For No. 9 Iowa State, Saturday's game at Oklahoma is an opportunity to make a statement, a proclamation that just because the Cyclones have beaten the Sooners only once in 40 years it doesn't have to stay that way.
Equipped with one of the nation's most exciting players in quarterback Seneca Wallace, Iowa State (6-1) starts a tough stretch of road games against No. 2 Oklahoma (6-0).
Wallace has a major job on his hands. Since 1962, Oklahoma holds a 34-1-1 lead in this series. What's more, it's the start of a road trip that includes dates against No. 8 Texas, No. 17 Kansas State and No. 23 Colorado.
''We want to keep moving, keep climbing,'' Wallace said. ''We know it's going to be tough to win on the road at four tough places. But we're going to see what we're made up of now and our first game is down at Oklahoma. If we go down there and fight and just play hard, that could set the tone for the rest of the three road games we have.''
Oklahoma is coming off an emotional victory in its traditional showdown with Texas and must guard against a letdown. The Sooners also need a bounceback game by quarterback Nate Hybl, who threw four interceptions against the Longhorns.
''Nate's not going to be perfect every game,'' coach Bob Stoops said. ''Has he been good enough to get us in this position, 6-0? I think he's played in a great way. Nate's a good quarterback and we feel great about him.''
Hybl's woes were in sharp contrast to Wallace, who had a dazzling game against Texas Tech last week. Most memorable was a 12-yard TD run that Iowa State estimated covered 135 yards when Wallace was finished zigging and zagging toward the end zone.
Oklahoma's answer to Wallace is Quentin Griffin, who ran for 248 yards and scored twice against Texas. It was the third 200-yard game of his career and he became the first Sooners running back to have over 1,000 career receiving yards.
In other games involving ranked teams Saturday, No. 3 Virginia Tech plays Rutgers; No. 4 Ohio State is at Wisconsin; No. 5 Georgia plays Vanderbilt; No. 6 Oregon faces Arizona State; No. 7 Notre Dame visits No. 18 Air Force; and No. 8 Texas is at No. 17 Kansas State.
Also, No. 11 Michigan travels to Purdue; No. 13 North Carolina State meets Duke; No. 14 LSU plays South Carolina; No. 15 Iowa is at Indiana; No. 19 USC takes on No. 22 Washington; No. 20 Penn State faces Northwestern; No. 21 Mississippi is at No. 24 Alabama; No. 23 Colorado plays Baylor; and No. 25 Bowling Green faces Western Michigan.
No. 3 Virginia Tech (6-0) is reminding observers of the 1999 team that quarterback Michael Vick led to the BCS championship game. Sophomore Bryan Randall has completed 65 percent of his passes and is avoiding mistakes.
''Bryan is doing some of the same things that Michael did for us, making some big plays -- athletically as well as throwing the ball very well,'' coach Frank Beamer said.
Tailbacks Lee Suggs and Kevin Jones each average 5.6 yards per carry and are on pace to gain 1,000 yards.
No. 4 Ohio State (7-0) is the Big Ten's only unbeaten team and looking for some payback after blowing a 17-0 lead and losing to Wisconsin last year. The Buckeyes have one of the nation's best running backs in Maurice Clarett, who is fifth in the nation in rushing, averaging 141.2 yards per game.
Ohio State, ranked fifth in the nation in rushing defense (79.8 yards per game.) and ninth in scoring defense (14.9 points per game), have allowed just two rushing TDs this season.
No. 5 Georgia expects to have tailback Musa Smith ready to go against Vanderbilt after a neck injury caused him to miss some practice this week. He was injured when his head snapped back after a hit against Tennessee.
''Everything is in and everything has been confirmed,'' Georgia coach Mark Richt said. ''We were just being cautious, being careful. ... he really was symptom-free from about five seconds after it happened.''
''I feel good,'' said Smith, who has 512 of Georgia's 671 rushing yards. ''The results from the tests came back and I'll be playing Saturday.''
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