Defense Responds, No. 12 Sooners Top Cyclones 26-6
November 26th, 2011 by Ric Hanson
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Landry Jones threw for 256 yards, Blake Bell punched in two short touchdown runs and No. 12 Oklahoma set up a Bedlam showdown for the Big 12 championship by beating Iowa State. Trey Franks finished with 88 yards rushing on two long reverses to set up scores for the Sooners (9-2, 6-2 Big 12), and Michael Hunnicutt matched his career-high with four field goals. Rebounding after allowing a school-record 616 yards allowed last week in a 45-38 loss at Baylor, Oklahoma held Iowa State (6-5, 3-5) to a season-low 245 yards and only let the Cyclones score after James Winchester’s snap sailed over the head of punter Tress Way in the first quarter. Oklahoma will visit No. 4 Oklahoma State next week with the winner earning the Big 12 title.
The Cyclones didn’t sustain a drive for longer than 35 yards and got their only points on Jared Barnett’s 10-yard touchdown pass to Albert Gary one play after Oklahoma’s botched punt. They got shut out the rest of the way, failing in their chance to pull off another monumental upset eight days after the biggest win in school history last week against then-No. 2 Oklahoma State. Iowa State hasn’t beaten ranked opponents in back-to-back weeks since 1974 and was trying to win for just the sixth time in 76 meetings with Oklahoma all time.
Each team turned it over four times in a game played in front of thousands of empty seats at sold-out Owen Field, with winds sustained at over 30 mph and gusting beyond 40 mph. The Sooners were able to find enough offense to win it. Bell scored on a 3-yard run and a 1-yarder, and Oklahoma settled for field goals on four other red zone possessions. After being practically unstoppable in the scoring zone a week ago at Baylor, Bell ran into trouble early on against the Cyclones. He was stuffed on Oklahoma’s first red zone possession, leading to Hunnicutt’s 20-yard field goal, and then threw an interception to Jake Knott the next time. But the Sooners kept going back to their third-string quarterback, who last week joined J.C. Watts and Jamelle Holieway as the only quarterbacks in the program’s history with four rushing TDs in a game. He scored on a 3-yard keeper in the second quarterto give Oklahoma the lead to stay, then smashed his way into the end zone from a yard out on the next possession to make it 17-6.
Hunnicutt added field goals from 28 and 36 yards to push the halftime lead to 23-6, and he provided the only points of the second half on a 21-yarder. Franks set it up with a 45-yard reverse, getting tackled at the 1-yard line before the Sooners’ goal line offense got stuffed. Jones failed to throw a touchdown pass for the second straight game and had two interceptions. Barnett finished with 125 yards on 13-for-28 passing with one interception, losing for the first time in four career starts. He also fumbled a first-quarter handoff to James White, after White had already fumbled on his first carry of the game.
The Cyclones also turned it over when linebacker Jevohn Miller muffed a kickoff that was blown around by the wind, leading to Hunnicutt’s third field goal of the opening half. Iowa State had its lowest yardage output since being held to 183 in a 52-0 shutout at Oklahoma last season.