Going into the game it was clear that Iowa State would have to respond to the speed and athleticism of the Oklahoma Sooners. On Saturday night, the Cyclones just could not keep up ultimately losing 50-20 on the road and falling to 2-3 (1-1 in the Big 12).
It appeared in the first quarter that Iowa State would be able to weather the Sooner storm. Rocco Becht showed incredible poise and confidence after his second pass of the game was picked off by Billy Bowman and returned 44 yards for the game’s first points. Instead of hanging his head down or getting nervous, the redshirt freshman led the Cyclones 75 yards down the field connecting with his star receiver Jaylin Noel for a 51 yard touchdown.
In the early moments of the first half, the offenses were locked into a heavy-weight battle. Taking a punch and then throwing one. Oklahoma threw a haymaker at the end of the first quarter when Dillon Gabriel found Nic Anderson all alone for a 39 yard touchdown reception to put the Sooners up 21-10.
Matt Campbell spoke earlier in the week about the importance of being able to come back and not get down too quickly against the Sooners, especially when on the road. Iowa State responded with a one-play scoring drive to start the second quarter. Becht found Jayden Higgins on the slant route who showed off his speed going for a 67 yard touchdown.
This would be the last highlight of the Cyclone offense on the night.
Oklahoma was just too fast and too comfortable all night long. The Sooners made the number one defense in the Big 12 look unrecognizable. Iowa State’s secondary which has been the backbone of Jon Heacock’s defense, allowed 366 yards through the air and three touchdowns. This is along with missed assignments, miscommunication, and missed tackles. Jeremiah Cooper did intercept Gabriel with 1:30 left in the third, but the Cyclones were still down by 27 points.
Now, all the blame for Saturday’s blowout does not fall on the secondary. The defensive line needed to make Gabriel more uncomfortable in the pocket (that is a lot easier said than done). The star quarterback had all the time in the world when he dropped back to pass. Iowa State only managed to get two quarterback hits on the entire night.
Despite the score, Iowa State’s offense played one of their more balanced games of the season. Becht and JJ Kohl (who came in for four passes) combined for 202 passing yards and a 51% completion rate. The run game that had struggled finally got their legs under themselves tonight rushing for 150 yards with an average of 5.6 yards a carry which is their best of the season thus far. Becht and the young players on both offense and defense continue to show promise for years to come.