Oklahoma State Cowboys Game Notes
Oklahoma State Cowboys (6-2) (3-1)
1. The Cowboys are coming in off a 41-14 loss to #2 Texas. The defense actually played well in the loss, giving up just 275 total yards.
2. QB Zac Robinson threw 4 interceptions against the Longhorns and two of them went all the way back for touchdowns. Robinson leads the Big 12 in passing efficiency with a 147.48 rating.
3. Top RB Kendall Hunter is questionable for this game. Hunter came back last week, but only carried once. Keith Toston has done well in his absence rushing for 85 yards/game, which is good for 3rd in the Big 12.
4. Quinn Sharp is one of the top punters in the nation, 45.3 yard average. The Cowboys are 3nd overall in net punting (39 yds/punt).
5. The NCAA has ruled WR Dez Bryant out for the remainder of the season. Hubert Anyiam has been Robinson’s new favorite target with 30 catches for 368 yards and 2 touchdowns.
6. Oklahoma State is holding opponents to less than 100 yards a game on the ground, but they give up yards through the air (244 yds/game).
7. The offense is very balanced, rushing for 179 and passing for 221 each game. The 400 yards/game in total offense is middle of the pack in the Big12, they are a little better on scoring offense, averaging 34 points/game good for 4th in the conference.
8. The Pokes have given up the least amount of sacks in the country. Robinson was pressured heavily last week, which contributed to the four picks, he would have been better off taking a few sacks.
Iowa State Game Notes
Iowa State Cyclones (5-4) (2-3)
1. It looks like Iowa State will finally have the first string offense back this week. QB Austen Arnaud, who has sat out the last two games with a bruised hand is expected to go. The same is true for Center Reggie Stephens, who is just 10 days removed from an appendectomy. Alexander Robinson‘s groin is finally starting to heal and he should be more effective on Saturday. The return of the starters couldn’t have come sooner, the Cyclones have managed just two touchdowns the past two weeks.
2. ISU has ran the ball consistently well this year, averaging 200 yards per game, tops in the Big 12. Alexander Robinson leads the league in rushing with 102 yards each contest despite missing some action in each of the last 4 weeks.
3. The defense took a step back last week, giving up over 500 yards and missing 20 tackles. The D concedes huge chunks of yards each week, but the Cyclones are allowing just 21 points a game, 4th best in the Big 12.
4. Jesse Smith continues to lead the conference in tackles with an even 100 tackles on the season.
5. ISU is sitting on 5 wins and needs one win in the last three games to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2005.
6. Leonard Johnson set an NCAA record last year at Okie St. with 319 kick return yards. Johnson got dinged up last week and was replaced at kick returner by Josh Lenz, who took advantage of the opportunity with two nice returns.
7. Cyclone fans finally got the opportunity to see Bo Williams last week and he didn’t disappoint, going for 44 yards on his first carry. The fans also got to see why he isn’t playing more, when he couldn’t get lined up correctly on the very next play. It was great to see the potential is there for Bo to be an exciting running back in this system.
8. Michael Brandtner and the Cyclone punt coverage team continue to excel, ranking 2nd in the league in net punting with a 40 yard average.
9. Iowa State is second in the conference in turnover margin at +9.
10. The Cyclone offensive line continues to protect the passer giving up just 6 sacks in nine weeks. On the opposite side of the ball the Clones are struggling to get pressure, with only 12 sacks all season, last in the Big 12.
11. Iowa State has defeated Oklahoma State the last two times they visited Jack Trice Stadium, 28-14 in 2001 and 37-10 in 2005.
Keys to Cyclone Victory
1. Getting the Offense Back on Track – The good news is the starting unit is back together, the bad news is they haven’t played together since the Baylor game, four weeks ago. The offense was just starting to get rolling at the time, putting up an average of 483 yards against Kansas and Baylor. The last two weeks they have averaged just 282 yards/game in total offense. The offense needs to get back around the 400 yard level to have a chance to win.
2. +2 on Turnovers– Iowa State isn’t good enough right now to beat a top 20 team without winning the turnover battle by at least two.
3. Discipline on Defense – The Cyclone defense was a tired and beat up group and it showed on the field at Texas A&M. Iowa State needs to tackle better and find ways to get off the field on third down. Mike Gundy likes to go for it on fourth down, so the D better be prepared to play all four downs.
Players to Watch
1. Austen Arnaud – The junior quarterback has to be itching to get on the field Saturday. Austen was just starting to get comfortable in Tom Herman’s offense when the injury occurred. The Cyclones have missed his toughness and can’t-be-stopped attitude while he was out. The Cowboys are giving up 244 yards passing each week, so Austen has an opportunity to make a triumphant return.
2. Christopher Lyle – The Cyclones can’t come in expecting to get 5 sacks against a defense that has allowed just 4 all year, but Iowa State does need to put some heat on Zac Robinson. Texas got after him and it resulted in five turnovers. Christopher Lyle is the guy that can get to the QB.
3. A.J. Klein – the true freshman is making the most of his limited opportunities. Klein forced a fumble on a kick return last week that ISU recovered, but the offense didn’t convert the turnover into points. The Cyclones have made an impact on special teams the last three weeks (blocked punt, fake punt, forced fumble). A.J. and the special teams boys need to come up big again this week.
The forecast for Ames, Iowa on Saturday calls for mid sixties and light winds. Now don’t get me wrong I like nice weather as much as the next guy, but deep inside I was hoping for mid twenties and blustery winds. When I saw the schedule, I thought we might finally get a team from the Big 12 South on a nasty day, but it doesn’t look like it will happen.
The Cyclones and Cowboys were both blown out a week ago, which team will bounce back from the loss better? Iowa State has to be excited to get back home for the first time in three weeks. With a win, the Cyclones put themselves in great position to win the Big 12 North. The loss to Texas last week pretty much knocked Okie State out of the title chase in the South. The Cowboys may be looking past the Cyclones, with a big matchup against Texas Tech next week.
The Pokes are doing a great job of stopping the run, but Iowa State has moved the ball on the ground against top defenses all year,and I think that trend continues. If Austen Arnaud and the Cyclone receivers are on the same page early, then ISU has a great chance to win this game. Oklahoma State has a balanced offense and should be able to move the ball against an ISU team that gives up yards a plenty. The key will be for the Cyclones to create turnovers and force field goal opportunities in the red zone. I originally picked the Cyclones to upset the Cowboys, but I changed my mind when ISU went and got the upset two weeks ago at Nebraska. I think the offense comes out a little rusty and the Cowboys jump on top early, the Cyclones will rally, but fall just short in the end.
Oklahoma State Cowboys 31 Iowa State Cyclones 29
Iowa State vs Oklahoma State Week – Player Interviews
Josh Lenz and Marquis Hamilton – Cyclones.com
Mike O’Connell and Darius Darks – Cyclones.com
Austen Arnaud and Reggie Stephens – Cyclones.com