A five-touchdown first half Hurts Iowa State in tough loss

Junior wide receiver CeeDee Lamb during the game against Iowa State Nov. 9. The Cyclones lost 42-41.

Matt Belinson

Sorry about the headline, but numbers don’t lie.

The Iowa State Cyclones got a taste of the high powered and quick-striking offense of the Sooners Saturday night.

To be more specific, the Sooners’ quarterback, Jalen Hurts, torched Iowa State from the first drive of the game. 

Hurts ended his night 18-26 for 272 yards and three passing touchdowns, to go along with two rushing scores.

It was his third game of three passing and two rushing touchdowns this season — which ties former Texas Tech quarterback and 2018 NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes for the most in a season in Big 12 history.

He wasted no time making an impact.

On Oklahoma’s first drive of the game, the Sooners ran the ball on three straight plays — then Hurts got a chance to pass.

The senior quarterback unloaded and connected with his top target CeeDee Lamb on a 48-yard touchdown pass one minute into the game.

Brock Purdy knew going in that the Sooners would bring an elite offense that could put points up quickly.

“That offense is one of the best in the nation and we knew we couldn’t have any errors,” Purdy said.

On the very next drive for the Sooners, it would be Hurts’s feet that proved deadly for the Cyclones. Hurts faked the handoff to CeeDee Lamb on the end around and ran up the gut to put the Sooners up 14-0 early in the first. 

In the first quarter alone, Hurts was 7-9 for 127 yards with a touchdown and a rushing score. 

Hurts’s ability to scramble at any given moment showed up time and time again. Up the middle, in the open field, Hurts made the defense for Iowa State panic and look turned around. Hurts ended his night with 68 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. 

The Hurts and Lamb connection got to torment the Cyclones again in the first half, as Hurts threw a screen to Lamb that ended in a 68-yard touchdown for the Sooners. Missed tackles were ever present on Lamb’s second score.

Campbell said missing tackles against the talent of the Sooners is nothing new for any team.

“A lot of people miss a lot of tackles against these guys,” Campbell said. “They’re elite as elite can get in terms of athleticism.”

The successful half Hurts played didn’t come without some near disaster plays.

Hurts caught a string of luck to the Cyclones’ detriment, as three interceptions were dropped by Iowa State in the first half. Lawrence White, Greg Eisworth and Justin Bickham all had the ball in their hands and Hurts got lucky each time.

Despite the near turnovers, the junior put up a successful half of 232 yards, three passing and two rushing touchdowns.

The first half would be the end of Hurts’s success.

Hurts was shut down in the second half numbers-wise and threw an interception late in the fourth quarter. Hurts threw for 41 yards and no touchdowns and rushed for negative-seven yards on the ground in the second half.

White came up with the crucial interception and knew Iowa State had a tough time with the big plays that Hurts created in the first half.

From White’s eyes, he saw Hurts make big time throws and take advantage of poor tackling by the Cyclones.

“He’s a great quarterback, a great competitor and hats off to him,” White said. 

By the time the second half was rolling in the Cyclones favor, it was too late to overcome the massive hole Hurts and the Sooners created in the first half. Iowa State never held a lead after Hurts took control and White said the defense made strides in the fourth quarter but it wasn’t enough to win.

The missed tackles and big plays led to a 21-point deficit at halftime, but Campbell saw the defense respond as best as any team could.

“It was great to get two turnovers but the tough part was that there were some opportunities earlier in the game that we could have stole the momentum just a little bit faster,” Campbell said.