OK St-Iowa St Preview
Ames, IA - Oklahoma State's Big 12 title hopes took a huge blow after Zac Robinson turned in his worst game of the season last week.
Bouncing back at Iowa State probably won't be easy, considering how the Cowboys have played in their last two trips to Ames.
Oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made Oklahoma State –7.5 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 88% of bets for this game have been placed on Oklahoma State –7.5 (View College Football bet percentages).
Robinson leads No. 18 Oklahoma State into its third visit to Iowa State in 12 years, with the Cyclones expecting starting quarterback Austen Arnaud to return to the lineup.
The home team has taken the last four meetings in this series, with Iowa State winning 28-14 in 2001 and 37-10 in 2005, the Cowboys' last two visits to Ames.
That may not bode well for Oklahoma State (6-2, 3-1), which suffered its first conference loss last Saturday, 41-14 to then-No. 3 Texas. The Cowboys fell for the 12th straight time to the Longhorns, the only unbeaten team in the South Division.
Robinson threw a career-high four interceptions and completed 15 of 28 passes for 143 yards. His lone touchdown pass came in the fourth quarter with the game out of reach.
"It's not all his fault, even though it may seem that way just because he is the quarterback," receiver Justin Blackmon said. "But you've got to keep your head up, and that's what we told him after the game."
The Cowboys would like to see Robinson play like he did in last season's 59-17 rout of Iowa State (5-4, 2-3) in Stillwater. He threw for a career-high five scores and 395 yards.
Robinson needs 75 yards passing to break coach Mike Gundy's school record of 7,997.
"Zac will be fine. Zac pressed. I've been there. I've done that myself, and so I have a pretty good feel for what he did," Gundy said. "We have complete confidence in his ability, and when you're a good player at any level and you don't play well, there will always be a question come up."
Arnaud was 20 of 35 for 240 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in the loss to the Cowboys last November.
He sat out the Cyclones' last two games due to a bruised throwing hand, but says he is able to grip the ball better now and get the velocity he needs on his passes. Arnaud has thrown for nine touchdowns and 1,246 yards this season while rushing for 434 yards and seven TDs.
The Cyclones split their two games without him, with Jerome Tiller getting his first career starts. He was intercepted twice in a 35-10 loss at Texas A&M on Saturday.
Iowa State leads the conference in rushing at more than 200 yards per game. Tailback Alexander Robinson is averaging 101.6 to lead the Big 12.
Last season, the Cowboys limited the Cyclones to 122 yards on the ground. Robinson had 68 on 15 carries with one touchdown.
"I don't think there's any question they're going to be ready to play and they're an improved football team," Gundy said. "They're playing much better this year. They've got guys that are making plays on both sides of the ball. I would think their approach would be very similar to ours."
The Cyclones remember how well Robinson played against them last season, and are hoping he won't be able to exploit a pass defense that ranks 10th in the conference.
"All these spread offenses in this league are better served with a quarterback that's dangerous with his feet as well as with his arm, and Zac is that," Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said.
The Cyclones may have a better chance of reaching the Big 12 title game than the Cowboys do despite their losing record in the Big 12. Iowa State, trailing Kansas State by one game in the North, can become bowl-eligible for the first time since 2005 on Saturday.
Although their chances may be slim, the Cowboys believe they can be a factor in the Big 12 race.
"We're just going to play one week at a time and worry about what we can worry about," offensive lineman Brady Bond said. "We can't control how Texas plays. We'll take it one game a week and we've got Iowa State this week so we'll go from there."
Posted: 11/3/09 4:22PM ET