Game of the Week 9: Iowa State’s 2017 Upset of OU with Joel Lanning

(Photo credit Iowa State Athletics Communications)

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For the second-to-last Game of the Week presented by Revtown we are taking a look back at the 2017 Iowa State win over Oklahoma. This was the game where we all learned that Matt Campbell and Iowa State were here to stay. It was also the game that Joel Lanning played linebacker and quarterback and put on one of the most impressive displays ever. He joined me on the podcast to talk about his career and this game.

As a disclaimer, many might have expected me to pick the Iowa State upset of #2 Oklahoma State in 2011. That was obviously an epic game with massive, far-reaching consequences for the Cowboys. But there are two reasons I didn’t pick that game. First of all, I didn’t want to get into the situation with the plane crash that had killed the Oklahoma State women’s basketball coaches the day before. This is a celebratory series. But perhaps even more importantly, I didn’t want to do fluke games. I wanted to focus on games that changed the trajectory of the winning team as much as the losing team. The 2011 Iowa State team ended 6-7, the next season they were 6-7, and the next season they were 3-9. That win didn’t do much for them.

On the contrary, 2017 ISU finished 8-5 and at one point were ranked as high as #14 in the AP Poll. They finished 8-5 the next season as well. 

For the Key Play Breakdown, I could have chosen a number of plays by Joel Lanning, but the key fumble recovery in the third quarter is what turned the game around. 

Now, onto the game!

  • Date: October 7, 2017
  • Location: Gaylord Family Memorial Stadium, Norman, OK
  • Records:  Iowa State 2-2, Oklahoma 4-0
  • Rankings: N/A Iowa State, #3 Oklahoma
  • Final Score: Iowa State 38-31
  • It needs to be stated at the top that 2017 Oklahoma made the College Football Playoff
  • And had a 31-17 lead on Georgia at half-time of the semifinal game
  • They lost in Overtime
  • Baker Mayfield won the Heisman
  • And the Sooners had a whole mess of talent on offense
  • Iowa State meanwhile had lost to Iowa in Overtime
  • And to Texas by 10
  • So they were 2-2 but they had been playing fairly well
  • They were led by QB Jacob Park
  • You might remember him
  • I wrote one of my first ever Big 12 Bullets newsletters about him
  • LOL he left the team right before the game against OU and never played for ISU again
  • So the Cyclones headed into Norman to play #3 OU without a starting QB
  • Joel Lanning had been the QB up until 2017 when he was asked to move to linebacker
  • So Kyle Kempt, a senior with two career passing attempts, started the game
  • But Lanning planned to play both LB and some QB
  • The game started off like so many OU games
  • An early Fall, 11 AM kickoff cakewalk was on the cards for the Sooners
  • ISU hadn’t beaten OU since 1990
  • But ISU’s defense began stepping up and stopping OU
  • And, well, OU’s defense was…OU’s defense
  • Oklahoma led 17-3 at one point
  • And 24-13 at halftime
  • The game turned in the third quarter on a mistake by Mayfield
  • What are the two key ingredients for an upset?
  • Turnovers and missed field goals
  • Mayfield and Trey Sermon had a miscue on a zone read
  • Guess who was there to scoop up the fumble?
  • Our man Joel Lanning
  • The Cyclones went down and tied the game at 24
  • Oklahoma then missed a field goal
  • So ISU took advantage
  • OU did go down and score but only after Joel Lanning made his presence known again
  • Then it was Kyle Kempt’s time to shine
  • He led ISU on a game-winning drive 
  • Iowa State’s Allen Lazard was the best WR in the conference in 2017
  • So when they needed a TD, that’s where they turned
  • It’s kind of hard to tell from that but yes he caught it
  • OU would turn it over on downs and the Cyclones were victorious
  • Lanning finished the game with these stats
  • 35 yards rushing
  • 25 yards passing
  • 8 tackles
  • 1 sack
  • 1 fumble recovery
  • Since 2004 AP Top Three teams were 207-0 when leading by 14 at home
  • Three weeks later the Cyclones beat #4 TCU
  • But then lost in consecutive weeks to West Virginia and OSU
  • They went on to win the Liberty Bowl over #19 Memphis 21-20
  • And you already know what happened to OU
  • Listen to the podcast with Joel Lanning
  • Next week is the final installment of the Game of the Week Series
  • West Virginia will be taking us home

Buy a copy of my book to help you get over your fear that there may not be a college football season in 2020 (jk there totally will (idk maybe not (please I hope there is (stay safe out there everyone))))! I wrote this dumb thing 10 weeks ago and it’s still just as true today as it was then. 

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