Oklahoma football: Sooner rebound begins at home with Iowa State

NORMAN, OK - OCTOBER 07: Wide receiver CeeDee Lamb
NORMAN, OK - OCTOBER 07: Wide receiver CeeDee Lamb /
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(Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images) /

Keys to an Oklahoma victory

Oklahoma is likely going to have to shake off some early rust after two weeks off since the last game action, but it will be important for the Sooners to get an early lead and force Iowa State to play from behind.

The Cyclones’ defensive strength is up front, which is why being able to establish the running game will be an important element in Oklahoma’s ability to keep out of third-and-long possessions and advance the ball offensively. Expect to see more involvement the next few weeks from running backs Kennedy Brooks and Trey Sermon.

The Sooners lead the nation, averaging 9.5 yards per play. They also rank No. 1 in the country in total offense (598.4 yards per game). Remarkably, they’ve been able to do that while averaging just 63 plays per game, seventh fewest among 130 FBS teams.

OU also leads the nation in yards per rush and yards per pass attempt, and with a plethora of offensive weapons to turn to, it makes it extremely difficult for a defense to key on any one player or part of the Sooners’ high-octane attack.

Sooner wide receiver CeeDee Lamb will draw most of the attention of the Iowa State secondary, and deservedly so. Lamb is Hurts’ primary receiving target. The junior wide receiver averages eight catches and 102 yards per game and leads the Big 12 with 11 touchdown receptions.

Despite the defensive breakdowns in the Kansas State game, the Sooners rank second in the Big 12 and 30th nationally in total defense, and 38th among FBS teams in pass defense, which most likely is where Iowa State will try to attack OU.

Look for defensive coordinator Alex Grinch to mix up blitz packages and defensive alignments and bring pressure on the Iowa State quarterback to try to disrupt his rhythm and force him into bad decisions. Takeaways have been a problem this season for the Sooner defense. It wouldn’t be surprising to see them get at least a couple in this game.