NORMAN, Okla. – Oklahoma did its job against Iowa State on Saturday, and with much bigger opponents in sight.
A 52-16 win against the 3-6 Cyclones may not seem like a whole lot, but it’s valuable for the Sooners entering a competitive home stretch. Now with four-straight wins, No. 14 Oklahoma (7-1, 4-1 in Big 12) is well within range of Baylor, TCU and Oklahoma State at the top of the Big 12 standings.
And they play each of those teams in as many weeks to wrap up their 2015 schedule.
To overlook the Cyclones – a much more threatening opponent than the Kansas team OU faced last week – would have put a permanent blot on the Sooners’ playoff hopes. Led by Baker Mayfield’s 342 yards passing and four touchdowns in total, that prize is still there to be won.
Mayfield wasted no time as the Sooners took a three-touchdown lead in just six plays. He connected with Dmitri Flowers for a 75-yard touchdown pass on OU’s first play of the game, a reverse flea-flicker to open proceedings up in style.
After the Sooners turned it over on downs, Mayfield went right back at it on the following drive and found an open Dede Westbrook on a 27-yard pass for a 14-3 lead. That was also the first, and only, play of the drive.
On OU’s next possession, the quarterback called his own number, running in from 17 yards out to put the home side in complete control.
The game was, essentially, over in the first quarter, and didn’t OU know it. It was as if the Sooners stopped playing in the second, and a pair of Netten field goals from 45 yards and 51 yards made it 21-9 at halftime.
In the lull, Iowa State failed to take advantage, thanks in part to the Sooner defense. Quarterback Joel Lanning was dropped no fewer than three times in the Cyclone backfield, and leading rusher Mike Warren was held to just 43 yards for the night.
During Iowa State’s best drive of the game, down to the OU six-yard line, Jordan Evans raised up his arm just in-time to deflect Lanning’s pass and force a turnover on downs. That translated into a 74-yard touchdown pass two plays later from Mayfield to Sterling Shepard.
By then, Samaje Perine, who registered 95 yards on 13 carries, had already bagged his touchdown for the night. Continuing an upward trend for the OU run game, Joe Mixon ended the night with a 55-yard touchdown run for a total of 88 yards on the ground.