What will it take to beat Iowa State on the road this weekend? J.R. has his thoughts in this edition of his 7 Points to Ponder,
1. The first quarter. Win it. Score first. Begin to erode, early, the Cyclones hopes of another major victory for their program.
2. 15 yards rushing. The Sooners net rushing total vs. Notre Dame. Unacceptable. OU became one dimensional against the Irish which makes good teams ordinary. Being ordinary won’t win in Ames.
3. Turnovers. Cause them and don’t make them. Sooner defense is due to get back on track in creating game changing turnovers that will silence a rabid crowd looking to emotionally invest in their team. Silence is golden.
4. Sooner psyche. Last year some might have had concerns for a Sooner team coming off a headline making, high profile loss before the biggest crowd ever in Norman and over 8 million TV viewers. This team has more leadership and unity. However, one, cold, hard fact remains, if the Sooners come out flat then getting a win at ISU will be Government Mule tough. I was in ISU’s neighborhood in April and they were talking about this Saturday’s game then.
5. Offensive Line. Somewhat banged up but this group dominating for four quarters brings us back to a (the?) significant key to this game. The big money question; Can OU’s big, BBQ eaters create enough holes in a tough, overachieving Cyclone defense front 7 for OU to successfully run the ball which will then facilitate a viable play action passing attack?
6. Big Plays. If ISU makes them, their capacity crowd will be energized and the Cyclones will overflow with optimism. The Sooners need some successful, down field shots (Saunders, Stills, Shepherd, etc) notwithstanding getting something out of the kick return game (Justin Brown).
7. Coaching. ISU HBC Paul Rhodes is a master motivator. He’s orchestrated upsets of Nebraska, Texas and Oklahoma State since he’s been in Ames. Why wouldn’t ISU perceive that OU is coming in vulnerable and ripe for the picking? Why wouldn’t Rhodes have his kids believing that they are ‘due’ considering that ISU has one win over OU in the past 42 years. Why wouldn’t Rhodes have his team ready for a street fight? The answers are obvious.
The Iowa State game worries me more than, say, the Texas game. ISU lost to K-State by 6 and the Cyclones play great defense especially in Ames. This game won’t be pretty but I’m thinking that Oklahoma wins by 9 late in the 4th.
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