OU football: Comparing Oklahoma and Iowa State's offense, defense and special teams 

Kyle Phillips / The Transcript

Oklahoma receiver Charleston Rambo warms up before the Texas game on Oct. 12 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.

Running game (Advantage: OU)

• There’s a lot of discussion about how Oklahoma’s producing on the ground with Jalen Hurts averaging more than 100 yards per game and the running backs producing less than previous years. But the Sooners still pile up 252.1 yards per game on the ground compared to Iowa State’s 151.1. OU averaged 237.3 rushing yards at this time last year, so it’s actually doing more damage with Hurts. But there’s a good chance running backs Trey Sermon and Kennedy Brooks will get more chances moving forward.

Passing game (Advantage: OU)

• Iowa State has closed this gap with the sensational play of quarterback Brock Purdy. The Cyclones’ 328.4 passing yards per game are just slightly behind OU’s 346.2, though Purdy has thrown seven interceptions. OU has the better stable of receivers and the most dominant receiver in the Big 12 in CeeDee Lamb, who might be the best big-play threat in the nation. He’s fourth nationally in yards per catch (22.67). Right behind him? OU’s Charleston Rambo at 22.36.

Run defense (Advantage: ISU)

• Iowa State surrenders just 116.3 rushing yards per game. The numbers have been impressive. Northern Iowa managed just 34 yards on 31 carries in Iowa State’s season opener. West Virginia ran 28 times for 41 yards. Iowa ran 37 times for 112 yards. Oklahoma State, with the nation’s leading rusher in Chuba Hubbard, only reached 153 yards on 31 carries. OU allows 138.4 rushing yards per game, which is much improved from years past. But the Cyclones have been stingier in this area.

Pass defense (Advantage: OU)

• It’s hard to believe after eight games OU would have a better secondary, statistically, than Iowa State after last year’s struggles. Each group has grabbed just four interceptions, but the Sooners surrender 200.4 passing yards per game to Iowa State’s 226.1. OU was at 232.1 this time last year. Iowa State has more pass breakups, 36 to 25, but has given up one more touchdown through the air (12 to OU’s 11).

Special teams (Advantage: OU)

• OU kicker Gabe Brkic was named one of 20 Lou Groza semifinalists on Thursday. He’s been sensational, making 10 of 10 field-goal tries with seven longer than 30 yards and a long of 50. Iowa State’s Connor Assalley is 9 of 13 with a long of 42. Iowa State’s kickoff return numbers are slightly higher than OU’s, but the Sooners have the edge in punt return average. The biggest knock on OU is its inability to handle a pooch kick at Kansas State, which resulted in a game-changing turnover.

Intangibles (Advantage: OU)

• OU hasn’t lost back-to-back regular-season games since 1999. It’s difficult to imagine Iowa State breaking that streak at Owen Field, but then, it once seemed inconceivable the Cyclones could steal a win here in 2017 — then they did. Both teams are coming off an open date, so there’s been ample preparation on each side. The Sooners will gain a big edge playing a night game at home, and have been a dominant November team. OU's last loss in this month was in 2014 against Baylor.

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