The atmosphere at Jack Trice was electric and the team came to play to give the Cyclone faithful something to go nuts about. Matt Campbell’s defense was dominant, and Brock Purdy continued to take the offense to another level. Let’s dive into some things we learned on Saturday night.
Defense Was Lights Out
The West Virginia offense was one of the most dynamic in all of college football. They have a Heisman contender at quarterback in Will Grier, and were ready to put up some points on Saturday. Instead, they didn’t. The Cyclone defense was dominant, and plainly just shut down the high-flying Mountaineer offense.
The Cyclones held West Virginia to one offensive touchdown and 152 total yards of offense, which was 374 yards below their average. Grier had 100 yards passing and the one touchdown pass to David Sills. For the rest of the game, instead of throwing touchdown passes, Grier was running for his life as he was sacked seven times by six different players. West Virginia had punted a total of 12 times in its previous five games before coming to Ames, but Iowa State forced West Virginia to punt eight times through the first three quarters.
Brock Purdy’s Confidence Grows
Things started off a bit slow for Brock Purdy. Nerves? Maybe, but he shrugged off an early interception that led to a West Virginia score and took over from there. Purdy finished 18-25 with 254 yards and three touchdowns to follow up his impressive debut against Oklahoma State. He’s continued to show why he should be Iowa State’s guy moving forward, all while growing as a quarterback in front of our eyes. He flat out outplayed Will Grier, and showed his extreme confidence in his game the entire night.
Offensive Line Getting Better
This much-scrutinized group is finally starting to turn in the right direction with its second solid outing in a row, giving the Cyclone running backs plenty of space to run and Brock Purdy plenty of time to throw. The thing that sticks out to me the most is that this group is finally doing some of the small things right in a big way. I tweeted this early Sunday morning;
The O-Line has come a long way this season. Perfect example here, Collin Olson, Colin Newell and Josh Knipfel set the edge beautifully inside to spring Montgomery. Something simple but huge that wasn't done last year or early on this season pic.twitter.com/XtdJ1KYrO8— Matthias (@MatthiasWRNL) October 14, 2018
Not only are they getting push up front, but they’re beginning to seal off edges and create space and for a running back like David Montgomery, that just makes him all that much better. Some may contribute the running space to the legs and misdirection from Brock Purdy, but none of this can happen without the growth from the offensive line.