Game Primer: OU at Iowa State

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma

5 Oklahoma
OklahomaUCLA
Iowa State
Saturday, Sept. 15 / 11 a.m. CT / Owen Field 

OPENING KICK

• No. 5/5 Oklahoma plays its first road game of 2018 and goes for its 17th straight true road win when it takes on Iowa State on Saturday at 11 a.m. CT at Jack Trice Stadium (61,500) in Ames. The contest will be televised nationally by ABC with Dave Pasch, Greg McElroy and Tom Luginbill announcing.

• The Sooners are making their 407th all-time appearance in the AP poll's top five this week, more than any other program. That means OU has been in the top five in 36 percent of all AP polls (1,138 total polls) which started in 1936. This is OU's 12th appearance in the AP top 5 since the start of 2017.

• Oklahoma owns a 74-6-2 (.915) all-time record against Iowa State and is 36-2-1 (.936) vs. the Cyclones in Ames. In the Big 12 era, the Sooners hold a 13-1 series advantage (6-0 in Ames).

• OU's .915 series winning percentage against Iowa State is the best by one FBS program against another (minimum of 50 games played).

• Oklahoma has won 25 of its last 26 games against Big 12 opponents dating back to the 2015 season, with its only loss coming at the hands of Iowa State on Oct. 7 last year (the Cyclones beat the No. 3 Sooners 38-31 in Norman). Fifteen of those 25 victories have been by at least 15 points, and seven by at least 35 points.

• Since the start of the 1999 season (which was Bob Stoops' first as OU head coach), the Sooners are 12-1 against Iowa State, with all 12 wins coming by double digits. The average score in those 13 contests has been 39-12. In OU's six road games against ISU during that period (the Sooners have won all six), it has outscored the Cyclones 229-82 (average of 38-14).

• OU is coming off a 49-21 home win over UCLA on Saturday in a game that saw the Sooners lead 42-7 in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Kyler Murray threw for a career-high 306 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for a team-high 69 yards and two more scores. CeeDee Lamb made seven receptions for 146 yards and a TD, and returned a punt 66 yards. OU's disruptive defense produced six sacks and 12 tackles for loss.

• After its Sept. 1 season opener against South Dakota State was canceled due to weather, Iowa State played its first game of 2018 on Saturday at Iowa and lost 13-3. The Cyclones only allowed 276 yards, but they gained just 188 (3.4 per play). ISU entered the year returning 65.4 percent of its passing yards, 90.2 percent of its rushing yards, 55.8 percent of its touchdowns and 45.8 percent of its receiving yards from last year's team that finished 8-5 overall and tied for fourth place in the Big 12.

• The Sooners have scored at least 30 points in 25 of their last 26 games (29 in the other). They have won 24 of those 26 contests. OU's 24-2 record since Oct. 1, 2016, is the nation's second best (Alabama is 25-2).

FIVE KEY STORYLINES

• Iowa State's only two wins against the Sooners since 1961 came in 1990 (33-31) and last season (38-31), both in Norman. OU has won 23 straight games in Ames and hasn't lost there since 1960 (10-6 score). ISU's six overall wins in the series have come by 1, 2, 4, 6, 7 and 13 points (average of 5.5 points). Its 13-point victory came in the first meeting in 1928 in Ames.

• Oklahoma's 16-game true road winning streak is the longest active streak in the country and second longest in school history (OU won 24 in a row from 1953 to 1958). Wisconsin (nine) is the program with the second-longest current streak, while no other program has a current streak longer than six games. The Sooners' last true road loss came almost four full years ago (37-33 at TCU on Oct. 4, 2014). During the 16-game streak, the Sooners have outscored opponents 784-436 (49-27 average) and have outgained them 9,267 yards to 6,611 (579-413 average). OU has scored at least 31 points in all 16 games, and seven of the wins have come against top-25 teams.

• OU has also won a record 14 straight Big 12 road games, breaking the previous league mark of 13 consecutive league road wins by Texas from 2003 to 2006. Since head coach Lincoln Riley joined the staff as offensive coordinator prior to the 2015 season, the Sooners are 14-0 in true road games (12-0 in true Big 12 road contests).

