The Sports Network
By Scott Haynes, Senior College Football Editor
GAME NOTES: Big 12 action takes place in Norman this weekend, as the sixth-ranked Oklahoma Sooners welcome the Iowa State Cyclones to town.
Bob Stoops' Sooners were idle this past weekend, but still moved up in the polls. Oklahoma has won each of its first five games and comes into this contest off of a 28-20 win over Texas in the Red River Rivalry on October 2nd.
Despite a perfect start, Stoops still sees room for improvement in every aspect of the game.
"We're 5-0, on the off week now. We've played four out of five teams that were bowl teams a year ago. I think three of them are ranked in the top-25 right now. To be 5-0 feels pretty good. With an off week, to go back through these last five games and we'll look at areas, offense, defense, of what has hurt us in the previous games whether it be formations, plays, blitzes, coverages, whatever. How we want to work against them and improve it because we're bound to see some of it again. That's what we'll work on through the week."
Paul Rhoads' Cyclones will be facing their second straight ranked opponent and hope for better results after being torched at home last week by Utah, 68-27. The loss dropped ISU to 3-3 on the year.
Oklahoma holds a huge edge in the all-time series, 67-5-2. The Sooners hold a 34-3-1 advantage in Norman and have won 11 straight overall against the Cyclones.
The Cyclones possess some balance on the offensive side of the football, averaging 154.2 yards rushing and 174.2 passing. In addition, the squad has finished drives well, scoring in 17-of-19 red zone opportunities, with 11 touchdowns.
Quarterback Austen Arnaud has had his ups and downs, completing 57.1 percent of his passes, for 958 yards, with eight TDs and seven INTs. Collin Franklin has clearly been t he go-to-guy downfield, leading the team in receptions (25), receiving yards (279) and TD catches (two). Alexander Robinson headlines the ground game, averaging 74.8 ypg on 5.1 ypc. He has scored five of the team's eight rushing TDs to date.
The Iowa State defense has not been as consistent as the offense this year and that includes the debacle against the Utes last week. With the inflated stats by Utah, ISU is now yielding 29.7 ppg. The team has struggled big time against the run, allowing a generous 201.5 yards per game on the ground, with opponents putting up nearly five yards per carry.
Sophomore LB A.J. Klein has excelled though, ranking second in the Big 12 with 62 total tackles. In addition, the 6-1, 240-pound middle linebacker has three INTs and one fumble recovery to his credit. Fellow sophomore LB Jake Knott has been active as well with 58 tackles and three INTs as well.
Oklahoma will counter with a strong offensive arsenal that features star-power at all the skilled positions. The team is averaging just over 415 yards of total offense, with a passing game that puts up nearly 300 yards per game (294.2).
Sophomore QB Landry Jones has had a great deal of success, completing 64 percent of his passes, for 1,457 yards and 11 TDs. It helps to have one of the nation's top receivers in Ryan Broyles on the outside. The 5-11 junior already has 46 receptions on the year, with 518 yards and four TDs.
The ground game is effective as well, with tailback DeMarco Murray (110.2 ypg) being the workhorse. He is responsible for nine of the team's 10 rushing TDs thus far.
The Oklahoma defense has taken a step or two back this season, allowing a generous 411.6 yards of total offense per game. Still, big plays have been a staple in Norman and this year is no different, with 14 sacks and 14 takeaways in the first five games.
All-American candidate Travis Lewis leads the way in the middle of the field. The 6-2 senior has a team-high 45 tackles, with one INT. Fellow All-American candidate Jeremy Beal has been a monster up front. The 6-3, 267-pound end has 25 tackles, 8.5 TFLs and six sacks. Safeties Jonathan Nelson (37 tackles, one INT) and Quinton Carter (26 tackles, two INTs) highlight the play in the secondary.