Sooners Fall to Cyclones
NORMAN – Don't blame it on looking ahead to next week's showdown against Red River rival Texas in Dallas. Don't blame it on coming off a bye week. Don't blame it on the 11 a.m. kickoff. And don't blame it on overlooking Iowa State.
Oklahoma football coach Lincoln Riley said poor overall execution is to blame for his team's 38-31 loss to the Cyclones at Gaylord Family — Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
The Sooners' downfall came in multiple forms: lethal penalties, a key turnover that swung momentum, poor pass coverages, poor tackling, plus injuries to key players, including sophomore running back Abdul Adams, freshman wide receiver CeeDee Lamb and strong safety Steven Parker.
The shocking outcome snapped the nation's longest active winning streak at 14 straight. It also ended OU's 18-game winning streak against the Cyclones, which was its longest active winning streak against any opponent. Also gone is the Sooners' 17-game winning streak in the Big 12 Conference.
Entering Saturday's game, OU was 45-1-1 in its previous 47 meetings against Iowa State. Since 1961, the Cyclones' only win against the Sooners had been a 33-31 victory in 1990 in Norman. Saturday was the Sooners' first loss to Iowa State in the Big 12 era (13-1).
Riley said the morning start and the Cyclones being sandwiched between a bye week and the Longhorns played no role in the loss. "I thought the bye week was really good and our energy early in the game was good again," Riley explained. "We started out fast offensively and we had a couple of stops. That's momentum."
Despite being without starting quarterback Jacob Park, who did not make the trip for unspecified personal reasons, the Cyclones still managed 368 passing yards and averaged 18.4 yards per completion.
"Some of the same old scars kind of repeated (themselves) again and we didn't play assignment-sound football," OU defensive coordinator/outside linebackers coach Mike Stoops said. "They had two screens for touchdowns (of 28 and 57 yards). That's inexcusable and that's our fault and that's what hurts. (It) should've been defended better."
Like Baylor two weeks ago, the Cyclones rolled off 21 unanswered points. "Two games in a row we get to that point where we can separate a little bit and we obviously did not do that," Riley said.
The Sooners were able to overcome their opponent's comeback in Waco, but not at home.
"I think it's a sense of complacency," OU senior quarterback Baker Mayfield said. "We've been talking about it. It's not like we haven't addressed it. We've let teams back in games and give them hope. … When you have a chance to bury a team, you have to take care of it. The great teams take care of that business."
The game flipped when freshman running back Trey Sermon fumbled at the Iowa State 6-yard line when he appeared headed for the end zone that would have given the Sooners a 31-16 lead with 5:35 left in the third quarter. The Cyclones (3-2, 1-1) responded by going 94 yards in seven plays, which included converting a third-and-14 from their own 2-yard line with a 35-yard completion.
"Defensively, the biggest thing that showed up to me is that we had two critical, critical penalties that were drive- and game-changing type penalties," Riley said of personal foul flags. "I'm just very disappointed with our effort tackling. When you let teams hang in there like that and the teams make some plays and get a little momentum, then you can get beat and we did."
The Sooners (4-1, 1-1) play Texas in Dallas next Saturday at 2:30 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.