal health concerns. Campbell didn’t comment too much in depth about Park’s situation except that it’s been a process and wasn’t immediate.

After the news broke out, coach Matt Campbell went up to walk-on quarterback Kyle Kempt, a redshirt senior, and told him he’d be the starting quarterback.

Not a hard task for your first start of your Cyclone career?

Play one of the top defenses in the country.

His first few drives showed that inexperience with a three-and-out first drive, but the second drive resulted in a field goal by Garrett Owens after a 46-yard pass from Kempt to running back David Montgomery set up the opportunity.

After that throw, Kempt and the Iowa State offense started getting on a roll. Meanwhile, Oklahoma’s quarterback Baker Mayfield was showing why he’s a Heisman candidate with driving down the field and scoring three touchdowns and a field goal in the first four drives of the game.

Iowa State took and kept that lead after Kempt threw a high pass to Lazard who jumped and caught the ball over the extended Sooner cornerback for a 25-yard touchdown.

“Kyle [Kempt] kept his poise and that’s what we needed today,” Campbell said.

Kempt showed a dominating performance in his first game as a starter. He threw for 343 yards and had three passing touchdowns. This dominance showed in the second half when Iowa State outscored Oklahoma 24-7 to finish out the game.

Along with Kempt’s control, Oklahoma was giving up big plays by themselves with penalties and one fumble. With a couple of key defensive passing interference calls and an unsportsmanlike conduct flag, Iowa State had the confidence and the momentum in the second half.

“We just kept fighting as a team and kept believing,” said linebacker Joel Lanning.

The Iowa State defense also allowed only one score in four drives in the second half including a missed field goal by Oklahoma giving Iowa State key field position and a touchdown in the next drive.

“Coach [Jon] Heacock was masterful [with our defensive plan] in not giving them points,” Campbell said. “You’re going into the best offense in the country with the best quarterback and you can’t give up big plays.

“That’s what we did really well.”

Another key player in this game was Lanning who not only recovered a fumble in the early part of the third quarter, but also played the quarterback role for a handful of snaps.

“I don’t know if there’s any better story in college football,” Campbell said. “He wasn’t getting the [quarterback] reps this week, but it definitely worked out. What he’s doing is unheard of. I think Joel Lanning will be a name people remember for a long, long time.”

Now Iowa State is 3-2. With seven games left in the regular season, they will look to a possible bowl game.

“This is just a journey,” Campbell said. “College football is a marathon, it’s not a sprint.”