No. 9 Oklahoma survives late second-half surge by Iowa State

Nick Bromberg
NORMAN, OK - NOVEMBER 09: Oklahoma Sooners WR Ceedee Lamb  (2) out runs the defenders for a big gain during a college football game between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Iowa State Cyclones on November 9, 2019, at Memorial Stadium in Norman, OK.  (Photo by David Stacy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Oklahoma and CeeDee Lamb escaped with a one-point win over Iowa State. (Photo by David Stacy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Oklahoma almost suffered a crippling loss to Iowa State on Saturday.

The No. 9 Sooners gave up 20 straight second-half points to the Cyclones but stopped Iowa State on a two-point conversion with 24 seconds left to escape with a 42-41 win.

The Cyclones pulled within one when Brock Purdy found Charlie Kolar for a TD. ISU and coach Matt Campbell decided to go for two and the win instead of kicking the extra point for the tie. Parnell Motley intercepted the pass that would have put Iowa State in the lead.

How OU held on to win. (via Fox)
How OU held on to win. (via Fox)

ISU then tried an onside kick after the failed conversion and Oklahoma recovered to run out the clock.

The Cyclones got the ball for that final score after a brutal decision by Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts on the previous possesion. Hurts made a terrible decision to not throw the ball away on third down with less than three minutes to go. Hurts threw the ball down the sideline as he was rolling to his right toward the boundary and the pass was intercepted by Lawrence Wright who returned the ball to the Oklahoma 35.

The Sooners were up 42-21 with less than four minutes to go in the third quarter but the offense became stagnant after that. Iowa State chipped away at the lead as the normally dynamic OU offense committed two turnovers and punted the ball away.

Oklahoma needs to keep winning

The Sooners suffered their first loss of the season against Kansas State two weeks ago. A second loss of 2019 on Saturday night would have marked the first time in 20 years that Oklahoma lost back-to-back games. And would have doomed the Sooners’ College Football Playoff hopes.

Instead, Oklahoma is still alive in the playoff race. Though the escape against Iowa State isn’t going to look so great. The Sooners take on No. 12 Baylor in Week 12 in what could be the first of two games between the two teams over the course of four weeks if they meet in the Big 12 championship game.

The Sooners could end up higher than Penn State in Tuesday’s College Football Playoff rankings. But it’s hard to see OU any higher than seventh in the standings after what transpired on Saturday night.

Jalen Hurts, Heisman contender

While LSU QB Joe Burrow solidified his status as the top contender for the Heisman Trophy, Hurts showed that he needs to be considered too despite the bad decision late in the game. Hurts finished the game 18-of-26 passing for 273 yards and three passing touchdowns. He also had 68 rushing yards and two rushing scores.

The gap between Burrow and Hurts might have grown on Saturday given the impressiveness of LSU’s win over Alabama. But Hurts is easily the second choice for the Heisman at this point in the season. And could easily pass Burrow if LSU stumbles over the next few weeks.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports

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