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OU football: No. 13 Sooners hold on to defeat Iowa State 28-21 in home finale

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Caleb Williams

Freshman quarterback Caleb Williams gets cornered by the Iowa State defense during the game against Iowa State on Nov. 20.

No. 13 Oklahoma (10-1, 7-1 Big 12) defeated Iowa State (6-5, 4-4) 28-21 on Saturday in Norman, closing its 2021 home slate with a bounce back victory.

Freshman quarterback Caleb Williams completed 8-of-18 passes for 87 yards and one touchdown while redshirt junior running back Kennedy Brooks amassed 115 yards on 17 carries. Defensively, senior safety Delarrin Turner-Yell led the way with 11 tackles and an interception while fellow senior safety Pat Fields notched a clutch interception to end the game.

Iowa State started the scoring in a strange fashion. On third-and-18, quarterback Brock Purdy threw to wide receiver Joe Scates, who appeared to make a touchdown catch before sophomore cornerback D.J. Graham knocked the ball out of his hands and through the end zone.

Referees called it a fumble, but because Graham was out of bounds when he stripped the ball, possession stayed with the Cyclones. ISU took a 7-0 lead via running back Breece Hall’s 1-yard touchdown run on the next play.

OU needed only two plays to answer thanks to its young gunslinger nicknamed “Superman.” Williams found a hole for a 74-yard touchdown run — the Sooners’ longest offensive play this season — to knot the score 7-7.

The score remained deadlocked until late in the second quarter, when a big defensive play swung the momentum. Sophomore defensive back Key Lawrence punched the ball from Purdy’s grasp and redshirt sophomore defensive lineman Jalen Redmond returned it 42 yards for a touchdown. Oklahoma took a 14-7 lead into halftime.

Third quarter was a stalemate until close to four minutes remained, when Williams hit freshman receiver Mario Williams with a 12-yard touchdown pass. OU went up 21-7 and appeared in a comfortable position after Purdy went to the locker room in the concussion protocol.

The Sooners had a premium opportunity to extend their lead when ISU backup quarterback Hunter Dekkers tossed an interception to Turner-Yell. However, Williams turned around an interception of his own, tipped by one defender into the hands of ISU linebacker Craig McDonald.

Oklahoma’s offensive struggles continued in the early fourth quarter while Iowa State reached striking distance. Dekkers threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to tight end Chase Allen, making the score 21-14 before Purdy returned to lead the Cyclones’ next drive.

Finally, OU’s ground game broke through, as the Sooners used five rushing plays to travel 68 yards and increase their lead. Junior running back Eric Gray’s 7-yard touchdown rush put Oklahoma up 28-14 with five minutes and six seconds remaining.

Iowa State struck right back, however. Purdy's 2-yard touchdown pass to Norman native tight end Charlie Kolar cut the deficit to 28-21 with two minutes and 57 seconds remaining.

The Cyclones were marching upfield and threatened to tie on fourth down in the red zone, but redshirt senior nickleback Justin Broiles tipped Purdy's pass into Fields grasp for the finishing blow with 15 seconds left.

OU next faces No. 9 Oklahoma State (9-1, 6-1) at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 27 in Stillwater (ABC).

Sports editor

Mason Young is the OU Daily's sports editor and covers OU football. He was previously assistant sports editor and has covered women's gym, wrestling and former Sooners in the NFL. Email Mason at and follow him on Twitter @Mason_Young_0

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