• In nine games as a Sooner (three starts), quarterback Kyler Murray has completed 46 of his 65 pass attempts (.707) for 874 yards and eight touchdowns with one interception, good for a 221.3 passing efficiency rating. For perspective, Baker Mayfield's FBS-record single-season efficiency rating last year was 198.9. Saturday's game at Iowa State will mark Murray's first collegiate road start. He started three home games as a freshman at Texas A&M in 2015, OU's West Virginia home game last season, and two home games this year. For his effort against UCLA last week, Murray was named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week, Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week and the Davey O'Brien Quarterback of the Week.

• The Sooners are allowing 17.5 points per game, but the majority of opponent scoring has come with OU's defensive starters already removed due to huge leads. In the 63-14 win over Florida Atlantic, Oklahoma led 56-0 and didn't give up a score until 55 seconds remained in the third quarter. In the 49-21 victory over UCLA, OU led 42-7 before surrendering 14 points in the game's final 11:11. Opponents are averaging 4.7 yards per play through two games after OU allowed 5.8 yards per play in 14 games last season. The Sooners have been particularly disruptive behind the line of scrimmage, recording eight sacks (4.0 average) to rank seventh nationally and 21 tackles for loss (10.5 average) to rank sixth in the country. Last year OU averaged 1.9 sacks and 5.4 TFLs per contest. The eight sacks this season have come from seven players.

Lamb

SCOUTING IOWA STATE

• Iowa State is under the direction of third-year head coach Matt Campbell, who is 11-15 with the Cyclones. The 2017 Big 12 Coach of the Year led ISU to an 8-5 record and a 21-20 Liberty Bowl win over Memphis last season after a 3-9 debut year. His overall head coaching record is 46-30 in six-plus seasons, which includes a 35-15 mark in four years at Toledo.

• Iowa State's eight wins in 2017 marked its highest total since posting a 9-3 record in 2000. With a school-record three wins over ranked opponents, the Cyclones reached the top-25 for the first time since 2005. ISU set school single-season records for fewest turnovers (10), most passing yards per game (279.2) and tackles for loss (96) in 2017. Its 20.9 points allowed and 366.2 total yards allowed last year were the program's fewest this decade.

• Offensively, Iowa State returns running backs David Montgomery and Mike Warren, who have each recorded a 1,000-yard rushing season. Montgomery, a first-team All-Big 12 selection a year ago, ran for 1,146 yards in 2017, while Warren ran for more than 1,300 as a redshirt freshman in 2015. Quarterback Kyle Kempt, back in his sixth season of eligibility, set a school record with a 66.3 completion percentage last year, and owns a current streak of 151 passes without throwing an interception.

• The Cyclones dropped their season opener at Iowa on Saturday, 13-3. Iowa State mustered just 188 total yards (169 passing, 19 rushing) while holding the Hawkeyes to 271 total yards (166 passing, 105 rushing). Iowa collected four sacks while not allowing one. Kempt was 15-of-21 passing for 126 yards, spreading the ball around to nine receivers. Hakeem Butler led the receivers with three catches for 35 yards, and Montgomery paced the team with 44 rushing yards on 17 carries (2.6 average).

• Iowa State's scheduled season opener against South Dakota State on Sept. 1 was canceled by inclement weather with ISU leading 7-0 in the first quarter. It was the program's first football game canceled since 1963.

SERIES WITH THE CYCLONES

• Oklahoma's winning streaks of 14 games overall, 17 in Big 12 play and 18 against Iowa State came to a halt last year with a 38-31 home loss to the Cyclones on Oct. 7. The Sooners led 24-13 at halftime but were outscored 25-7 afterward in suffering their only regular season defeat.

• On its second possession, OU took a 14-0 lead with 5:49 left in the first quarter, but the drive resulted in the loss of two starters for the rest of the game. Running back Abdul Adams was injured on the second play of the series following a seven-yard reception. He left the game and did not return after rushing for 42 yards on three carries (14.0 average). Receiver CeeDee Lamb scored on a 15-yard catch and run, but also left the contest after getting injured on the play. It was his team-leading fourth TD reception of the year.

