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Schedule Preview: OSU Opens Big 12 Play against Rebounding Iowa State

The Cowboys kick off conference play with a trip to Ames.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

Oklahoma State’s 2023 schedule will be unlike any other thanks to conference realignment. OSU will play its last Bedlam game for the foreseeable future and four new conference foes in the final month of the season. Gone are the days of the round-robin format in the Big 12, which will make things hard to predict.

That being said, the Cowboys are predicted to have one of the softer schedules in the league this fall.

The Cowboys get Kansas State and Oklahoma at home, and avoid TCU and Texas Tech altogether. Three of the Cowboys’ five road games (including Arizona State in Week 2) are against teams that had a losing record last year. And that also includes probably the Big 12’s biggest disappointment last year, Iowa State.

Week 4: Iowa State

When: Sept. 23
Where: Ames, Iowa

Series history: 34-20-3

OSU in Ames: 15-13-1

Believe it or not, OSU actually has a winning record in Ames. The Cowboys have won four of five at Iowa State, but they lost their last trip there in 2021 — their only regular season blemish in 2021 — and then there was that game we won’t speak of 10 years earlier.

Being this early in the season, and based on the two teams’ projections for the fall, it’s doubtful that the stakes will be near as high as either of those examples, but I always get a bit nervy when the Pokes are headed to Ames.

Last meeting: The Cowboys defeated the Cyclones 20-14 in Stillwater last season. It was the start of the swan song for an injured Spencer Sanders who got to play second-half hero, leading the Pokes to comeback in the fourth quarter. It was also the only win in their last six games.

Iowa State in 2022: You thought the Cowboys had a rough year; Iowa State finished just 4-8. After going 3-0, including a rare win over in-state rival Iowa, the Cyclones finished just 1-8 in the Big 12 with their only win coming over West Virginia. The ‘Clones were dead last in the league in both scoring offense and total offense.

Iowa State in 2023: Iowa State returns experience at QB in Hunter Dekkers and some potential in incoming Top 150 passer JJ Kohl. The Cyclones return some other offensive talent like running back Jirehl Brock, who is back from injury, and wide receiver Jayin Noel, but that disappointing production led to an offseason overhaul of ISU’s offensive staff.

The Cyclones’ lone all-conference defender, Will McDonald IV, was drafted in the first round by the New York Jets, but Matt Campbell always seems to field a strong defense. The question is whether they’ll be able to put up enough points to stay in games.

Key matchup: OSU’s running game vs. ISU’s rush defense.

Despite their woeful year, the Cyclones ranked first in the conference (and 14th nationally) allowing just 107 yards per game on the ground, 3.2 yards per carry and only eight rushing TDs. The Cowboys, on the other hand, turned in their worst rushing performance in the Mike Gundy era last year. If the Pokes are going to start their Big 12 slate off on a happy note, they’ll need to figure out how to move the ball on the ground on the road.

Be sure to check out our previous schedule preview: Weeks 1-3

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