116 3rd St SE
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AMES — Iowa State’s defense turned in its worst performance in years on Saturday.
No. 22 Iowa State lost to West Virginia 38-31 in Morgantown, W. Va. The loss gave the Cyclones their second conference loss of the season and it makes any shot at a return trip to the Big 12 championship game nearly out of reach.
The Cyclones were without All-America linebacker Mike Rose, who went through warm-ups but was battling an injury last week against Oklahoma State and was unable to go against the Mountaineers.
The 38 points Iowa State’s defense surrendered was the most since 2019 when Oklahoma State put up 42.
West Virginia quarterback Jarret Doege completed 30 of 46 passes for 370 yards and three touchdowns. No other quarterback passed for more than 230 yards against Iowa State’s defense this season before Saturday.
Leddie Brown, the Mountaineers' running back, had his way, too. He rushed 22 times for 109 yards and two touchdowns.
West Virginia converted nine of its 15 third-down attempts, to keep its offense on the field.
The one bright spot for the Cyclone defense was Jake Hummel’s pick-6 in the third quarter to give Iowa State a 24-17 lead.
“That’s what’s hard about this game,” Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said on the Cyclone Radio Network after the game. “We made some outstanding plays but they made more of them.”
One of the outstanding plays West Virginia made was a 20-yard touchdown pass from Doege to receiver Bryce Ford-Wheaton, who made a great catch in the back of the end zone and tried to get a foot down in bounds. The referee on the field said he did and after review, the play stood as called. But one angle showed clearly that Ford-Wheaton never got a foot down in bounds.
That was the first of three controversial scoring plays that happened Saturday.
The second was a 22-yard touchdown pass from Doege to Winston Wright. This one was undoubtedly a catch and touchdown but the play never should’ve happened. On the fourth-and-4 play, West Virginia let the play clock run out. West Virginia coach Neal Brown ran to the official and tried to call timeout and after the timeout wasn’t granted, the play clock sat at zero for well over a second before West Virginia snapped the ball. The referees allowed the play to take place and West Virginia took advantage, scoring the touchdown.
The final controversial play that directly affected a potential scoring play was late in the fourth quarter when Iowa State was on the 2-yard line. The Cyclones ran the ball with Breece Hall, who was met at the goal line. The line judge who could see the play initially called it a touchdown but the ball came out at the end of the play and after deliberation, it was ruled a fumble, recovered by West Virginia.
The replay wasn’t conclusive enough one way or the other and the call stood.
“I watched the line judge signal a touchdown, and then it’s not a touchdown,” Campbell said. “I guess I don’t understand the mechanics of what’s going on. But we can’t put ourselves in a position where we let others dictate the outcome of the game.”
West Virginia was able to eat some clock before it punted the ball back to Iowa State.
The Cyclones weren’t able to drive the ball the length of the field and quarterback Brock Purdy’s last-second Hail Mary fell incomplete.
Besides the fumble, Hall had another good day on the ground, rushing 24 times for 167 yards and a touchdown. Hall actually opened up the scoring with a 70-yard touchdown run on the third play from scrimmage.
Purdy turned in another strong performance as well, completing 16 of 27 passes for 185 yards and a touchdown. While his passing numbers looked pedestrian, Purdy carved up the Mountaineer defense with his feet, rushing nine times for 64 yards and a touchdown.
“He is exceptional,” Campbell said. “What he’s doing over the course of this season is nothing short of exceptional. We’re not anywhere close in this game without him.”
Iowa State hosts Texas next week in Jack Trice Stadium.