The Big 12 has a reputation for scoring a lot of points and prolific offenses, and Iowa State and Oklahoma State definitely lived up to that expectation on Saturday. The Cowboys and Cyclones combined for 90 points, 880 total yards, and 43 first downs. This was BY FAR the Cyclones’ best offensive showing of the season (48 points, 465 yards), but what was maybe overshadowed (given Oklahoma State’s points) was that the Cyclone defense had 7 sacks, 16 tackles for loss, and forced 2 turnovers. Other than the 42 points given up, it was a fantastic day all around for the Cyclones to get their first Big 12 win of the season.
What Went Wrong
3rd Down Offense
The Cyclones offense was dang near perfect the entire game. Brock Purdy led the team up and down the field on a very consistent basis, and pressured the OSU secondary with deep passes while keeping the front 7 honest with zone reads. There was one aspect of the Cyclones’ offense that wasn’t great, and that was 3rd down.
Iowa State was just 3-11 on 3rd down (converted the lone 4th down attempt.) Corey Dunn came on the field 6 times in this offensive shootout, which isn’t always something you want to see. Particularly when your opponent is averaging 44 points per game. Having the ability to extend drives by converting on 3rd down is something that will have to improve when Heisman hopeful Will Grier comes to town next Saturday night.
Giving up big plays
Of the 6 Cowboys that had at least 1 catch on Saturday, 4 of them had at least 1 play of 27 yards or longer. With cornerbacks like Brian Peavy and D’Andre Payne, you obviously don’t like to see that other teams are having success pushing the ball down the field. Quarterback Taylor Cornelius added a 48 yard run of his own, which is something that cannot happen.
Obviously this play in particular was dealt with after it happened, as the run game for OSU was stifled after it. Still, something to note with how many of the Big 12 quarterbacks will tuck the ball and take off with it.
What Went Right
I could go on and on with stuff to put in this section, but I’ll try to limit myself... Here goes nothing
Where do I even begin with this guy. No, seriously. Where do I begin? Let’s start with this, 18/23 (78%) for 318 yards and 4 scores. On top of that, even his 1 interception was negated by the defense forcing a turnover of their own that led to points. Brock added 84 yards and another touchdown over 19 carries. I mean, look at this beauty of a run...
Everything about this play is gorgeous. The fake to Croney Jr. on the option, the fake “pass” to Milton on the outside, the high step into the end zone. He’s got a certain swag about him that is just awesome to watch. He made the OSU defense overthink every play, and he didn’t even have star running back David Montgomery in the backfield. He’s opened up the playbook so much, and the Big 12 isn’t ready. Buckle up Cyclones. This season looks like its going to have a Purdy run. (I’ll see myself out.)
Wide Receiving Core
Okay, so we all know about Hakeem Butler and what he’s capable of. The other receivers have been a bit of a question mark after losing Allen Lazard, Marchie Murdock and Trever Ryen from last year. This game was a statement from them. Deshaunte Jones led the team with 6 catches, Tarique “The Freak” Milton added 4, Butler, Eaton, and Croney Jr. (out of the backfield) all hauled in 2 passes each, and Akers, Seonbuchner, and Lang all added 1 of their own.
Purdy was able to distribute the ball across the field, and each receiver made great plays along the way. Milton (60), Akers (55), Butler (40), Eaton (26), and Jones (23) all had catches of at least 20 yards (shown in parenthesis), and of those 5, all of them except Akers scored.
Milton’s 60 yard catch and run (shown above) essentially iced the game, putting the Cyclones up 2 scores. The Cowboys defense was spread far and wide, but couldn’t cover all the threats Iowa State laid out for them.
Oklahoma State came into the game with one of the best running backs in the Big 12, if not college football as a whole. Justice Hill came into the game with 577 yards and 6 touchdowns on just 77 carries. An excellent 7.5 yards per carry. Iowa State held the star back to just 66 yards on 24 carries for an average of just 2.8 yards per carry. Hill did score a touchdown, but his longest rush was just an 8 yard gain. Outside of Hill, QB Taylor Cornelius had 46 yards on 14 carries, which sound alright, until you factor in the fact that he had a rush of 48 yards in the first quarter. 13 carries after that run for -2 yards? Sounds good to me. Chuba Hubbard added 2 rushes for 22 yards, and Landon Wolf gained 6 on his lone carry.
16 tackles for loss and 7 sacks were also strong points for the defense on Saturday. Getting that kind of pressure on opposing QBs and Backs will be key moving forward. Make teams one-dimensional.
Offense: A+ (Purdy good if you ask me)
Defense: B- (Too many points, but really solid up front)
Special Teams: A (Connor Ass Alley remained perfect (8/8))
Brock Purdy: Brocktober is here, ladies and gentlemen
Big 12: Still a points league