Iowa State was coming off of what possibly was the biggest offensive explosion in school history, but really started slow. It was not necessarily 3-and-outs every drive, but the offense could not really sustain a drive, while the defense was just on the field too long. This was just one of those games that we are going to want back later in the season. Now, to the 3 things we got out of this gut-wrenching loss.
Brock Purdy Is The Heart And Soul Of This Team
The early arguments that Brock Purdy should be replaced by Re-al Mitchell are just outrageous. Sure, Brock Purdy did not have 500+ yards of offense this week, but that is no reason to count out Corn Jesus. Leading his team to a 20 point 4th quarter comeback, although not escaping Waco with a win, is something that Iowa State quarterbacks of the past were not capable of. Brock Purdy takes the captain title to a whole new level.
The dude has poise and can straight up make plays. He still threw for over 300 yards and is on pace to be the first 3000 yard passer since Seneca Wallace. Purdy is our guy and has proven he is the guy time and time again, so let’s do the Cyclone Nation thing and believe in our starting quarterback regardless of the outcome. We got what we got, so let’s trust the process that Brock Purdy started.
The Tight Ends Need To Be a Part Of The Offense
The tight end room in Ames deserves more attention. With guys like Charlie Kolar, Chase Allen, and Dylan Soehner, there is some serious athleticism at the tight end spot. With that being said, they need their share of touches. The first 2 weeks, they combined for just 10 catches for 104 yards, while the last 2 weeks saw them combine for 14 catches and 207 yards. Obviously, receivers like LaMichael Pettway, Tarique Milton, and Deshaunte Jones are going to get more attention than the tight ends, but these guys are more than capable of making big time catches when the receivers are being locked up by corners or safeties.
The Defense MUST Improve
I know this is three things we LEARNED, but we do not really have an answer for this. Is it the lack of forcing turnovers? Iowa State ranks 113th in the country in that department. We could easily chalk it up to the turnover margin because that is how Iowa State has won games in the Matt Campbell era, forcing more turnovers than we are giving up. Iowa State has lost the turnover battle in 7 of their last 8 games, and it shows time and time again that when the defense makes stops and forces turnovers, the offense feeds off of it and it provides the spark they need.
Another issue is third down defense. Teams that Iowa State have faced so far, are averaging over eight third down conversions per game, and converting on over 45% of attempts, ranking 124th in the nation. The Cyclones gave up a 3rd and 18 last week, and a 3rd and 21 against Iowa a few weeks ago. Iowa State must improve on third down sooner than later if they still have dreams to make the conference title game.