• Baker Mayfield set a Big 12 record by throwing for at least two touchdowns in his 18th straight game (broke Sam Bradford's league standard) and finished 24-for-33 for 306 yards and two TDs. He added a season-high 57 rushing yards, including a 13-yard score.

• Trey Sermon replaced Adams and ran for 90 yards on 11 carries (5.0 average). He scored the game's first points on a 23-yard pass from Mayfield.

• OU held the Cyclones to 81 rushing yards (2.5 per carry), but ISU reserve quarterback Kyle Kempt completed 18-of-24 passes for 343 yards and three touchdowns. Running back David Montgomery ran for 55 yards on 17 carries (3.2 average) and caught a team-high seven passes for 89 yards.

• The defeat for OU was its first at the hands of Iowa State since 1990 and second since 1961. The Cyclones improved to 6-74-2 in the series.

Brown

SPECIAL TEAMS HAVE BEEN SPECIAL

• Special teams have been a major positive for the Sooners through two games. Among teams with at least three kickoff returns this season, OU leads the nation with its 47.3 average on the strength of Tre Brown. The sophomore cornerback, who paces the country in kickoff return yards, has compiled 142 yards on three returns, including an 86-yarder in the first quarter on Saturday that set up the tying touchdown after UCLA took a 7-0 lead.

• Among teams with at least six punt returns, OU ranks fourth nationally with its 18.2 average. Sophomore receiver CeeDee Lamb is averaging 16.2 yards on his five returns, thanks largely to a 66-yard runback vs. UCLA. Redshirt junior receiver Lee Morris has one return for 28 yards.

• Last year, OU ranked 98th nationally in kick return average (19.3 yards) and 97th in punt return average (5.59).

• Opponents have only returned one punt this season and it went for -1 yard. The Sooners also registered their first blocked punt since 2013 in the opener against Florida Atlantic, and it resulted in their first blocked punt TD since 2002. Morris registered the block and Curtis Bolton fell on the ball in the end zone.

• Senior kicker/punter Austin Seibert is 15-for-15 on PATs this season after going 81-for-81 last year. His streak of 108 makes is the third longest in the nation. Twelve of his 14 kickoffs this season have also resulted in touchbacks.

• Seibert ranks first at OU and second in the Big 12 in all-time extra points made (238), 36 behind the conference record of 274 set by Baylor's Aaron Jones (2010-13). He ranks 11th all-time in Big 12 scoring (376 points) and fourth in points per game (9.0).

GOING FOR BIG 12 FOUR-PEAT

• If Oklahoma wins the 2018 Big 12 title, it will mark the program's fourth straight league crown. The last time the Sooners won four consecutive conference championships was 1984-87 under head coach Barry Switzer.

• Oklahoma is the only program to win three straight Big 12 titles, and it has done so twice (also from 2006-08). Baylor (2013-14) is the only other program to win two Big 12 championships in a row.

• The last Power Five program to win four straight outright league titles was Florida from 1993 through 1996.

SOONERS HAVE DOMINATED BIG 12 ERA

• OU's performance in the Big 12 Conference this millennium has been nothing short of dominant. The Sooners have won 11 Big 12 titles in the last 17 seasons, with no other program during that span winning more than two.

• Since the first year of the Big 12 in 1996, OU has claimed 11 league titles and is followed by Texas (three), Baylor, Kansas State and Nebraska (two each), and Colorado, Oklahoma State, TCU and Texas A&M (one each).

• OU is 124-27 (.821) in regular season Big 12 play since the start of the 2000 season. That's 21 more wins than the program with the next most victories during that period (Texas; 103-48) and 38 more than the program with the third most (Oklahoma State; 86-65).

OFFENSE HAS ROLLED UNDER RILEY

• Oklahoma has a legitimate claim as the nation's most productive offense since the start of the 2015 season, which was Lincoln Riley's first year as OU's offensive coordinator. Riley called plays as the program's offensive coordinator and continues to as head coach.

