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AMES — Brock Purdy is statistically the best quarterback in Iowa State history.
But his stats so far this season — 337 passing yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions in two games — leave something to be desired.
Purdy still is unequivocally Iowa State’s starter going forward, but even the best quarterback in a school’s history isn’t immune to bad games.
“I think he’s the guy to come out of the game more for his benefit than anybody else,” Campbell said. “It was a chance for him to take a step back, see what’s going on and know that some of these things aren’t going in his favor.
“Man, even the last interception, the guy’s wide open — he’s going to the right guy. But the (defender) sticks his paw up, the ball gets batted right into one of their guys’ hands. That, to me, it’s not on Brock. That’s on our line. We’ve got to do a better job of protection. We’ve got to make sure that that guy’s hand gets down and that’s a situation for him to be able to take a step back. Take a breath. Get his bearings right.”
Campbell reiterated to Purdy that two out of the three interceptions weren’t his fault — the second one went right through Xavier Hutchinson’s hands.
“I thought he had really good decision-making,” Campbell said. “I thought he’d probably like to have one throw back and it was the one where the ball kind of slips out of his hand on the big post, yet he still gives our guy a chance to go make the play, and we don’t make the play. Other than that, when you look at his decision making throughout the football game, he’s right where he’s supposed to be when he’s supposed to be there.
“I think it’s a lack of consistency around him and it led to a subpar offensive performance, globally, by all 11 players. From Brock’s standpoint, he’ll only continue to improve as the other 10 players around him find consistency as well.”
What Purdy has going for him is that he’s a senior.
He’s had clunkers before and he knows how to respond to them. It’s something that the coaching staff and players have noticed already.
“I think he’s been awesome,” Campbell said. “He was incredible in how he handled himself Saturday — it’s gut-wrenching when it doesn’t go your way. Some of the things weren’t on him as the quarterback, but everybody’s perception is that they are on him. The reality is, it’s tough to play that position. But he’s played it for four years. He knows how to handle tough times and I think it’s what has made him so successful. I’m really proud of what he’s done and what he’s stood for.”
Against Baylor last season, Purdy threw three interceptions in the first half and turned around and threw three touchdowns in the second half. Purdy didn’t get that opportunity on Saturday because two of his interceptions came in the second half, but he’s no stranger to the bounce back and he’s never lacked for confidence.
“We love Brock,” offensive lineman Sean Foster said. “He’s our quarterback. He’s probably the best captain I’ve ever been around and the best leader I’ve ever been around.
“You better watch out because he’s very confident. I have nothing but faith in him.”
His leadership is why everyone on the team has faith Iowa State will find its way.
“He’s such a great leader because of how he handles every situation,” Foster said. “You have seen it in the past — yeah, he may have a couple of bad throws but he comes back and is unreal. It’s all because he trusts the people around him. There isn’t a single person in this facility that Brock won’t go and talk to. He knows and trusts everyone.
“He’s the type of guy that you want to be the face of your program, he’s the type of guy you want leading your offense and he’s the type of guy you want to protect at all times.”