AMES, Iowa — Iowa State’s “moment” came in Norman Oklahoma in 2017.
Quarterback Jacob Park didn’t make the trip and walk-on third string quarterback Kyle Kempt started for the Cyclones.
Iowa State upset No. 3 Oklahoma on that day. The freshmen on that team are seniors now. They view that game as the jumping off point for Cyclone football.
On Saturday, Iowa State returns to Norman, Oklahoma to play the Sooners.
“It would be quite the finale to a journey,” senior tight end Chase Allen said. “That started it all for me as a freshman playing in that game. That was my first recognition of if you buy into the process and do things the right way, then it can pay off.
“We’ve seen how that’s unfolded throughout mine and coach Campbell’s career here. Being able to finish how we started it, that would be story book.”
Iowa State coach Matt Campbell has had more success than most coaches against the Sooners. He’s 2-3 against them in that time and he’s never lost to Oklahoma by more than 10, including his first season when Iowa State went 3-9.
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“We try to do everything in our power to give ourselves the best opportunity to win and what a consistent challenge it is going up against these Oklahoma teams,” Campbell said. “They’re well coached, there's elite talent, they do things the right way on and off the field, so it's a great challenge for our teams anytime we go there. And I think playing there is unique because it's such a special place to play with great tradition and great history.”
Campbell’s game plan for the Cyclones is simple. Defensively, get off the field on third downs and offensively, keep the drive alive and convert third downs.
Essentially, make sure Oklahoma has the ball for as little time as possible.
“I think that's how you feel when you’ve got to play these guys because what you're going against is elite,” Campbell said.
An important part of Iowa State’s offense staying on the field and converting third downs is tight end Charlie Kolar, a Norman native who wasn’t recruited by Oklahoma.
“I know It means a lot for Charlie to go home and play in front of his friends and family,” Campbell said. “It would for anybody.”
Campbell was quick to mention that while Kolar enjoys going back home, it doesn’t give him any extra motivation.
Kolar wasn’t on that 2017 trip to Norman as a player who was redshirting, so he didn’t get to experience the win in person.
Allen wants to remedy that for him.
“I want the home-town kid to go in there and wreak havoc,” Allen said.