116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
AMES — Breaking downs Saturday’s Iowa State-UNLV football game in Las Vegas (9:30 p.m. CT, CBSSN).
Iowa State offense
It’s no secret Iowa State’s offense has been more than a hair off. Running back Breece Hall has yet to really get going and quarterback Brock Purdy was benched in last Saturday’s loss to Iowa.
The Cyclones (1-1) need to get back to the offensive football they became accustomed to last season with Hall getting more than 100 yards every game and Purdy making plays all over the field.
“When you look at Purdy at his best, he’s spreading the ball around, the playmakers are making the plays and the guys are making the plays that they need to make,” Iowa State Coach Matt Campbell said. “Brock is a product of what the other 10 guys do. That’s how it is as a quarterback, right? When you look at Brock after the first few games, you don’t see the ball is going where it’s not supposed to, you don’t see him mishandling the football — I don’t think those things are happening. But I do think you see that with some of the other players that are around him.
“When you see Brock playing really well, you see him spread the ball where it’s supposed to be and he’s making really great decisions and the offense is flowing with great execution.”
UNLV (0-2) hasn’t shown much outside of two players through its first two games.
Running back Charles Williams has 212 yards rushing and receiver Kyle Williams has 114 of the 207 total passing yards.
The Rebels’ starting quarterback, Doug Brumfield, is hurt and may be out against the Cyclones. Brumfield has completed just 43 percent of his passes this season.
If Brumfield doesn’t play, UNLV likely will turn to former prized Ohio State and Miami recruit Tate Martell. Martell was the No. 2-ranked dual-threat quarterback out of high school, but he wasn't able to make it work at either of his previous stops and hasn’t seen the field at UNLV.
Defensive coordinator Jon Heacock said Iowa State is preparing for Brumfield, Martell or Justin Rogers, who has completed 50 percent of his passes this season.
Iowa State defense
Outside of a few nitpicks here and there — like a lack of turnovers against Iowa — Iowa State’s defense has been nothing short of outstanding.
The run defense has allowed just 1.7 yards per carry against two teams — Northern Iowa and Iowa — that like to run the ball.
“To me, it’s the leadership that’s coming out of that group, in terms of the standard of what our football team and program needs to look like,” Campbell said. “I would hope that’s how it would be. We have so many of those guys that are back. I really feel like that group has been in unison and lock-step through fall camp on. That group has been very healthy and we haven’t missed a beat, there.”
UNLV’s defense isn’t particularly stout, but it can make plays.
In the Rebels’ last game against Arizona State, UNLV gave up 465 total yards and 37 points. But, it does have an opportunistic defense.
UNLV got an interception against the Sun Devils, its third of the season.
UNLV also has forced and recovered a fumble. So while it’s not a stout defense, it’s more than happy to take advantage of any mistakes that are made.
“They’re really athletic and opportunistic,” Campbell said.
Iowa State-UNLV prediction
Iowa State needs to play well in this game. Not because that’s what’s required to beat UNLV — Iowa State can play poorly and still win this game — but because the Cyclones have yet to play well and they need to prove they can before the Big 12 season starts.
Iowa State 31, UNLV 3