|With Jake Knott's season over due to injury, LB A.J. Klein (47) will have to do even more for Iowa State's defense. (US Presswire)|
Kickoff: Saturday, Noon ET (ABC)
Spread: Oklahoma by 11
Watchability: It's not exactly a marquee game, but Oklahoma is very much in the Big 12 title race. The Sooners looked great in three wins before last week's home loss to Notre Dame. It's worth clicking to this game occasionally to see how they respond to that adversity.
Shining Stars: Oklahoma -- S Tony Jefferson. He doesn't have eye-popping stats outside of his team-leading tackle total (59 -- a full 23 better than the No. 2 tackler on the team, Javon Harris). But Jefferson simply is always in the right spot and brings a physical presence on the back end of the OU defense. He could make life that much more difficult for what has been an inconsistent ISU offense. Iowa State -- LB A.J. Klein. The strength of the Cyclones' defense has been their linebackers, specifically Klein and teammate Jake Knott. But Knott's year ended with a shoulder injury, depriving ISU of a senior who led the team in total tackles (79), tackles for a loss (6) and forced fumbles (2) while adding solid pass coverage skills (2 interceptions and 6 pass break-ups). That makes Klein, another veteran, that much more important.
Who could steal the show: Oklahoma -- WR Kenny Stills. His on-field demeanor showed how frustrated he was at the end of the Notre Dame game, as he spent an entire replay review in the fourth quarter jawing at an Irish defender. On the next play, he threw the opposing conrerback down to the ground, drawing an offensive pass interference flag to nullify a touchdown catch. If Stills can harness that emotion, OU's leading receiver (79.6 yards per game) could erupt for a big game. Iowa State -- QB Steele Jantz. Sometimes, it just takes a bit of confidence from the quarterback. Jantz probably didn't have much of that in recent weeks, briefly losing his starting job to Jared Barnett. But a big outing last week against Baylor, in which Jantz threw for 381 yards and five touchdowns, could change that. Can Jantz put together another strong performance against the much better Oklahoma defense?
You going? Ranking the road trip: The ISU fanbase seems to be growing each season, as a Jack Trice Stadium record crowd of 56,800 saw the Cyclones' Oct. 13 game against Kansas State. The success of coach Paul Rhoads has made football a bigger event in Ames, and big games like this one are starting to see larger crowds and better atmospheres.
Magic number for Oklahoma: 19-0. Since 2004, the Sooners are 19-0 in games immediately following a regular-season loss. Under coach Bob Stoops, Oklahoma has never lost back-to-back Big 12 games.
Magic number for Iowa State: 24. In the Rhoads era, the Cyclones are 20-1 when holding teams to fewer than 24 points in a game. In contrast, they are only 3-22 in games in which they allow 24 or more points.
The game comes down to: How does last week's loss impact the Sooners? Are they emotionally spent? Or are they set to prove they are better than they showed against Notre Dame? If Oklahoma can shake off that result, it can still compete for a BCS bowl and a Big 12 championship.
Prediction: Oklahoma 31, Iowa State 17
For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis from Big 12 bloggers C.J. Moore and Patrick Southern, follow @CBSSportsBig12 on Twitter. You can also follow C.J. (@cjmoore4) and Patrick (@patricksouthern).