As Iowa State redshirt freshman defensive back Isheem Young corralled OU quarterback Spencer Rattler’s spiraling pass in the end zone, history was in his hands while he lay on the turf at Jack Trice Stadium.
60 years of misery had ended for the Cyclones (2-1, 2-0 Big 12), as they beat No. 18 Oklahoma (1-2, 0-2 Big 12) at home for the first time since 1960 with their 37-30 victory Saturday evening.
The misery only continued for the Sooners, as they produced an 0-2 start in conference play for the first time since 1998 — when legendary OU head coach Bob Stoops was still Florida’s defensive coordinator — and added their first consecutive Big 12 defeats since 1999.
After back-to-back losses at the hands of Kansas State and the Cyclones, Oklahoma’s aspirations for a sixth consecutive Big 12 Championship were buried in Ames.
“A tough loss,” was all head coach Lincoln Riley could muster for the first sentence of his postgame opening statement. “I mean, a very, very kind of gut wrenching loss.”
The conference giant that made the College Football Playoff four of the last five years as a one-loss squad has now suffered two losses in a regular season for the first time since 2016 — Stoops’ last year as head coach before yielding to Riley.
2020 will most likely also be the first time Oklahoma doesn’t reach the CFP with Riley at the helm. Riley seemed dumbfounded at the loss after a week of practice in which he really thought the Sooners were ready to catch fire.
“I thought our team really responded to a lot of things we put in front of them as coaches all week,” Riley said. “I thought we had a very spirited week and really a very spirited sideline in our game. (We) had some opportunities, I thought there, especially in the first half, to really gain some separation. We were playing good ball, just not great ball and had some chances to separate against a good team on the road, which when you’re a great team, you take advantage of those, and we’re not quite there yet.”
OU was just the latest victim in a wild day of football that saw No. 9 Texas — Oklahoma’s next opponent — fall to unranked TCU, while Oklahoma State stands as the only undefeated team left in the Sooners’ conference.
The forecast for the Sooners’ upcoming game against the Longhorns indicates the contest won’t be nearly the marquee matchup it’s been in recent years. In each of the last two seasons, both teams have been ranked entering their showdown at the Cotton Bowl. The same has been true in 14 of the rivals’ last 20 regular season meetings.
But after 64-straight Associated Press polls in which Oklahoma was ranked, Sunday’s 1 p.m. CT update won’t yield the same result.
Despite another crushing setback, the redshirt freshman Rattler, redshirt junior center Creed Humphrey and junior safety Pat Fields — OU’s QB1 and two captains, respectively — were united in their resolve as they talked to the media about preparing to face the Longhorns.
The rest of an ever-evolving season amid COVID-19 is even more murky than it was before Saturday, but the boys in crimson and cream believe they’re capable of a rebound in Dallas next weekend.
“(We’ll) just prepare like we do every week,” Rattler said. “We had a great week of practice this week. Our plan is to have the same mentality going in this next week, just focus on what we have to focus on, get better at what we have to get better on overall as a team.”