Minus starting quarterback, Cyclones stun No. 3 Sooners
IOWA STATE 38, OKLAHOMA 31 Kempt, Lanning help ISU end long series drought
norman, okla. — This Iowa State team is different.
Kyle Kempt passed for 343 yards and three touchdowns, including a 25-yarder to Allen Lazard that put the Cyclones ahead with 2:19 left, and Joel Lanning made plays on offense and defense to lead Iowa State to a stunning 38-31 victory over No. 3 Oklahoma on Saturday.
The loss snapped Oklahoma’s nation-leading 14-game winning streak and the Sooners’ 18-game run against the Cyclones that dated from 1990. It was just Iowa State’s second victory over Oklahoma since 1961, and the Cyclones (3-2, 1-1 Big 12) did it without their starting quarterback.
“There’s been a lot of adversity at Iowa State for a long time and there’s been a cloud around us,” Cyclones Coach Matt Campbell said. “I think our kids said, ‘I’m sick of it, and we’re going to keep grinding, keep swinging and getting better one day at a time.’ So at the end of it, here we are.”
Kempt, a senior who had thrown just two passes in his career before Saturday, played because regular starter Jacob Park went on leave for undisclosed personal medical reasons late this week. The Cyclones remained confident, despite having lost 20 straight against ranked opponents. Iowa State’s last win over a Top 25 team came against TCU in 2012. It was Iowa State’s first road win over a top-five team.
Lanning, who switched from quarterback to linebacker in the offseason, played both positions Saturday. According to the Des Moines Register, the senior is the first Iowa State player since 1971 to get significant action both ways in a game. He ran for 35 yards, passed for 25 and had eight tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery. He played 78 snaps.
“It was fun,” Lanning said. “Coming into an atmosphere like this, you can’t ask for anything better — especially playing both ways. It was fun. I can’t say enough about my teammates and what they did to help me out.
“It was a lot of stuff going on for me. I didn’t have my best game defensively, but we got the win.”
Iowa State got it going after a rough start and finished with 449 total yards.
“We should have been better than that today,” Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said. “Some of the old scars kind of repeated themselves today. Our execution as a whole was not good enough. That falls on us as coaches.
“We haven’t played well the last couple of weeks. We are just not making enough plays, and if you do that in this league you’re going to come out on the short end of the stick.”
It was the first loss for new Oklahoma Coach Lincoln Riley. Baker Mayfield passed for 306 yards and rushed for 57 for the Sooners (4-1, 1-1), but his Heisman hopes and Oklahoma’s College Football Playoff prospects took major hits.
“I think it’s a sense of complacency,” Mayfield said. “We’ve been talking about it. It’s not like it’s not been apparent. We’ve let teams come back in games and give them hope.
“When you do that to a team that has their backs against the wall — we know exactly how it feels — it’s something that you can’t do.”
The Cyclones, heavy underdogs, didn’t need tricks or a slew of takeaways to beat the Sooners. Iowa State got back in the game with 21 straight points to take the lead after falling behind 24-10.
It was the second straight game that the Sooners didn’t dominate as expected. Though Oklahoma’s offense purred as usual, the defense struggled against a team that scored just seven points against Texas with Park.
Oklahoma also struggled in a 49-41 win over Baylor two weeks ago. The defense that looked dominant in nonconference play has been leaky during Big 12 action.
“It’s just how it’s going right now,” Stoops said. “We’re not executing well enough. Whether we have too much in or not enough in for players to be able to do their jobs well and do it confidently — we certainly have to look at that as well.”
The loss could drop the Sooners out of the top 10. Iowa State is improved but a few victories away from being ranked.
The Cyclones did get to plant a flag — like Mayfield did after a victory at Ohio State — at midfield of Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.
Oklahoma running back Abdul Adams left the game in the first quarter with a right leg injury and did not return to action. The Sooners’ leading rusher heading into the day stood on the sideline in the second half with a brace that covered his right foot and calf. Riley did not have an update after the game.
Iowa State hosts Kansas next Saturday, while Oklahoma plays Texas in Dallas.
Playing both quarterback and linebacker, Iowa State’s Joel Lanning carries the ball, at top, and later sacks Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield in the fourth quarter, above.