Saturday, December 19, 2020, AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas, noon ET
Cyclones vs. Sooners Betting Preview: Cyclones (+5.5), Sooners (-5.5)
Iowa State (8-2, 8-1 Big 12) is riding a five-game winning streak with quarterback Brock Purdy playing his best of late. Since throwing three first-half interceptions against Baylor in early November, Purdy has been spectacular, throwing for 903 yards and 10 touchdowns without an interception the last three-plus games.
For the season he has passed for an average of just over 227 yards a game. His high was 312 yards in a 23-20 win over Texas on Nov. 27.
The Cyclones haven’t won a football conference title since 1912 and have never won one outright. They tied Nebraska that year.
But Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley wants to be sure this game isn’t painted as David vs. Goliath.
“This isn’t some Rudy story,” Riley said. “This is not they’re just finding a way with bad players. They have good players, and they have had good players.
“They combine good players, good scheme and good coaches, and you’re gonna, a lot of times, have a good result.”
When coach Matt Campbell arrived at Iowa State in 2016, the Cyclones hadn’t had a winning season in six years and hadn’t won at least eight games since they won nine in 2000.
But Campbell said he doesn’t see this game as an endpoint or pinnacle even though it will be the biggest game in Cyclones’ history.
“From my end, I never put a number on it or a finality to it,” Campbell said. “I think the reality was that where we were when we got here … is trying to hammer away at the things that we could control (and) hopefully allowing those things that we could control manifest into developing a consistent, competitive football program.”
Oklahoma has been the unquestioned top dog in the Big 12 since Riley’s arrival as offensive coordinator in 2015.
During Riley’s tenure with the Sooners, which includes a move up to head coach starting with the 2017 season, Oklahoma has won five consecutive Big 12 championships, and has a chance to win a sixth when the No. 10 Sooners (7-2, 6-2 Big 12) face Iowa State.
The Sooners have won six consecutive games since losing 37-30 at Iowa State on Oct. 3.
Quarterback Spencer Rattler has been a force for the Sooners’ improvement since an 0-2 start in Big 12 play threatened to end Oklahoma’s run of conference titles. He has completed 68.5 percent of his passes for an average of 279.1 yards a game.
“He’s still being the aggressive player that we want him to be but certainly has done a good job here the last several games of not making very many mistakes or putting our team or our offense in bad situations,” Riley said.
While Rattler’s growth has been a boost for the Sooners, another has been the additions of running back Rhamondre Stevenson and defensive end Ronnie Perkins. Each served six-game suspensions because of a failed drug test last year. The suspensions ended in late October.
Iowa State’s Campbell said the Sooners are a much different team elsewhere than they were more than two months ago.
“A very young team that was extremely talented that has grown into what you’ve seen from Oklahoma year after year,” Campbell said. “And that’s a dynamic football team.”
Stevenson has rushed for 382 yards in his four games and Perkins has eight tackles for loss with four sacks in his limited time.
Cyclones vs. Sooners Betting Pick for December 19, 2020
Iowa State won the regular-season meeting 29-20, which also happens to be the last time the Sooners have lost. Purdy passed for 254 yards and a touchdown and Breece Hall rushed for 139 yards and two scores for the Cyclones in their win while Rattler passed for 300 yards and two touchdowns for the Sooners.
Cyclones vs. Sooners Betting Pick:
Sooners 38, Cyclones 28
Cyclones vs. Sooners Best Bet for December 19, 2020
The Sooners have averaged 46.7 points an outing in their six-game winning streak despite a season-low in their 27-14 win over Baylor in their last game on Dec. 5. The Cyclones beat Baylor 38-31 on Nov. 7 and pinned a 42-6 loss on West Virginia in their last outing.
Cyclones vs. Sooners Best Bet: OVER 58