116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
AMES — It was “Groundhog Day” for Iowa State … again.
Same story, different year.
Iowa State couldn’t get out of its own way on Saturday at Jack Trice Stadium as No. 10 Iowa beat No. 9 Iowa State, 27-17.
But instead of De’Monte Ruth plowing over his own returner, Tarique Milton, to give Iowa the ball and the win like in 2019, that was the whole game.
Iowa State kept running over itself.
“As I told our team, when we’ve played really great in these moments during our tenure, we’ve had great calm, we’ve had great clarity to do our job and most importantly we’ve had great execution,” Iowa State Coach Matt Campbell said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t have that today.
“When that doesn’t occur, it comes back to the head football coach and his responsibility of how he prepares the football team to be ready for those moments and opportunities. I would put the onus on myself to make sure our kids are able to execute the way they need to execute.”
The Cyclones’ star players made the most pivotal mistakes.
In the second half, Iowa punter Tory Taylor pinned Iowa State at the 6-yard line. On the first play of the series, running back Breece Hall fumbled, which was returned by Iowa’s Jack Campbell for a 6-yard touchdown.
The series after the Hall fumble returned for a touchdown, Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy’s pass went right through the hands of receiver Xavier Hutchinson and into the ready and waiting arms of Seth Benson, who hauled it in for an easy interception.
While the ISU defense stepped up, Iowa kicker Caleb Shudak still put points on the board with a 51-yard field goal.
Things kept piling up for the Cyclones after that. Hall finally seemed to get things going after a few good runs but after a 2-yard Hall catch, Purdy’s pass was tipped by defensive end Joe Evans and intercepted by Matt Hankins.
Iowa settled for another field goal but at that point it was 27-10 and with the way the Cyclones offense was going, Iowa was going to win comfortably.
That was actually Hankins’ second interception of the game. He had one in the first half, too. Iowa running back Tyler Goodson capped off a 49-yard drive after the interception with a 4-yard touchdown run.
While Iowa forced four turnovers, Iowa State wasn’t able to force any. That’s winning in the margins, something Campbell preaches.
Iowa also got points off of every Iowa State turnover. Purdy was benched in the fourth quarter for redshirt freshman Hunter Dekkers. Purdy passed for 138 yards and three interceptions, completing 13 of 27 passes. Dekkers didn’t completely change the tide for the Cyclones. But he did complete 11 of 16 passes for 114 yards and a touchdown to Milton.
Hall was once again held in check, rushing for just 69 yards on 16 carries with a rushing touchdown — Iowa State’s only touchdown of the game. He was also tied with the second-most receptions (four for 24 yards).
“Whatever I have to do to get our team swung around, I will,” Campbell said. “The lack of efficiency on the offensive side of the ball has happened the last two football games and we’ve seen similar patterns.
“We’ve always been a team that’s been able to correct its mistakes and that’s probably my greatest frustration and that lies on me as the coach, not the kids. I’ll certainly take the blame for it. It’s not the team’s issue, it’s not the seniors’ issue — it’s a Matt Campbell issue and we’ll do a great job of getting it corrected.”
While the offense for Iowa State was abysmal, turning the ball over four times, the defense played well.
In fact, if the offense didn’t hand Iowa good field position after good field position, Iowa State’s defense easily played well enough to win.
Iowa gained just 173 total yards, including 23 in the second half. But the good field position the defense gave it was enough to put points on the board.
Iowa State’s defense was led by the usual suspects. Jake Hummel had eight tackles, Mike Rose and Zach Petersen both totaled seven and Isheem Young tallied six.
Goodson rushed for just 55 yards on 21 carries and Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras passed for just 106 yards on 11-for-21.
The one thing missing from Iowa State’s defense was a turnover or two of its own.
The Cyclones have never forced an Iowa turnover in the Campbell era.
“We beat ourselves when it comes to this game,” defensive end Enyi Uwazurike said. “We made a lot of mistakes we shouldn’t have. We didn’t do well at the turnover margin. That piece hurts as a defense. Hopefully we can take this one on the chin and respond the same way we did the last few years.”