Advantage: Iowa State
• Iowa State running back Breece Hall broke out as one of the top freshmen in the country last season and will be the most proven runner on the field Saturday. He's eclipsed 100 yards in both of Iowa State's games this season, accounting for 258 yards on 38 attempts and four touchdowns. OU’s run game has yet to dazzle this season, but true frosh Seth McGowan (134 rushing yards, 2 rushing touchdowns, 6.1 yards per carry) continues to show promise.
• Iowa State QB Brock Purdy has the experience, but it’s difficult to go against a Lincoln Riley passing attack. Yes, freshman Spencer Rattler threw three picks against Kansas State. His line of 30 of 41 passing, 387 yards and four passing touchdowns, however, was still impressive. If Rattler has the short memory a quarterback needs, he should be just fine against an Iowa State passing defense that is second-worst in the Big 12 by yards allowed per pass (9.1) and third-worst by both yards allowed per game (276.5) and completion percentage allowed (65.6%).
• OU ranks first in the Big 12 in rushing yards per carry allowed (2.4) through two games. One of those contests was against Missouri State, but the Sooners did a sneaky good job of stopping Kansas State’s rushing attack. OU limited Kansas State running back Deuce Vaughn to 45 yards on eight carries — 38 of those yards came on one play. The rest of the Wildcats had a combined 21 rushing yards. Breece Hall should, however, provide an even bigger challenge.
• The Sooners and Cyclones aren’t so different in terms of what they’ve done so far this season. Iowa State's secondary is giving up 9.1 yards per pass, while OU has given up 8.8 yards per pass. Both teams have one interception each. But Iowa State has given up five touchdowns to OU's one. Of course, OU allowed a few major non-scoring plays through the air against Kansas State. But if OU can overcome its mental mistakes, it should have the better unit on Saturday.
• OU never got around to using Gabe Brkic on Saturday, but the kicker, who didn’t miss an extra point or field goal last season, is available after missing OU’s opener against Missouri State. The Sooners’ special teams probably aren’t feeling so great after they let up a blocked punt to the Wildcats. But they maintain the edge with Brkic, who might need to shake off a little bit of rust on Saturday if it’s another tight contest.
Advantage: Iowa State
• Like Kansas State, Iowa State is another team that is well-coached and has been a tricky out for the Sooners since coach Matt Campbell arrived. OU almost lost to Iowa State in 2019, but it was able to stop a late, go-ahead two-point conversion. Jack Trice Stadium will not be at capacity for Saturday’s primetime kick, but Iowa State showed much more fight against OU last season than OU showed against Iowa State. If history repeats itself, the Sooners might not be so lucky as they were last year.