AP NEWS

No. 5 Oklahoma tries to avoid 2nd straight upset by Iowa St

September 13, 2018

No. 5 Oklahoma (2-0, 0-0 Big 12) at Iowa State (0-1, 0-0), noon ET (ABC).

Line: Oklahoma by 17.

Series record: Oklahoma leads 74-6-2.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

Oklahoma needs to start adjusting to life without RB Rodney Anderson, who is out for the year with a right knee injury. The Sooners showed last season that an early loss to Iowa State isn’t necessarily a playoff killer, but such an upset would leave them without any room for error the rest of the way.

KEY MATCHUP

Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray vs. Iowa State’s back seven. Murray has been dynamic thus far, completing 63.6 percent of his passes for 515 yards and five TDs. But this will be his first league road start, and the Cyclones’ linebackers and defensive backs have a tendency to be around the ball more often than not. If Murray throws a few bad balls early, it might give Iowa State a chance to shorten the field, grab a lead and put Oklahoma on its heels.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Oklahoma: RB Trey Sermon. He ran for 774 yards, on 6.1 yards a carry, and scored five TDs as Anderson’s backup in 2017. Expect OU to attempt to see if Sermon is ready to be their new No. 1 back starting with the Cyclones. But Iowa State held Iowa to 2.9 yards a carry last week.

Iowa State: RB David Montgomery: Iowa bottled up ISU’s biggest weapon, holding him to just 44 yards on 17 carries. But the junior will be arguably the most talented player on the field, and his big-play ability gives the Cyclones a shot to make things interesting.

FACTS & FIGURES

Oklahoma is 36-2-1 in Ames. The Sooners have won 23 consecutive games at Iowa State dating back to 1960. ...The Cyclones are just 5-17 in Big 12 openers. ...The Sooners are 25-1 in their last 26 league games, and 15 of those wins have come by at least 15 points. ...In three seasons under coach Matt Campbell, the Cyclones are 10-2 when winning the turnover battle and 1-13 when they don’t. ...This week’s appearance in the top five was Oklahoma’s 12th since the start of last season.

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