Oklahoma took care of business in its home finale of the 2021 season, beating Iowa State 28-21.
It sets up a Bedlam showdown against Oklahoma State that will be littered with Big 12 championship game and College Football Playoff implications.
“Really proud of the team. Gutsy team win. I think first for our seniors, our guys that played their last game in here. Always super, super important to us to send those guys out on the right note and very proud that the team was able to come together and get that done. Really proud of the response just of our football team after the loss last week,” Riley said.
Let’s take a look at three stars for Oklahoma in the Sooners’ win over the Cyclones.
Any postgame awards have to start with the redshirt sophomore defensive lineman. Jalen Redmond finished with a pair of tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and one sack.
The Midwest City native showed off his athleticism on the game’s biggest play. Sophomore defensive back Key Lawrence closed in on Iowa State senior quarterback Brock Purdy just before halftime, jarred the football loose and Redmond scooped up the bouncing fumble and raced 42 yards into the end zone to give the Sooners a 14-7 halftime lead.
Rumble rumble rumble. Big boy can scoot! 💨 pic.twitter.com/TWZbHGoAzc
— SportsTalk1400 (@Sportstalk1400) November 20, 2021
“Oh man, it was exciting. I had one against Tulane and ended up tripping and falling on that one, so I had to get this one back. It was good. It was exciting. It was something to remember, especially on this night. Last home game,” Redmond said.
Up Next: Staying Up Front
The redshirt senior defensive lineman had his fingerprints all over what turned out to be arguably Oklahoma’s best defensive performance of the season.
Oklahoma finished with seven sacks, 11 tackles for loss and forced three Iowa State turnovers. Individually, Isaiah Thomas had a pair of tackles for loss and two sacks.
Before this game against the Sooners, Iowa State had allowed just 12 sacks all season. Oklahoma entered this game with the mindset to be disruptive and it showed.
“You know, I know I talked about a little bit we need some emotional leadership and some emotional plays. And when I say emotional, I mean plays that impact the game, difference makers. Not even just sacks all the time, you know, just disrupting the quarterback and you can disrupt the quarterback by hits on him, pressure on him and getting in the backfield and having sacks, of course. We all emphasized that. I think one thing that we do best is respond and we did that today and we showed what we can really be up front and we can even be better,” Thomas said.
Up Next: Carrying the Offense
The biggest offensive play of the day came on the game’s first offensive series for Oklahoma.
True freshman quarterback Caleb Williams took a designed quarterback run behind redshirt junior running back Kennedy Brooks and then split into the open, racing 74 yards for a touchdown that represented the Sooners’ longest offensive play of the season.
It wasn’t indicative of the day that would follow for Williams, though. Williams finished just 8-of-18 passing for 87 yards with one touchdown pass and one interception. Even with that 74-yard touchdown run, Williams wound up with 67 rushing yards on 12 carries.
That meant the offense needed other ways to move the football. Brooks was great against one of the best rushing defenses Oklahoma has seen all season.
The Mansfield, Texas, product ended his day with 115 rushing yards on 17 carries. It was a milestone day for Brooks, too. With his day against the Cyclones, Brooks became the Sooners’ 11th player in program history to rush for more than 3,000 career yards.
“Honestly, I didn’t know about that until just when you told me. I mean, it’s a great accomplishment. Just being a part of those top players that came through OU from running backs to do that is pretty amazing. I give all my credit to my offensive lines that I have and the coaches giving me opportunity. I don’t really going into games thinking about that. I just try to go out there and have fun and play with my team, man. That’s what I wanted to do today and this is my last time playing at home so it was just like, man, I just want to go out there and just enjoy this time,” Brooks said.