The Iowa State Cyclones have had quite the eventful season here in 2017. They’ve won ugly, they’ve won shootouts, and have two wins against teams currently ranked in the top six of the Playoff rankings. On the flip side, the Cyclones also have losses to their equally intriguing in-state rival Iowa and a talented yet moderately performing Texas squad.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys of Oklahoma State have had a relatively typical season for Head Coach Mike Gundy‘s program. The Pokes have two double digit losses to each of their toughest opponents, last week vs now #5 Oklahoma and early in the season vs now #6 TCU. Outside of the two losses, Oklahoma State has beaten every opponent and have won by double digits in 5 of the 7 games with 3 of the 5 double digit wins coming on the road.
When the two teams face off Saturday, each will be ranked in the Top 25 as the Cowboys find themselves ranked 12th with the Cyclones landing at #24 after last week’s loss to West Virginia. The game will ultimately come down to how well the ISU defense is able to hold up, as star senior quarterback Mason Rudolph has the Cowboys averaging 45.3 points per contest. The 45.3 mark set by Oklahoma State is good enough for second in the country, first among Power Five schools, and is roughly 15 points per game higher than the Cyclone average of 30.6. As great as the OkState offense is, the Iowa State defense is more than capable of performing the daunting task that is slowing down the Poke offense. Allowing only 18.9 points per game, the Cyclones have already held both Oklahoma and TCU to at least two touchdowns below each team’s scoring average.
Although the Cyclones are a great story and a strong team, yet I have to give the nod to Rudolph and company. Mike Gundy’s squad has yet to lose back to back games and has also yet to lose on the road this season. ISU did take down both teams that defeated OkState, but I think that’s part of why I hand the edge to the Cowboys. With all due respect to Iowa State, I cannot see them handling all three of the top programs in the Big 12 in the same season. Mason Rudolph gets back on track and the Cowboys win, 41-24.