Oklahoma gets by Iowa State 34-24. What does it all mean?
Oklahoma 34, Iowa State 24: What Does It All Mean?
– Here’s the problem, Oklahoma. At No. 14 in the first College Football Playoff rankings, and with two losses, you need to make the CFP committee want you. You have to dazzle. You have to look like one of the must-have, sure-thing top four teams in the country. Just being the Big 12 champion at 10-2 isn’t going to get it done.
Of course, head coach Bob Stoops will be more than happy to just take the win on the road on a Thursday night, but the offense stalled in the second half and the look on the iPads won’t look so great. A double-digit win is a double-digit win, but it wasn’t a wow moment.
– However, speaking of wow, Oklahoma WR Dede Westbrook continues his run to the Biletnikoff. Too good as a return man – with a hiccup-quick move on the way to a 63-yard kickoff return – and with seven catches for 131 yards and a 65-yard score, he continues to be brilliant.
Baker Mayfield was solid. He threw an early pick, and he took his share of hits, but he completed 25-of-34 passes for 328 yards and four scores, spreading around his touchdown passes to four different targets including one pass play to …
– Dimitri Flowers. He not only stepped in and stepped up as the Sooner main back with Samaje Perine out hurt and Joe Mixon suspended, but he did exactly what the team needed him to do. While he wasn’t flashy, he was the epitome of a downhill runner behind a defense day from the line, running for 115 yards on 22 carries, and catching three passes for 34 yards and a score. OU knows how to crank up the rushing production, and even though Mayfield was great, he got the help he needed.
– Iowa State was plucky, but it just doesn’t have the depth quite yet. Jacob Park wasn’t able to push the ball down the field, but he did an okay job of dinking and dunking, while Joel Lanning stepped in to throw a bit of a curveball as the rushing option – again. Without RB Mike Warren, though, the offense is missing its star to work around and make the defense worry a bit.
– So, what does it all mean? The Sooners only have three games to go, and again, they’ve got to look fantastic. With a few extra days now to rest up, they should be ready to roll through the nasty finishing kick against the three other top teams in the conference – Baylor, at West Virginia, and Oklahoma State. If they can blow up in those three games, in terms of the College Football Playoff look and feel, the sluggish win over the Cyclones won’t matter.
Iowa State might be on a five-game losing streak, but it’s been really, really close to being a whole lot better record-wise. Three of the four losses were by a touchdown or less, and this loss didn’t look all that bad considering Oklahoma is the best team in the Big 12. With Kansas up next on the road, that’s got to be a win. Texas Tech follows the Jayhawks, and at home, that’s got to be a win. Throw in the West Virginia game to close out, and the Cyclones need to show something positive to take into the second year under Matt Campbell.