Sooners schedule preview: Iowa State

November 3, 2012: at Iowa State

2011 record: 6-7 | 2011 conference record: 3-6 (Big 12)

OU’s all-time against Iowa State: 69-5-2

Top returners: QB Jared Barnett, RB James White, WR Josh Lenz, TE Kurt Hammerschmidt, OT Brayden Burris, NG Jake McDonough, LB Jake Knott, LB A.J. Klein, CB Jeremy Reeves, P Kirby Van Der Kamp

Key losses: WR Darius Reynolds, OT Kelechi Osemele, OG Hayworth Hicks, DE Jacob Lattimer, DT Stephen Ruempolhamer, S Ter'Ran Benton, CB Leonard Johnson

2011 statistical leaders (*returners)

Rushing: James White (743 yards)

Passing: Steele Jantz (1,519 yards)

Receiving: Darius Reynolds (695 yards)

Tackles: A.J. Klein* (116)

Sacks: Patrick Neal (3.5)

Interceptions: Ter'Ran Benton (3)

What they’re saying: “I think the most significant component of (the Oklahoma State) victory for our football program has been national attention. And you play that game on a Friday night at a point late in the season that affected the BCS race, and you got the whole nation talking about it all weekend long.

Now, that spills over, most importantly for us, into recruiting. And you go into living rooms and you go into schools and on the practice fields this spring and the Iowa State brand is recognized on a national level probably more so than it's ever been.” – Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads

Three things to watch:

1. The Cyclones are quickly building a reputation as a giant-killer. Three years ago, they knocked off Nebraska in Lincoln. Two years ago, they beat Texas in Austin. Then last year, they spoiled Oklahoma State's season by upsetting the Cowboys, which ultimately kept Oklahoma State out of the national title game. The Sooners have tougher opponents. But they'd be wise not to overlook Iowa State.

2. Iowa State's heart and soul is at linebacker. Jake Knott and A.J. Klein, the best 1-2 punch at linebacker in the Big 12, combined for 231 tackles last season. With other key returners back defensively, the Cyclones won't be easily scored upon.

3. QB Jared Barnett took over the starting job from Steele Jantz midway through the season and breathed life into the Iowa State offense. In the win over Oklahoma State, Barnett threw for 376 yards and three touchdowns, leading Iowa State from behind. If the Cyclones are to improve offensively, it will be because of the maturation of their sophomore quarterback.