• Since the start of the 2015 season, OU ranks first nationally in passing efficiency rating (187.8; next closest is 162.3), completion percentage (69.3), points per game (44.8), total offense (556.0) and touchdowns from scrimmage (238), and is second in yards per pass attempt (10.5), sixth in passing offense (329.6) and 19th in rushing offense (226.4; 10th in Power Five).

• In 42 games since the start of the 2015 season, OU has registered at least 500 yards of total offense 30 times, including in 20 of the last 26 outings, topped the 600-yard mark on 15 occasions and gone over 700 yards four times. Similarly, OU has scored at least 30 points in 37 of 42 games during the Riley regime, at least 40 points 28 times, at least 50 points 16 times and at least 60 points six times.

• Four of OU's top five single-game total offense figures since 2000, and six of the top nine have come over the last 40 games (1. 854 at Texas Tech in 2016; 2. 785 at Oklahoma State in 2017; 3. 773 vs. Tulsa in 2015; 5. 710 at Kansas in 2015; 7. 684 vs. Iowa State in 2015; 9. 676 vs. UTEP in 2017).

• The Sooners have posted a 36-6 (.857) record since Riley's OU debut (25-2 in Big 12 play). That record is fourth best in the country since the start of 2015. Only Alabama (43-3), Clemson (42-4) and Ohio State (37-5) have better records during that span.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL'S BEST

• During the modern era of college football (since the end of World War II), the Sooners are the nation's No. 1 team with more wins (642) than any other program. Only Boise State owns a better winning percentage (.773; played 449 fewer games) during that span than OU (.767).

• OU is the highest-scoring program in college football history with 35,228 points (in 1,262 games).

• No program has more all-time 10-win seasons than Oklahoma, which has 38. In addition, OU's 24 seasons with at least 11 wins are the most in college football history.

• Since former head coach Bob Stoops arrived in Norman in 1999, OU leads all Power Five conference programs in wins (204) and points scored (9,649).

• Only Ohio State (105) has been ranked No. 1 in the AP Poll more weeks than Oklahoma (101). OU's 407 weeks in the AP's top five are most of any school (Alabama next with 384 and Ohio State third with 365). The AP Poll was introduced in 1936.

• Only Ohio State (610) has more all-time top-10 AP poll appearances than OU (575).

• Only Alabama (10) and Notre Dame (8) have earned more all-time AP national championships than Oklahoma (7).

EXTRA POINTS

• The Sooners have been ranked in the AP's top 10 in 24 of the last 25 polls. The only time it wasn't during that stretch was following last year's loss to Iowa State (fell from third to 12th).

• Saturday's game will mark OU's only contest in its first six in which it is not the designated home team. Four of the Sooners' first five contests are at home, and OU is the designated home team for its Oct. 6 game vs. Texas in Dallas.

• Oklahoma has outscored its two opponents 112-35. In the first through third quarters, the margin is 91-14.

• OU's 112 points are its most combined points in the first two games of a season since totaling 130 points in the first two contests in 2007 against North Texas and Miami (Fla.). The Sooners' 112 points are also their third most through two games over the past 100 seasons (130 in 2007, 117 in 1972).

• The Sooners are 23-4-1 (.839) all-time as the No. 5 team in the AP Poll and have won three straight games when ranked fifth and 10 of their last 11.

• Oklahoma committed just 13 turnovers last year (six interceptions and seven fumbles lost), or less than one per game. That marked the second-lowest total in OU history (11 in 2008). It has one turnover in two games this season.

• Since the start of the 2017 season, OU is averaging 27.3 points in the first half. It has scored at least 20 first-half points in 14 of 16 games, and at least 28 points in nine of those contests. Over the last nine contests, the Sooners are averaging 32.0 first-half points. Four of those nine opponents were ranked in the top 12 of the AP poll at the time of competition.

• Oklahoma is looking to register its 16th season of at least 10 wins since the start of the 2000 campaign. The Sooners are the only FBS program to rack up 15 seasons of double-digit victories since 2000. 

• OU, Alabama and Clemson have all finished in the final AP top 5 each of the past three seasons.

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