Do you want the good news or the bad news first? I’ll give you the bad news.
The bad news is that Brock Purdy’s last game in Texas was the worst of his career. Playing against the Longhorns in one of the biggest games in school history, Purdy laid an egg. With no help from the rest of his offense, Brock threw for 130 yards with one pick on 10 completions out of 23 attempts.
The good news is that Purdy had one of the best games of his career the following week. In a 17 point comeback, Brock was 20-27 for 337 yards and two touchdowns. The freshman had a lot of adversity thrown at him in this game and he responded in a huge way.
I think that the Purdy we saw against K-State, not Texas, will show up in San Antonio.
One big reason is because Washington State’s defense isn’t at the level of Texas. Don’t get me wrong, Leach’s defense is still really good, it’s just not the best defense ISU will face all year. Similar to a lot of teams Iowa State has faced, Wazzu is better at stopping the run than they are at defending through the air.
The best comparison for a system is Texas Tech, a team that Purdy played decent against. His stat line was really bad, completing less than 50% of his passes to go along with a bad strip sack in the end zone. However, he made up for it with a really good 4th quarter to seal the game.
Washington State is very aggressive and not afraid to send pressure, much like Texas Tech. The Cougars just executed a lot better throughout the season.
The first key to getting Purdy going is to get David Montgomery in a rhythm early. Despite the fact that Washington State is very good against the run, it’s important to get Montgomery going so they can’t put all the pressure on Purdy. If the line can’t get a push for David, the whole offense will probably take a hit.
If Montgomery plays great, it will open up the offense a ton and will allow Purdy to play with a little more freedom. That will certainly lead to the two biggest parts of Iowa State’s offense; the RPO and the deep ball.
The run-pass-option is pretty simple. If Montgomery is a beast, the defense has to add a lot of help. When there is more focus on David, it allows Purdy to scramble and do what Purdy does.
The deep ball is crucial because that is where Washington State is the most vulnerable. It’s also no secret that Iowa State has the best deep ball threat in the country with Hakeem Butler. When Purdy is hitting Butler on deep posts and fades, that is when the offense is hitting on all cylinders. Obviously, Purdy has to take advantage and hit almost all of these throws if ISU wants to compete in a likely shootout.
In football, every single players matters as much as the next. So it’s not fair to say that one player is more important than the other, but if Purdy plays great in his first bowl game, I love Iowa State’s chances.
PREDICTION: 27-34, 330 yards, 3 TD, 7 rushes, 69 yards, 1 Alamo Victory that will not be remembered by all.