A 42-21 lead with 3:47 to go in the third quarter seemed to put the game in hand for Oklahoma but, with 24 seconds left in the game, Oklahoma’s defense found itself needing to stop a 2-point try from a resurgent Iowa State to avoid an epic collapse not only to its seemingly-well-in-hand win, but to its College Football Playoff hopes.
Before we tell you what happened, you have to know how we got there.
Trailing 35-14 at the half, took the ball to open the third quarter and rolled 75 yards in eight plays — six of them runs — to pull within 35-21. The Cyclones then forced a three-and-out to get the ball with a chance to make it a one-score game, but Oklahoma then rolled 97 yards in 10 plays, and when Kennedy Brooks broke free for a 48-yard touchdown run with 3:47 to go in the third quarter, Oklahoma was back up 42-21 and the game was back in comfortable territory.
But the Cyclones would not relent. They went 69 yards in eight plays, scoring on a 3-yard toss from Brock Purdy to Chase Allen on the first play of the fourth quarter.
CeeDee Lamb, who was otherwise excellent throughout the game, fumbled the ball to Iowa State at the Cyclones’ 32-yard line two plays after that, and Iowa State slowly, methodically drove into scoring territory with a chance to pull within 42-35. Knowing a field goal would not get the job done, Matt Campbell went for a 4th-and-10 at the OU 19 with 10:09 to play, which was picked up on a 10-yard strike from Purdy to Deshaunte Jones. However, when Purdy’s 4th-and-goal pass from the 13 sailed incomplete with 7:37 to go, it seemed the comeback effort was dead.
But Iowa State still wouldn’t die. The Cyclones forced a punt, then breezed 80 yards in four plays, pulling within 42-35 on a 33-yard toss from Purdy to Sean Shaw, Jr. with 3:35 left.
Oklahoma’s offense, suddenly gone cold, ran for two and one yards on first and second down on an “all right, let’s put this thing away” drive.. and then, on 3rd-and-7, Jalen Hurts scrambled and tossed an interception to Iowa State’s Lawrence Wright, who raced the ball to OU’s 35 with 2:30 left in the game.
And then, with 24 seconds left, Purdy lofted a ball to Norman native Charlie Kolar for a 13-yard touchdown, pulling a game that was 42-21 to start the quarter was now 42-41. Campbell elected to go for two when Oklahoma, going on five consecutive games without a takeaway, finally got one when Parnell Motley wrestled the ball away from La'Michael Pettway to secure the win.
No. 9 Oklahoma’s 42-41 win kept the Sooners (8-1, 5-1 Big 12) in the Playoff hunt, avoided OU’s first back-to-back regular season losses since 1999 and avoided a 2-game home losing streak to Iowa State (5-4, 3-3 Big 12), who stunned the Sooners in Norman in 2017.
Before the near-collapse, Oklahoma raced to a lead behind the heroics of Jalen Hurts.
The senior accounted for all five of OU’s first half touchdowns, finding Lamb for scores of 48 and 63 yards, Trejan Bridges for a 7-yard score, and running in from eight and two yards out. For the game, he went 18-of-26 for 273 yards with three scores and a pick while rushing 22 times for 68 yards and two scores. Brooks, rarely used in the loss to K-State, rushed 15 times for 132 yards and a score, while Lamb caught eight passes for 167 yards.
Purdy finished the game 19-of-30 for 282 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions, but it’s the one pass that doesn’t show up in the box score that will stick in his mind whenever he thinks of this game.