116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
AMES — Breaking down Saturday night’s Iowa State-Kansas State football game.
Iowa State offense
It wouldn’t be an October football game for Iowa State without the mention of Brocktober.
Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy continued his yearly tradition of playing out of his mind two weeks ago against Kansas. He completed 17 of his 22 passes for 245 yards and four touchdowns.
After a bye week, tight end Charlie Kolar is confident Purdy will continue to be great.
“I think Brock just plays better in October. I think he’s just being selfish and saving it all for one month,” Kolar said with a laugh. “But seriously, I think some of it is that we do get better as the season goes on but it really is crazy, our October record with Brock. We’ve had some success this month because we’ve continued to get better and hopefully that’ll continue into this week.”
After the blowout win against Kansas, Iowa State’s October record with Purdy is 10-2.
Kansas State offense
Kansas State has some veteran weapons that have caught the attention of Iowa State.
First is 5-foot-6 running back Deuce Vaughn, who is just as likely to hurt a team as a receiver out of the backfield as he is running the ball.
“Deuce Vaughn brings a different dynamic to the game with just him being a lot smaller and sometimes it’s harder to find him,” ISU linebacker Mike Rose said.
The other weapon is quarterback Skylar Thompson.
“It’s probably not fair to say this as the opposing coach but he is one of my favorite players that we played against in this conference because he is tough,” ISU Coach Matt Campbell said. “From day one, he started as a freshman. He is a winner, he knows how to compete, he brings it. He’s probably one of the hardest competitors that we’ve gone against since I’ve been at Iowa State.
“I love guys that love to compete and they want to win and they bring it and he does.”
Iowa State defense
Iowa State’s defense often gets characterized as a bend, don’t break, keep-the-ball-in-front-of-you defense. And that’s fair. For the most part.
The Cyclones have been able to create pressure up front to speed opposing teams up. Rose leads the Big 12 with 1.3 tackles for loss per game and defensive linemen Will McDonald and Enyi Uwazurike are in the top 10 in sacks per game in the Big 12.
"I don't think you've never caused enough pressure, to be honest with you,” defensive coordinator Jon Heacock said. “You're always trying to find ways to affect the quarterback. And sometimes, the things that the offenses do also impact some of that. As we move forward, it's going to be how we can impact or affect those guys, whether it be mentally or physically.”
Kansas State defense
Add Kansas State to the list of teams that have changed their defense to Iowa State’s.
The Wildcats traditionally lined up in a four-man front and played quarters defense.
Now, they play a version of the defense Heacock created.
“They've played a little bit more of a three-down front and have been multiple in terms of what they're doing from a coverage standpoint and from a pressure standpoint,” ISU offensive coordinator Tom Manning said. “So there certainly has been a shift.”
Special teams haven’t been mentioned and, with Kansas State, it needs to be mentioned. Wildcats returner Malik Knowles has returned a kick for a touchdown each of the last two weeks.
He’s as dangerous as they come.
Iowa State-Kansas State prediction
Iowa State hasn’t won in Manhattan, Kan., since 2004, but if anyone can change the Cyclones’ fortunes it’s Campbell, a man who has already proven he can.
Iowa State 27, Kansas State 24