116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
AMES — Brock Purdy stood in a corner.
Three reporters remained as the standout Iowa State quarterback spoke in the aftermath of a 48-14 regular season-closing win over TCU at Jack Trice Stadium.
Purdy smiled and spoke freely; basking in the moment, eager to talk of the future.
“I’m gonna cherish every single day I have with the guys moving forward,” said Purdy, who will lead the Cyclones onto the field one last time at 4:45 p.m. Wednesday against No. 19 Clemson in the Cheez-It Bowl in Orlando, Fla. “I understand that it’s not gonna last forever, but I want to continue to just show the guys after me, ‘Hey, this is how we can do it. This is how you guys can do it better and take this place to another level.’
“That’s gonna be our job. That’s our goal and continue to love one another.”
Purdy’s willingness to discuss what ISU would and should look like after he’s left to pursue his dream of playing in the NFL highlights the selflessness he brought to the program.
No Cyclone quarterback won more games and only one, Bret Meyer, is somewhat close. Purdy enters Wednesday’s game against the Tigers with 30 wins. Meyer won 21 from 2004-07. No other ISU quarterback has more than 15 career wins.
So Purdy, the owner of 32 school records, could certainly dwell on what he’s done, but instead he’s hyper-focused on what’s to come — in the handful of remaining practices, Wednesday’s game, and beyond.
“We’re gonna have guys that are gonna have the ability to step up and have a great opportunity to show our own team what they can do for us,” Purdy said. “We’re excited about that. We’re gonna be just fine. All the guys in the receiving room have experience of getting on the field and playing, so it’s gonna be a good challenge for them to go against the top (defensive backs) in the nation at Clemson, and I know they’re gonna be ready for that challenge as well.
“So I’m actually excited for who we’re going to be going up against and the guys that have these new opportunities in front of them. It’s gonna be cool.”
One of those guys?
Tailback Jirehl Brock, who will start against Clemson because consensus two-time All-American Breece Hall has opted to sit out the bowl game and forgo his senior season to prepare for the 2022 NFL Draft.
Brock has chipped in primarily as ISU’s third down back. The sophomore from Quincy, Ill., also has rushed 23 times for 132 yards and a touchdown this season, and Hall doesn’t expect there to be much drop-off in production despite the backfield change.
“I haven’t really seen too many people as powerful as him, as good of a pass blocker as him, and when he wants to he can run the ball just as good as me,” Hall said. “I have the highest of expectations for him and I know he has the highest expectations for himself.”
A handful of other young, if not entirely new, players will have heightened roles in the bowl game, as well.
Beau Freyler will make his first start as middle safety in place of Isheem Young, who was one of several Cyclones to enter the transfer portal after the regular season ended.
ISU’s coaches and players are high on Freyler, a true freshman, who already earned significant snaps throughout the season.
He and the other “new guys” also have caught the eye of Purdy, who will savor his final 60 minutes of football in a Cyclone uniform. That finite measure of time will mark what remains of his ISU future — and it’s all he’ll be focused on once the first snap taken starts the countdown to last.
“We have a really mature team,” Purdy said. “We understand what we have to do for this game. And not only that, but we’re still trying to put a great statement to the end of the season for the senior class. So we have a lot that we’re playing for in this game and we’re excited for (it).”