After the emergence of freshman running back, Breece Hall, Iowa State would travel to Lubbock, Texas to take on the Red Raiders of Texas Tech. Iowa State has owned this series since Matt Campbell took over at Iowa State (3-0 record, outscoring TTU 137-54), and entering the game as 7 point road favorites, there wasn’t really a reason to think this meeting would go any different.
What Went Right
Breece Hall, Brock Purdy, and the rest of the underclassmen
Iowa State had “The Breece Hall Game” last weekend against West Virginia... but little did we know that that game was only the beginning for this explosive freshman. Hall ran rampant on the Tech defense, averaging 9.6 yards per carry on 19 attempts, totaling 183 rushing yards and 2 scores (75 yards and 30 yards.) He tacked on 3 catches for 73 yards (long of 61) out of the backfield as a nice safety net for fellow underclassman, Brock Purdy.
Speaking of Purdy, he was excellent again. The one mistake he had was a forced pass that Tech intercepted very early in the fourth quarter. Aside from that, Purdy was phenomenal. Hitting open receivers, making smart reads, and putting passes right on the money for his guys to make plays. He finished the game 23 of 32 (71.9%) for 378 yards, 3 touchdowns, and the interception.
Purdy now ranks 5th in college football in passing yards, 6th in completions, 14th in passer rating, and 15th in completion %. Not to mention he’s now 6th in total offense at 340 yards per game. (He’s the only underclassman in the top 10.)
(Side note: Iowa State’s top 3 receivers (by yards) on Saturday: Milton, Kolar, and Hall; are all underclassmen)
Marcel Spears Jr.
Come on, Marcel... Where was the annual “Marcel Spears Pick-6 against Texas Tech” on Saturday? Alright, alright. It’s hard to criticize his performance as all he did on Saturday was lead the team in tackles with 12, 11 of them being solo tackles. He also added a tackle for loss and a pass breakup (nearly that pick-6 opportunity.) Whatever it is that Tech has done on offense the last 3 years, Spears is right there in the middle of it to blow up the play and lead the defense. Quietly, Spears is having a great season with 55 tackles (32 solo, 23 assisted), 1.5 sacks, and 4 pass breakups (his single-season high already.)
FAST START ON OFFENSE
Brock Purdy and the offense have had their fair share of slow starts this season. Saturday was not one of them. The Cyclones scored on 3 of their first 4 possessions, and the only failed scoring drive was a missed field goal from 42 yards out (kicking was not fun on Saturday...) A much better start to this game compared to those of recent weeks. Hopefully this is a sign of more good things to come, and not a one time thing.
(And how about this throw and catch?)
What Went Wrong
Oh brother... What’s worse than missing a kick? Missing 2 kicks. What’s worse than missing 2 kicks? Also missing an extra point. Obviously, we all love Assalley, and Narveson showed some promise last week in nailing a 45 yard field goal. But consistency is an issue, and the guys on this team have to get that issue fixed.
Any time a team in this league has more yards per rush than they do per pass, it’s *probably* a good thing. With Chuba Hubbard and that Oklahoma State offense coming to town next week, however, it’s a little less than ideal. Tech averaged 4.9 yards per carry on 34 attempts. If you take quarterback Jett Duffey out of the equation, Tech’s YPC elevates to 5.76. A tough number to be at a week before Hubbard comes to town (averaging 6.5 ypc.)