Saturday's game against Iowa State seemed like the perfect trap game for the Oklahoma Sooners. A road game against an upstart team, with the Sooners coming off an emotional defeat against Notre Dame in Norman were the perfect combination of ingredients for one loss to turn into two for OU.
However, it was not meant to be.
The Sooners shook off a bad first half to take down Iowa State 35-20, in front of 56,585 fans at Jack Trice Stadium, the third-largest crowd in Iowa State history.
With an ankle injury hampering starting running back Damien Williams, junior Brennan Clay got the start for the Sooners and made the most of it, running for a career-high 157 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries.
Quarterback Landry Jones threw for a season-high 405 yards on 32-of-45 passes. Jones threw four touchdowns, but also had two interceptions. Jones hit nine different receivers during the game, with Justin Brown leading the way with seven receptions for 107 yards and a touchdown.
Kenny Stills had six catches for 92 yards and two touchdowns.
The Sooners racked up 34 first downs during the game, thanks in large part to a very efficient 9-of-14 on third down.
The Sooners and Cyclones battled to a scoreless first quarter, with the only big play provided by the ISU defense. The Cyclones twice stuffed Blake Bell in the red zone on OU's opening drive, forcing a turnover on downs. The Sooners gave the Cyclones three first downs thanks to penalties in the quarter.
Oklahoma finally broke through in the second quarter, driving 90 yards in 12 plays, with the final 20 coming on a perfect back-shoulder throw from Jones to Sterling Shepard for the touchdown. The Sooners' defense continued to hold the Cyclones in check, but Jones threw interceptions on back-to-back offensive possessions to give the Cyclones life once again. Both passes were intercepted by safety Durrell Givens, the first when Givens undercut a deep route to Kenny Stills, and the second on a batted ball over the middle.
The Cyclones tacked on two field goals to make the score 7-6 with 1:04 remaining in the half. It appeared OU would be content to run out the clock, but on 1st-and 10 from the OU 39, Jones went deep to Brown for 40 yards and then hit Stills for a 21-yard touchdown to send the Sooners to the locker room up 14-6.
On the opening drive of the second half, Jones directed the Sooners 75 yards in 14 plays, capping the drive with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Brown for the touchdown. Brown made a terrific play on the ball, adjusting to a deflection in midair while keeping his feet inbounds.
The Cyclones responded with a 65-yard drive of their own, scoring on a 19-yard reverse by Jarvis West to cut the deficit to 21-13. OU came right back down the field, putting most of the workload on Clay's back, and he was able to find the end zone on an 18-yard run to push the lead back to 15.
After three consecutive punts, the Sooners struck again, this time on a 31-yard bullet from Jones to Stills. The Cyclones scored later in the fourth quarter to account for the final margin.
The Sooners return home to take on Baylor next week before the home stretch of the season.