Iowa State’s homecoming game against Oklahoma State has lots to unpack. There are positive numbers that inexplicably fail to correlate with success, momentum swings galore, and ultimately, the end of Brocktober.
The Cyclones started with a bit of a delay. Similar to the fly over of Jack Trice Stadium that came about 45 awkward seconds after the National Anthem ended. The offense came off sluggish, and the defense let up big plays that Iowa State hasn’t for the last month.
Iowa State started the game with a rare three and out, only their 6th of the entire season which led the FBS coming into today. The first quarter itself turned out to be more of a defensive standoff minus one big play.
Okie State’s star wideout, Kylan Wallace, put together a 71 yard touchdown catch with two stiff arms along the sideline to seal six points.
Iowa State seemed to struggle with containing the defensive pressure early, and resulted in Brock Purdy trying to do a little too much. A few near interceptions, and failed third downs led to a mostly stagnant first quarter.
Greg Eisworth went off in the middle of the first quarter in what appeared to be an aggravation to his previously banged up shoulder. Eisworth wouldn’t return to play.
Towards the end of the first Iowa State found its footing. Breece Hall kickstarted the offense with a catch out of the backfield, and continued to lead the Cyclones down the field.
Breece Hall’s October breakout has been vitaly important to this offense. His ability to catch has elevated this offense up a tier from where they started the season. Hall has undoubtedly won the running back contest, and at times, has looked like the best offensive player on the field.
The Cyclone’s drive spilled into the beginning of the second quarter and was capped off by a touchdown pass to Cy-Gronk, Charlie Kolar. Kolar’s touchdown was his fifth of the season.
In the second quarter, Iowa State put together three good drives. But it only resulted in six points. Iowa State had 328 yards,doubled Oklahoma State in time of possession, and scored in every red zone appearance.
The defense, again, struggled with the big plays. Braydon Johnson exploded with a 50 yard touchdown, and Chubba Hubbard outran everyone on the field to cap off a four play 89 yard drive in less than two minutes for the Cowboys. The defense was being exploited and looked completely lost.
Also on a micro level with the defense, they struggled containing the edge the entire first half. Whether it was a screen pass, or a quarterback sweep, Ok. State found a lot of success near the sidelines.
Conor Assalley, and the special teams as a whole, was inconsistent once again. Assalley missed a 39 yard field goal with 2:30 left in the second quarter. A big stop from the defense gave the Cyclones the ball back with under two minutes to go.
Brock Purdy looked comfortable completing consecutive passes, puting Iowa State within striking distance. The lack of time left in the half, and constant pressure in the backfield from the Cowboy’s D line caused the drive to stall out.
After a last second shot to the endzone on third and three, Iowa State settled for a field goal going into halftime, this one being successful.
The first half wasn’t as bad as it looked. Penalties were non-existent for the most part, the offense seemed fine during the second quarter. The defense however looked miles apart than the bend-don’t-break defense Iowa State fans have been accustomed to during the Campbell era.
Iowa State needed a stop coming out of half, and that 4th and short thing was weird. Hubbard came up about six inches shy of the first down marker and it looked like the Cowboys originally wanted to stay on the field. They eventually retreated to their side line where it looked like a punt team ran onto the field.
Oklahoma State hoped to cause some confusion as the ‘punt team’ lined up quickly to run a fake punt QB sneak? Iowa State didn’t fall for it and lined up defensively forcing Oklahoma State to use a timeout early. And after alllllllll that razzle dazzle the Cowboys ultimately punted.
Iowa State couldn’t capitalize on fake punt-gate and were forced to give the ball back to the Cowboys. Then Mike Rose did Mike Rose stuff.
A near interception by Anthony Johnson slipped through his hands, but Mike Rose caught his shortly after and Jack Trice Stadium came alive in a hurry. Rose was tackled in Cowboys territory and momentum felt like it was swinging.
With a sellout crowd of 60,000 behind the Cyclones offense, Purdy didn’t take long to get the drive going. The first play was a completion to Chase Allen who was tackled deep in the red zone.
It’s automatic. It’s systematic. It’s hydromatic… why it’s Breece Lightning. Breece Hall carried a Cowboy defender on the back of his torn t-shirt into the end zone with him, and the Cyclones seemed to have come out of halftime alive and well. Iowa State opted to kick a field goal instead of possibly tying the game with a 2 point conversion, 21-20 Cowboys.
Play that Juicy Wiggle.
The momentum followed the Cyclone’s into the next defensive stand for Iowa State. Mike Rose once again coming up big on what appeared to be a third down sack which was called back and ruled a 15 yard facemask. Oklahoma State managed to get to the 32 yard line before nailing a 49 yarder pushing the Cowboys lead to 4.
The third quarter ended with Oklahoma State lined up for 40 yard field goal and Ammendola made his second field goal of the day. Iowa State’s defense looked much more recognizable in the third quarter bending, but not giving up any play over 35 yards.
The Cyclones marched down the field methodically, chipping away at the Cowboy’s defense as they did for the majority of the day. The drive opened up after a screen pass to Landen Akers who rumbled bumbled stumbled ahead for a first down after an 11 yard gain, and a facemask penalty gave Iowa State half the distance to the goal.
The Cyclones favored the passing game in the second half for sure. Purdy dropped back to pass over fifty times with ten minutes left in the 4th quarter. The run game was rolling early in the second quarter, but the Cyclones had all but abandoned that in the third and the start of the fourth.
Shortly after I wrote that, Breece Hall bounced it outside like two trailer park girls in an Eminem song for a four yard touchdown. Hall’s second touchdown of the game tied Joshua Thomas with the most rushing touchdowns for a freshman with seveon on the season.
Iowa State forced a huge defensive stop, ending in a Cowboy punt. The Cyclones got the ball back on their own 20 with a tied ball game.
The Cyclones were looking at third and seven where Purdy’s luck with near interceptions finally ran out. Malcom Rodriguez cheated the slant route and pick sixed the Cyclones puting the Cowboys up 34-27. Jack Trice’s pent up tension was deflated.
The Cyclones couldn’t put anything together on the following drive. Purdy overthrew an open Tarique Milton by five yards on the first play. Breece Hall tried to cutback and make something happen but had trouble getting back to the line a scrimmage setting up an all important third down. Purdy, looking to scramble, was met with a sack and the Cyclones sent out the punting unit.
The defense that was missing the whole first half came up big in the most important possession of the game. Chubba Hubbard had to get 10 yards and the game came down to a 4th and 1. Ray Lima would stop Hubbard short of the first down, giving Purdy one more shot at redemption.
Purdy completed an eight yard gain to Kolar setting up 2nd and 2. Some would say, Breece Hall has looked good all game, he’ll get you two yards. But the Cyclones look to pass, Purdy dropped back, and threw his second interception of the game.
The defense would bail out the offense once again, and the Cyclones got the ball back with thirty seconds. After one completion, Purdy would throw his third and final interception. Interceptions would end three of the last four possessions of the game.
This BYE week might be what the team needs to get back on track before heading into the toughest two games of their schedule. A shocking end to the reign of Brocktober.