116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
AMES — Quarterback Brock Purdy has been an electric player for Iowa State since he stepped on the football field against Oklahoma State in 2018.
The Cyclones won Purdy’s debut in a shootout, 48-42, with Purdy passing for 318 yards and four touchdowns.
Purdy didn’t look back the rest of the season, leading the Cyclones to the Alamo Bowl while passing for 2,250 yards and 16 touchdowns in 10 games.
The only issue with such a great first game and first season is progress can sometimes be difficult to see or measure, especially statistically.
Purdy’s numbers have essentially stayed the same throughout his career. He’s always completed about 66 percent of his passes, his touchdown to interception ratio has been about two-to-one and he’s consistently averaged about 8.5 yards per play.
The difference this season, however, is Purdy’s efficiency has been outstanding.
Purdy leads all Big 12 starting quarterbacks with a completion percentage of 74. The only game in which he completed less than 66 percent of his passes was against Iowa.
Purdy will try to continue his incredibly efficient season against No. 8 Oklahoma State at 2:30 p.m. Saturday (Fox) at Jack Trice Stadium.
“I think we're always chasing mastery,” Cyclone Coach Matt Campbell said. “I don't think that's ever a finality. I think that's a constant chase and I think what you're seeing from Brock is veteran-ness. I think you're seeing poise and I certainly think there's consistency there right now from him.”
Purdy credits the players around him for his efficiency.
Breece Hall takes a lot of pressure off Purdy in the run game and Charlie Kolar and Xavier Hutchinson don’t drop too many passes.
“When the game starts to get crazy, I don’t freak out because I’ve been in those situations before,” Purdy said. “I just trust my teammates, let the guys up front do their thing and let the game come naturally at this point in my career.”
But even before Purdy was in every kind of situation and when he was a true freshman just trying to make it through fall camp, Campbell and his staff could see something special.
“He had just a special quality that he brought to the table,” Campbell said. “I've said this a lot, the freshmen that have come in here and been transformational players, they’ve had the ability to show up right away in fall camp. They know who they are, they have great confidence and, to me, they're not overwhelmed with the entirety of college football.
“Brock, to be able to do that at the quarterback position, I think that's really special. We got to the end of fall camp and there was a buzz about, ‘Man, this Brock Purdy, he’s got something really special about him.’”
Purdy has been special for the Cyclones. But even special players have off days or off games. For Purdy, he said those off games tend to happen when he puts too much pressure on himself and he feels like he has to do too much.
When those moments or games happen, when he feels like it’s all on him, he goes back to that first Oklahoma State game three years ago.
Back then, he was young and didn’t know any better. He played loose, confidently and let the game come to him.
“When I go back and watch it, I just think, ‘Wow, I had so much fire and passion,’” Purdy said. “Throughout my career, there have been games where I’ve gotten lost and I was just trying to do so much to not mess up. Whereas in that game, I was just trying to give everything I had for my team and I didn’t have any ounce of doubt.
“Going back and watching that game, it does remind me that, that’s who I am as a player.”