Iowa State (1-3) at (21) Oklahoma State (3-1) (ET)
GAME NOTES: The Iowa State Cyclones play only their second road game of the season this Saturday, as they challenge the 21st-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys at Boone Pickens Stadium in a Big 12 Conference showdown.
Iowa State has lost three of its first four games, with the lone win coming in a 30-17 verdict at bitter rival Iowa on Sept. 13. Last week, Paul Rhoads' club hosted nationally-ranked Baylor, and fell behind early in what turned out to be a 49-28 setback. Following this clash, ISU will play four of its remaining seven bouts in Ames, including a Homecoming clash with Toledo on Oct. 11.
Oklahoma State dropped a 37-31 decision to defending national champion Florida State in the season opener, but has posted double-digit wins in three straight games since. Last week's Big 12 opener versus Texas Tech resulted in a 45-35 victory, and was the third bout in a season-long four-game homestand for coach Mike Gundy's crew. Following this tilt, OSU will hit the road for a pair (at Kansas, at TCU), and then will play only two more games in Stillwater the rest of the way.
Oklahoma State leads the all-time series with Iowa State by a 27-18-3 margin, and the Cowboys won last year's tussle, 58-27. The Cyclones last came out on top in 2011 in a 37-31 final.
Iowa State simply couldn't keep up with the high-flying Baylor Bears last weekend, falling behind 35-7 at halftime, and never coming within three touchdowns the rest of the way. Sam B. Richardson did what he could to keep the Cyclones moving ahead, rushing for 99 yards and a TD, while completing 17- of-39 passes for 212 yards and two scores. Jarvis West led the receivers with five catches, but totaled just 37 yards. In the end, ISU amassed only 339 yards compared to a whopping 601 for Baylor.
The Cyclones were battered into submission last week, yielding more than six yards per play to a BU offense that finished with 244 rushing yards and another 357 through the air. As busy as most of the Iowa State defenders were, Jovohn Miller and Luke Knott were the busiest, logging 17 and 15 tackles, respectively. A lack of impact plays allowed the Bears to run their offense to maximum effectiveness, as the Cyclones were credited with only two TFL and one takeaway.
A consistent lack of production on both sides of the ball has been an issue for Iowa State this season, as the offense accounts for just 22.5 points and 312 yards per game, while the defense permits 33 points and 463.2 yards per contest.
Richardson is a 61 percent passer, but he averages just 200 ypg while throwing nearly as many interceptions (four) as he has touchdowns (five). He is also the team's leading ground gainer with 218 yards and a score on 49 carries, while Aaron Wimberly has only 119 yards on seven fewer totes. Wimberly does have three of the team's five rushing TDs. Jarvis West (20) is one of four players with double-digit receptions, but no one has more than 190 receiving yards (Allen Lazard).
While obviously not pleased with the outcome, Rhoads was able to find some positives on which to draw from last week's loss.
"I'm very pleased with the way our guys came out and played in the second half and quite honestly pleased with the way we finished up the first quarter." Rhoads said. "One of our goals was to start positively and we did that. Being 14-7 at the end of the first quarter gave us the opportunity to compete in this ball game and we didn't follow that up in the second quarter."
In only his second start in place of the injured J.W. Walsh, Daxx Garman threw for 370 yards and four touchdowns to lead Oklahoma State to its 10-point win over Texas Tech last week. Garman, who hit the mark on 17-of-31 pass attempts, added a rushing score but was picked off twice and sacked a couple of times as well. Marcell Ateman led the receivers with six grabs for 130 yards, while James Washington finished with three catches for 87 yards and two TDs. Desmond Roland spearheaded the team's rushing attack with 86 yards and a score on 23 carries.
The Oklahoma State defense did a fine job against the run last week, but had some difficulty limiting the aerial pursuits of the Red Raiders, and as a result permitted 506 total yards, 394 coming in the passing game. Texas Tech scored all five of its TDs through the air, but the Cowboys picked off three passes and recorded three sacks. Ryan Simmons and Seth Jacobs both finished with 10 tackles in the game, while Jimmy Bean logged 3.0 TFL, including a pair of sacks.
The Big 12 Conference is chock full of potent offensive teams, and the Cowboys are certainly one of them. Half of the team's in the league are averaging roughly 40 points per game or more, with OSU checking in at 39.8 ppg. The team generates 462.2 ypg, getting 171.8 ypg on the ground and 290.5 ypg through the air. The Pokes have scored nine TDs each way.
Garman has thrown for 929 yards, eight TDs and only two INTs, all while no player has more than a dozen catches. Washington has only four receptions, but three of them have been for scores. Roland paces the rushing attack with 209 yards and four TDs.
The Cowboys have allowed a total of 108 points in four games (27 ppg), but they have been pretty strong against the run (111.5 ypg). They are allowing the opposition to convert only 31 percent of third-down opportunities, and Simmons is high man with his 31 tackles. Bean and Emmanuel Ogbah have combined for 6.5 of the team's 13 sacks, while both Jacobs and Ashton Lampkin have two picks apiece.
Gundy knows his team dodged a bullet last week, but is nonetheless proud of the effort put forth by the young group he has assembled.
"As always, it was a good win. It's never easy through Big 12 play. I mentioned this a couple of weeks ago, but every game is going to be like this for us with so many young players. We've got a lot of areas to work on."
The Cyclones lack the firepower to ride along with the Cowboys, particularly in what will be a very hostile environment. If Garman remains composed and plays relatively error-free football, this game will likely be over halftime.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Oklahoma State 41, Iowa State 14