No. 21 Iowa State had a chance to control its own destiny in the race for a spot in the Big 12 championship game but suffered a disappointing loss at West Virginia last week. The Cyclones will try to bounce back by securing their third win over a top-15 opponent when they host No. 15 Oklahoma State on Saturday.
Iowa State, which knocked off Oklahoma and TCU during a four-game winning streak to put itself in first place in the Big 12, could not muster the same effort at West Virginia last week in a 20-16 setback but quickly turned the page. “These kids keep grinding away, and I really appreciate that about them,” Cyclones coach Matt Campbell told reporters. “I expect nothing less. They were really good (the day after the loss), and I think (they are) continuing to grow and understand what it takes to truly be successful.” The Cowboys are coming off their own setback after a wild Bedlam showdown against rival Oklahoma saw them fall 62-52. “The competitive nature of this sport, it’s difficult when you have games like that,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy told reporters. “There are a lot of emotions involved. There’s nobody in this stadium that wants to compete and win more than me, but I’ve been in this long enough to know that when we get what we’re asking for out of our players, we as a staff have to have respect for that. We just came up a little bit short.”
TV: Noon, ET, ABC. LINE: Oklahoma State -6.5
ABOUT OKLAHOMA STATE (7-2, 4-2 Big 12): The Cowboys came away from the Bedlam loss feeling confident in the way they played and confident in their leadership moving forward. “I think leadership is going to be huge this week,” center Brad Lundblade told reporters after the loss. “It takes more leadership after you lose than it does after you win, honestly. We have great leadership and all different types of leaders in all of the different positions groups, so I have no doubt that we’ll be ready to go next week.” One leader is quarterback Mason Rudolph, who threw for 448 yards and five TDs in the loss and guides an offense second in the FBS in scoring average at 45.3 points.
ABOUT IOWA STATE (6-3, 4-2): The Cyclones are going to need to generate more offense to keep up with the Cowboys and they failed to reach 20 points in either of their last two contests. Senior Kyle Kempt, who took over at quarterback after a loss to Texas in the Big 12 opener and guided the team to wins over Oklahoma and TCU, is completing 66.9 percent of his passes with 10 TDs and three interceptions but only found the end zone once last week. Kempt and the offense are hoping for a bounce-back performance from the Iowa State defense, which was carved up for 524 yards at West Virginia after limiting TCU to 307 in the previous contest.
1. Iowa State OL Josh Knipfel (ankle) is questionable.
2. Oklahoma State RB Justice Hill ran for 228 yards last week and collected 100 or more yards rushing in five of six Big 12 games.
3. The Cowboys took the last five in the series, including two at the Cyclones.
PREDICTION: Oklahoma State 45, Iowa State 35