No. 5 Oklahoma (3-0, 1-0 Big 12) was finally given a stiff test after two easy wins to start the year, but Iowa State (0-2, 0-1 Big 12) was unable to pull a second straight upset over the Sooners. Kyler Murray passed for 348 yards and 3 touchdowns and rushed for a team-high 77 yards to help Oklahoma stay ahead of the Cyclones, 37-27, in the Big 12 opener for both schools.
Iowa State cut Oklahoma’s lead to 34-27 with a field goal at the end of an 83-yard drive in the fourth quarter. Murray then got to work on leading an important drive for Oklahoma, beginning with a 15-yard run and running for 15 yards once again two plays later. Although the drive did not end with a touchdown, a 42-yard field goal was essentially the final nail in the coffin for Iowa State’s upset bid on this day. Iowa State quarterback Zeb Noland had a pass picked off on the ensuing drive, which allowed Oklahoma to run out the bulk of the remaining 1:11 in the game.
Noland completed 25 of 36 passes for 360 yards and two touchdowns, and Hakeem Butler was a breakout star for the Cyclones with five catches for 174 yards and two touchdowns. But it was not enough to overcome Murray’s performance. Sooners receiver Marquise Brown caught nine passes for 191 yards and a touchdown as well.
Playing their first game without standout running back Rodney Anderson, who suffered a season-ending injury last week, the Sooners found the production they needed with Murray and running backs Trey Sermon and Marcelias Sutton. The two running backs charged the offense on their second possession of the third quarter with Sutton hurdling a defender for some extra yardage and Sermon breaking loose from some poor tackling by Iowa State’s defense for a touchdown. Sutton had left the game at one point with what looked like it might be a serious leg injury, but he returned to the game later despite needing assistance off the field.
Oklahoma returns home next week for one last non-conference game on their schedule. The Sooners host Army in what will be the first meeting with the service academy since 1961. Oklahoma returns to Big 12 play the following weekend at home against Baylor.
Iowa State also jumps back to non-conference play next week with a home game against Akron. It is the second game of a home-and-home series that started last year with Iowa State winning 41-14 at Akron.
The first two weeks were a breeze for Oklahoma, but the Big 12 opener on the road against Iowa State is proving to be a bit more of a contest. Oklahoma leads Iowa State 24-10 at halftime in Ames, with the Sooners looking to score revenge against the only team to hand them a loss in the regular season a year ago. Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray has been locked in by completing 13-of-17 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns. The third touchdown pass came in the final seconds of the half to Myles Tease to pad the lead right before the break.
Oklahoma took early control of the game with a 10-0 advantage after the first quarter. The highlight of the first quarter was a 75-yard touchdown pass from Murray to Marquise Brown, who used speed to get by two Iowa State defenders and race to the end zone on a catch deep over the middle.
It took a couple of drives for Iowa State to get things going, but a recovered fumble on Oklahoma’s first play after the Cyclones got on the board early in the second quarter with a field goal, immediately led to a tie ballgame. After Murray completed a catch to a wide-open Grant Calcaterra, Calcaterra ran a few more yards down the field but fumbled the football away around midfield. Richard Bowens III picked up the loose ball sitting on the ground and Zeb Noland connected with Hakeem Butler on Iowa State’s first play from scrimmage after the turnover. Butler broke a few tackles to keep the play alive and he ended up in the end zone as a result of the fantastic effort.
Oklahoma starting linebacker Curtis Bolton left the game in the second quarter for an injury. But he was not out for long. Bolton returned to the game after missing just one play on defense.
The Sooners are playing their first game without running back Rodney Anderson (season-ending injury last week). Murray ha sled the Oklahoma running game with 43 rushing yards, while sophomore Trey Sermon has rushed for 30 yards so far. But, the passing game has been working quite well for Oklahoma.
After getting banged up in a road loss at Iowa this weekend, Iowa State quarterback Kyle Kempt is day-to-day according to Cyclones head coach Matt Campbell. Fortunately, Campbell said, the injury is not expected to be a long-term injury to Iowa State’s starting quarterback.
“We certainly dodged a big bullet,” Campbell said when talking to the media on Monday. Campbell suggested he hopes to know more on whether or not Kempt will be able to play in Week 3 after Wednesday’s practice this week.
Kempt was initially feared to have suffered a possible MCL injury after being knocked out of Saturday’s game, but that does not appear to be the case. This is certainly good news for Iowa State as they begin to prepare for this weekend’s Big 12 opener against Oklahoma. The Sooners are dealing with their own injury concern after losing running back Rodney Anderson to a season-ending injury this weekend.
Iowa State trainers and Campbell will monitor Kempt as the week progresses, but Zeb Noland will have to prepare to be the starter for the Cyclones in the event Kempt is ruled to be unavailable this weekend.