With Brock Purdy returning for his sophomore season and a talented Re-al Mitchell waiting in the wings, much was expected of this position for the Cyclones in 2019. Brock Purdy compiled some terrific stats in 2018, going 146 for 220 (66.4%) for 2,250 yards with 16 touchdowns and 7 interceptions.
Re-Al Mitchell, the talented redshirt freshman from California, was expected to play in gadget formations such as the one witnessed in the 2018 Alamo Bowl. Behind Mitchell, redshirt senior John Kolar was brought in from Oklahoma State to be the 3rd string quarterback.
The 2019 Season:
With newfound (and shocking) stability at quarterback, the only real lingering questions entering the season were who the backup would be, how Brock Purdy would be used, and would Brock Purdy undergo a “sophomore slump”.
Let’s dive into those three questions.
The answer at backup quarterback, while thankfully rarely being needed, turned out to be Re-al Mitchell. Re-al only saw playing time at the end of two blowout games: a home win against Louisiana-Monroe and the bowl game fiasco against Notre Dame.
For the most part, Mitchell showed flashes of excellence in limited action. Highlights included some nifty rushing moves that led to a touchdown in the UL-Monroe game and a beautiful pass down the seam to Sean Shaw Jr..
In terms of the “sophomore slump” for Brock Purdy, number 15 showed all season long that getting more film on him does not make him easier to defend against.
Despite the disappointing finish to the season overall, Brock Purdy had undoubtedly the best single season any Cyclone quarterback has ever had. A game by game recap shows remarkable consistency, until the end of the season that is.
Despite a tough opener against UNI, Purdy had spectacular numbers and was great late in the game. Against Iowa, Purdy by and large out-played Nate Stanley despite taking the loss in the game. The Baylor game was a struggle for 3 quarters, but Brock Purdy poured it on late, putting up 3 late touchdowns en route to briefly taking the lead.
The next 7 games were excellent for Brock Purdy. With the exception of the Oklahoma State game, which saw Purdy throw 3 late picks, number 15 excelled, especially late in games (see the Oklahoma or Kansas games). The end of the season saw a definite tail-off in his performance, however, which we will discuss later.
Brock Purdy Full-Season Totals:
312-475 (65.7%), 3982 yards (8.4 average), 27 touchdowns and 9 interceptions, passer rating of 151.1.
93 rushing attempts for 249 yards (2.7 average) for 8 touchdowns with a long rush of 44 yards.
Previewing the 2020 Season:
For the second season in a row (and for what feels like the first time ever), there should be very little controversy when it comes to the quarterback position. Brock Purdy will return as the starter, so let’s discuss him first.
Through two seasons at the helm, his talent and poise make him one of the most dangerous quarterbacks in the country. Without the weapons that were David Montgomery and Hakeem Butler, Purdy embraced the role of being the best player of the offense with aplomb.
Yet the way in which Tom Manning and the ISU offense utilizes Purdy has not been calcified. In 2018, Brock used his legs and creativity to create big plays for the offense on the ground and in the air. In 2019, we saw Brock Purdy transition into a “pocket-passer” only role, rarely using his legs regardless of the down and distance.
While keeping your best offensive player healthy is obviously important, and Purdy put up incredible offensive numbers, that unit did come up short in key spots, especially in the latter part of the season. While some of that could have been due to play calling, Tom Manning and the staff definitely need to iron out Purdy’s playing style moving forward.
Predicting the 2020 Depth Chart:
With John Kolar moving on, and Easton Dean moving to tight end, we may see some shake-ups on the depth chart, especially if this department suffers any additional attrition via transfer or position change. Two extremely talented newcomers will be joining the program as true freshman as well.
- Brock Purdy
- Re-al Mitchell
- Aidan Bouman
- Hunter Dekkers