116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
AMES — Iowa State got its season back on track Saturday.
After a slow start to the season, with two early losses, the Cyclones made a statement on Saturday by beating No. 8 Oklahoma State, 24-21.
Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy was outstanding from the first whistle. Purdy completed 27 of his 33 passes for 307 yards and two touchdowns.
“There weren't a lot of nice things said about Brock Purdy early in the season,” Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said. “Foolish. But whatever. I think all those people that said those not nice things about Brock Purdy should really look in the mirror tonight and say, ‘Boy, how grateful are we at Iowa State to have that young man leading this program?’
“And I think I've always felt that way. I don't think I ever wavered one bit. And what I will say about Brock, 'Who he is, is greater than what he does on the football field.' That's what makes him special. For him to be able to play his best football when we need it. Man, that’s awesome.”
Defensively, Will McDonald continued his magnificent season. The Big 12 leader in sacks got back-to-back sacks late in the fourth quarter to help secure the Iowa State (5-2, 3-1) win. He added five tackles and a pass breakup to his stat line.
“Will’s ability to be a playmaker and do it when it counts the most is really big,” Campbell said. “In some of the hugest moments, our A players played A football.”
Oklahoma State (6-1, 3-1) quarterback Spencer Sanders hurt Iowa State with his legs early, rushing seven times for 38 yards in the first half. He also threw for two touchdowns in the first half, including a 42-yard touchdown to Brennan Presley with 59 seconds left in the half.
Presley made a spectacular catch to haul in the touchdown by leaping over Greg Eisworth and Isheem Young to get the reception.
That was Presley’s second great touchdown catch of the first half.
To get the scoring started on Oklahoma State’s second drive, Presley made a diving touchdown catch to give Oklahoma State an early lead.
Iowa State responded with a 15-play, 67-yard, drive that took nine minutes and 35 seconds. Iowa State had it on the 1-yard line but wasn’t able to run it in, so on fourth-and-goal from the 1, Purdy threw to Xavier Hutchinson for the 1-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7.
The Cyclones were unable to run the ball for much of the first half.
Running back Breece Hall rushed 11 times for just 21 yards. Hall finished with 21 carries for 70 yards. He also caught two passes for 37 yards.
While the Cowboys clearly focused on stopping the run, Purdy took advantage, completing 12 of his 16 passes for 103 yards and the touchdown to Hutchinson. Two of Purdy’s incompletions were drops in the first half. The second drop was by receiver Sean Shaw at the end of the half. Had he caught it, it would’ve easily been a 15-yard gain, but on the play after the drop, Purdy was sacked.
That’s when Oklahoma State took advantage with the second Sanders-to-Presley touchdown to regain the lead, 14-7.
Hutchinson and tight end Charlie Kolar were Purdy’s favorite targets in the first half. Both had five catches but Kolar had 62 yards, while Hutchinson had 28.
On Iowa State’s first drive of the second half, Hall finally found some room and started the possession with a 28-yard run. Two plays later, Purdy ran play-action to Hall and found Hutchinson for an easy touchdown that was negated when Hutchinson was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for slowing down before he reached the end zone.
“I should’ve just run the ball in the end zone,” Hutchinson said. “It was a big game, so my emotions got the best of me a little but I didn’t think what I did was that bad. But maybe that’s just me being biased toward myself. I felt bad for the team, I felt like I let them down.”
If he did feel bad, Hutchinson made up for it. After the taunting penalty, Purdy went back to Hutchinson three straight times. On the last one, Purdy found Hutchinson again in the end zone.
“We talk about all the time, ‘Control what we can control,’” Campbell said. “Part of our building process has been, ‘Dream big, start small, be ridiculously faithful to what you're trying to accomplish and control what you can control.’ All of those things are great things to talk about, but man, can you do it when your butt’s on the line?
“I thought that was critical poise by him in that moment, and really Brock, too. Brock makes the elite throw in that situation and then it’s three great throws back to Xavier. I thought they were both outstanding.”
Hutchinson finished with 12 catches for 125 yards and two touchdowns.
During a stretch in the third quarter, Oklahoma State couldn’t stop Hutchinson and eventually resorted to holding him, which resulted in two pass interference penalties on back-to-back plays.
“It really felt like Steph Curry last night (Friday) when he was 9-9 (in the first quarter),” Hutchinson said. “That’s how I felt out there. I just felt like I couldn’t do anything wrong in the moment.”
Purdy loved seeing Hutchinson that confident.
“You could see it and you could feel it,” Purdy said. “He was getting all of this separation, he was making plays after the catch. He brought the juice and everybody just fed off of it. As a teammate, that’s the kind of guy you want to play with. It was awesome.”
And Hutchinson loved seeing Purdy play the way he did.
“I think we all saw the old Brock Purdy,” Hutchinson said. “A lot of people tried to say that he can’t put the team on his back. I think he proved everyone wrong. Big kudos to Brock for showing everyone wrong like he always does.”
Oklahoma State marched down the field after Iowa State tied it but stalled out at the 15-yard line. It was fourth-and-1 and Oklahoma State elected to kick a field goal but Cowboy kicker Tanner Brown missed the 32-yard attempt to keep the score tied at 14.
Iowa State returned the favor, only Andrew Mevis made his chip-shot field goal attempt to give Iowa State its first lead, 17-14.
The Cyclones continued their positive second half momentum with an Enyi Uwazurike sack, which led to a fourth-and-14 and a subsequent punt by Oklahoma State.
On the ensuing possession, Iowa State went for it on fourth down with a Purdy QB run but was blown up for no gain.
Oklahoma State capitalized with a five-play, 58-yard drive that was capped off by Sanders’ third touchdown pass of the game. This one was a 25-yard touchdown to Tay Martin.
Iowa State responded with a six-play, 85-yard touchdown capped off by a 4-yard Hall touchdown run. Tarique Milton, who has had a quiet season, put Iowa State and Hall in position thanks to a 33-yard reception off of a play action.
That touchdown sealed the victory for Iowa State.