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Matchups to Watch: Iowa State at OU

11/25/2011

Here are three matchups to watch when Iowa State visits Owen Field to battle Oklahoma on Saturday:

Oklahoma receiver Kenny Stills against Iowa State cornerback Leonard Johnson

In the Sooners first game without Ryan Broyles, Stills is most remembered for his key dropped pass on third down in the third quarter of OU’s loss to Baylor. The sophomore had six receptions for 75 yards but did most of his damage in the first three quarters with just one catch in the final 15 minutes.

Johnson is coming off a terrific game against Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon as he helped slow the reigning Biletnikoff winner in the Cyclones’ upset victory. The 5-foot-10 and 202 pounder has the size, speed and athleticism to matchup with Stills in man-to-man coverage.

Oklahoma defensive end Frank Alexander against Iowa State left tackle Kelechi Osemele

Alexander has been one of the most consistent defenders in the Big 12. The senior has 8.5 sacks and 17 tackles for losses this season as he has caused havoc in opposing backfields. With Ronnell Lewis out, Alexander will garner more attention from the opposition.

Osemele has NFL potential and will be a good test for Alexander. The Cyclones have allowed 21 sacks this season but Osemele is very athletic, especially for a 6-6, 347-pounder. It should be one of the best tests of the season.

Oklahoma centers Gabe Ikard and Ben Habern against Iowa State defensive tackle Stephen Ruempolhamer

Ikard has been very solid in the center spot with Habern out. Now that Habern has returned they have been splitting reps at center with Ikard lining up at both guard spots at times. Both players are key contributors to the offensive line and are keys to having success in the running game for OU.

Ruempolhamer, who has 24 career starts, is a solid anchor in the middle for the Cyclones. If he can get penetration and help limit the Sooners inside running game, it will force OU to attack the perimeter and put the football in the air. The ISU senior will also be counted on to help slow OU’s “Belldozer” package.