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Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 17, 2017

No. 3 Oklahoma tries for 19th straight win over Iowa State

Oct 05, 2017

NORMAN, Okla. -- Oklahoma is trying to win a national championship under first-year coach Lincoln Riley, who took over for long-time coach Bob Stoops in the offseason in an almost seamless transition.

Iowa State is trying to build toward success in Matt Campbell’s second season in charge.

Saturday, the two programs meet with the No. 3 Sooners (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) trying to get back the positive momentum that has sputtered a bit -- despite two consecutive wins -- since beating Ohio State on Sept. 9.

“We haven’t been very good on fourth down on either side of the ball,” Riley said. “We’ve had too many fumbles offensively. We’ve forced a few turnovers but not enough defensively. We have some key areas we need to improve on.

“You have to put that in front of them, and then you have to have guys -- leadership -- that are hungry enough that don’t care about the four games before, that just care about us getting better and playing at our very best. We haven’t put our best out there yet.”

The Cyclones (2-2, 0-1) are trying to make progress after losing to Texas 17-7 last week to fall to 2-2.

While Oklahoma trudged off the field after its 49-41 victory over Baylor on Sept. 23, the Cyclones didn’t celebrate but also weren’t hanging their heads after the defeat to Texas.

“It’s gut-wrenching to lose games like that where you put yourself in opportunities to win the game,” Campbell said. “I think at the end of it, that’s what we did. We gave ourselves a chance to win the game.

“The thing I love about our football team -- you came into our locker room, and there was not one guy down. There was not one guy upset. I think everybody saw and knew the growth we had on Thursday night. You take the lessons you continue to learn to grow about what it takes to be successful.”

There have been few longtime conference rivalries as lopsided as this series.

The Sooners have won 18 consecutive meetings, with Iowa State’s last win coming in 1990.

Oklahoma’s last loss to the Cyclones prior to that came in 1961, though they tied in 1981.

“I’m not a big believer in what’s happened in the past because we really weren’t a part of that,” Campbell said of him and his players. “So my big thing is how do we get ourselves better and obviously prepare ourselves to come in and give ourselves the best opportunity to compete and play to the best of our ability in a game like this.”

Oklahoma is trying to extend its 14-game overall winning streak and its 17-game Big 12 winning streak and make Riley the first Sooners coach since the 1800s to start his head coaching career 6-0.

“I think it goes back to having a championship mentality and understanding that every single game is important and that at the end of the year, they all count the same,” Riley said when asked how the Sooners had avoided letting up in games during the streak.

“We know what it takes to win this conference, and I think that’s been big. And I think also, you’ve got to understand, at Oklahoma, you’re going to get everybody’s best shot. That’s just part of it.”

A year ago, the Cyclones pushed the Sooners before Oklahoma held on for a 34-24 victory.

“When (the Sooners) come off the bus, they’re going to look exactly the same (as Texas),” Iowa State wide receiver Allen Lazard said after the loss to the Longhorns. “Great athletes, great coaching obviously and if we don’t bring our A-game, we won’t even have a chance with them. We just know we have to go back and correct these mistakes we made and we’ll have a great shot with them.”

Oklahoma senior quarterback Baker Mayfield is off to an eye-popping start, completing 75.2 percent of his passes with 13 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Early in the season, there was plenty of uncertainty at running back as the Sooners started with a four-man group at the spot with none being proven contributors. But recently, Abdul Adams has settled in as the No. 1 running option and Trey Sermon has proven to be a strong late-game back.

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