So, here we are. This week features another Top 10 opponent. Adding to this delectable idea is the fact we're playing in Norman. Barring whichever deity intervened last year in Lincoln makes a stop in Norman tomorrow, Cyclone fans should not be getting their hopes up. There's been a lot of talk this week about whether or not Oklahoma is legit. They are, no question.
Paul Rhoads and the Cyclones will be looking for a lot of things this week. So will I. There are still things you can do in a game where you're clearly overmatched, and Paul Rhoads is not going to just give up and roll over. Iowa State showed last week that it would keep on fighting until the very last second of the game. I can't tell you how relieved I was to see that. That told me that the Cyclones had never been beaten in their mind, psychologically they were still giving 100% in the fourth quarter.
One of the things that killed us last week was that the offense never seemed to be able to stay on the field. Consequently the Defense played, and played, and played. By the end of the 2nd quarter they'd started to run out of gas. I'm not saying the loss was completely the offense's fault, because it wasn't. At the same time, if the Offense can put some sustained drives together, the defense will respond and make plays. We saw it against UNI and Tech, there's no reason we can't see it this weekend too.
More after the jump
From what I could tell last week the defensive line was unable to make a significant impact on the game. This has literally been true most of the year so far. Our run defense has been gashed repeatedly and one of the big reasons for it is that the defensive line isn't getting their hands on running backs as they pass through. They're also getting moved by the offensive line to open running lanes. The solution here is technique and conditioning. I wouldn't be surprised if next year the D-Line is the most improved position group on the team.
The Cyclone defense has been good all year at creating turnovers. For us to have any chance at winning Saturday, they'll need to do it again. We all know that the 8 turnovers is what won the game last year in Lincoln, but don't expect that many turnovers in Norman. Three or four, though, could go a long way in evening out the score.
When Behind, Continue To Use The Run Game
It seems like every time we've been behind this year, the run game gets forgotten, and Austen Arnaud tries to win the game with his arm. This has to stop. We have excellent running backs who've proven they can make explosive plays and gain essential yardage. Use them, use them even when we're down 20 points, because if the defense knows all we're going to do is throw, we're in trouble.
I look forward to watching the Cyclones play this weekend, I hope it's not as painful to watch as it was last week.