When the Oklahoma defense takes the field on Saturday, it will face an Iowa State offense that features the 68th-best passing offense and 81st-best rushing offense in the nation. Combined, they make up the No. 87 total offense, averaging 369.4 yards per game.
"It leaves us here at Iowa State, a team here which is coming off another win,” said Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops. “You look at their team and they're playing really well; they beat TCU earlier in the year. They played Kansas State tough up there in Ames. They're a team who always plays excellent defense and they're doing a nice job. It'll be another big challenge but I feel strongly that our players' attitudes will be great. They want to push forward and keep working for all the tough Big 12 games in front of us."
Quarterback Steele Jantz is completing 67 percent of his passes with 12 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Wide receiver Aaron Horne leads the team with 34 catches for 316 yards, while Josh Lenz and Ernst Brun each have four receiving touchdowns. Shontrelle Johnson and James White have each rushed for over 300 yards.
"They've mixed and matched their quarterbacks,” said Oklahoma Defensive Coordinator Mike Stoops. “They've been in and out of the lineup. I thought the other kid started the two games earlier. I think he threw five touchdowns. That's a great day for anybody. They are throwing the ball pretty well. Some of them weren't real contested throws. We are certainly aware of the way they spread the field and stretch the defense out. We'll have to have very tight coverage Saturday when we go up there."
Iowa State’s success on offense is a direct correlation to the play of its quarterback. After two weeks of subpar play, Jantz put everything together last week and the offense clicked like it hadn’t all season as ISU racked up 541 total yards.
Wide receiver Aaron Horne leads the team with 34 catches for 316 yards, while Josh Lenz and Ernst Brun each have four receiving touchdowns. Shontrelle Johnson and James White have each rushed for over 300 yards.
"They are more of a spread with three or four wides, said Mike Stoops. “They've shown two tight ends on occasion. We'll have to be prepared for it. There's always carryover. You have to see how the carryover fits into the plan next week. Part of our job is to see things that we didn't do well and determine how Iowa State will use that to their advantage.
“I think our defense has been pretty fool proof for what we've seen week in and week out. We don't have to adjust much and that's the good thing. That part really relaxes our players. Our players our very confident and comfortable in what we are doing. We don't have to make major changes week in and week out. They can rely on the fundamentals that have gotten them this far and we'll continue to play that way.”
Though Oklahoma is coming off a loss, it is worth remembering the Sooners remain in the middle of a very impressive three-game conference winning streak, one in which OU has outgunned Big 12 foes 1,454-958, outscored Big 12 foes 156-48 and enjoyed a plus-six turnover differential. The Sooners have also been fast starters over that run, outscoring opponents 98-15 in the first half.
Oklahoma boasts the No. 17 defense in the nation through seven games, giving up 316.1 yards of offense per contest. In addition, the 17.4 points per game allowed is 16th in the country. OU’s passing defense ranks 11th in the country, yielding just 167.0 yards per game. OU has forced nine turnovers in the past four games, with seven coming off interceptions and two via fumble recoveries.
"They responded well,” said Oklahoma Defensive Ends Coach Bobby Jack Wright. “We've got a pretty mature team that understands a work ethic and understands that whether win or lose, they have to come back on Monday and go back to work. Regardless of the outcome of the game, had we won Saturday, we would have to come back and do the same thing, go to work and prepare for the next opponent.
"Our guys have handled it well and they understand that it was a great football team that we played Saturday and it was a good football game. It just didn't go our way. But, there's a lot of games left and we have an opportunity to win them if we prepare and go on down the road."
While the Cyclones may have some success early, the Sooners will take control and put away Iowa State 35-14. It’s an early kick-off in Ames, the Sooners and Cyclones get going at 11:00 a.m.