AMES, Iowa (AP) — At times it felt as though it might happen all over again to Oklahoma, which couldn’t shake pesky Iowa State for the second consecutive year.
This time the Sooners survived — thanks to an All-America-type performance from their new star quarterback.
Kyler Murray threw for 348 yards and three touchdowns and the fifth-ranked Sooners held off Iowa State 37-27 on Saturday in the Big 12 opener for both teams.
Marquise Brown had 191 yards receiving and a TD for the Sooners (3-0, 1-0 Big 12), who extended the nation’s longest road winning streak to 17 games while avenging a stunning home loss to the Cyclones a year ago.
“This is one before the season you kind of circle a little bit,” Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said. “Not because of what happened last year, but you just knew with the way the schedule fell this was going to be critical. Third game, lot of new guys, tough venue, tough opponent, first Big 12 game. There was just a lot riding on this game. Our guys rose up and made the big plays when it counted.”
Iowa State (0-2, 0-1) didn’t make it easy for the Sooners, rallying from a 14-point deficit to make it 34-27 late in the third quarter. But the Sooners killed nearly eight minutes on a drive that ended with a 42-yard field goal from Austin Seibert with 2:51 left, and Parnell Motley’s interception with 1:11 to go sealed it.
Backup Zeb Noland threw for a career-high 360 yards and a pair of long touchdown passes to Hakeem Butler for the Cyclones (0-2, 0-1), who were without starting quarterback Kyle Kempt (knee).
Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said Kempt will also miss next week’s game. Noland showed he’s more than capable in a relief role.
“I thought we settled in,” Campbell said. “I thought we played much better in the second half than the first half.”
Oklahoma: Murray, who was 21 of 29 passing while running for a team-high 77 yards, breezed through his first start on the road against a conference opponent — and he and Brown looked like one of the most dangerous duos in the country. “That kid is really special,” Campbell said of Murray. But the Sooners have to be a bit concerned about their defense, which had no answer for the 6-foot-6 Butler.
Iowa State: The Cyclones’ offense showed some life after a dismal showing last week in a 13-3 loss to Iowa, led by Butler’s 174 yards receiving on five catches. But what should be troubling for the rest of the Big 12 is that this was a pretty good defense that Murray and the Sooners carved up. Oklahoma gained 519 yards against the Cyclones, who allowed just 20.9 points a game in 2017.
Saturday was Oklahoma’s first game without star back Rodney Anderson, who is out for the season with a knee injury. Murray led the way with 15 carries and Trey Sermon gained 74 yards on 13 attempts, including a 22-yard TD run to put the Sooners up 31-17. Marcelias Sutton had 21 yards on nine carries, including an impressive leap over an Iowa State defender, but was shaken up in the second half on a hard tackle.
Iowa State woke up a near-sellout crowd when Butler broke four tackles on his way to a 51-yard TD reception early in the second quarter — one play after the Cyclones forced a fumble and recovered it. Oklahoma didn’t flinch, instead marching 75 yards in 10 plays in a drive capped when Murray found CeeDee Lamb for a 5-yard TD. The Sooners did it again to close the half, going 74 yards in 10 plays to make it a 24-10 game at halftime on another TD pass from Murray. “He continues to have a good feel. He’s always looking to throw it. When he has to (run), he’s dynamic,” Riley said.
David Montgomery ran for 82 yards on 21 tries for Iowa State. … Seibert was a difference maker, hitting three field goals and blasting two punts for an average of 48.5 yards. …Oklahoma was 5 of 5 in the red zone. …The Sooners improved to 75-6-2 against the Cyclones in the most lopsided series in Division I. …Brown had 189 of his yards in the first two quarters, setting a school record for a half.
HE SAID IT
“When he’s doing that to other people, I’m not surprised. He’s not going to get hit. He’s way too elusive, he’s way too smart. He knows how to read defenses. It’s showing up in his play,” Oklahoma linebacker Curtis Bolton on Murray.
Oklahoma hosts Army next week in its final nonconference game.
Akron visits Iowa State next Saturday.