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AMES — Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy made his debut last season against Oklahoma State.
After the first series, Iowa State football coach Matt Campbell pulled Zeb Noland in favor of Purdy.
Oklahoma State Coach Mike Gundy said Monday at Big 12 Media Days he and his team had no idea what to expect from Purdy.
'We didn't know anything about him,' Gundy said. 'We certainly didn't expect for him to get into the game.'
Purdy had only played one snap before that game, which was a designed run for minus-1 yard against Akron.
Purdy lit up Gundy's defense in Stillwater, Okla., to the tune of five total touchdowns — four passing and one rushing — with 318 yards passing while completing 18 of his 23 attempts. He also was Iowa State's leading rusher that game, running for 84 yards.
Iowa State needed every bit of Purdy's production to win, 48-42.
That game, and the move to Purdy, propelled Iowa State to its 7-2 finish.
It's safe to say Gundy will know what to expect from Purdy this season in Ames.
What Gundy has to figure out is who his quarterback will be after Taylor Cornelius graduated.
The battle is between redshirt freshman Spencer Sanders and redshirt senior Dru Brown.
Sanders hasn't seen the field yet, but he comes in as a highly-rated prospect. He was the 2017-18 Gatorade Player of the year in Texas and a consensus top-10 dual-threat quarterback in his recruiting class.
Brown is a transfer from Hawaii who also sat out last season. As a junior at Hawaii in 2017, Brown was named a team captain and threw for 2,785 yards, 18 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Oklahoma State also lost one of the most electrifying running backs in the Big 12 in Justice Hill, who declared for the NFL Draft.
Hill rushed for 930 yards and nine touchdowns on 158 attempts in 10 games.
The Cowboys return redshirt sophomore Chuba Hubbard. As a freshman, Hubbard rushed for 766 yards and seven touchdowns on 124 attempts. Hubbard also proved to be a threat in the passing game, catching 22 passes for 229 yards and two touchdowns.
Oklahoma State returns maybe the best receiver in the Big 12 in Tylan Wallace.
Wallace caught 86 passes for 1,491 yards and 12 touchdowns en route to being named a first-team All-American by Sporting News and ESPN as a sophomore. Whoever wins the quarterback battle will have a very capable receiver to work with.
On the defensive side of the ball, Oklahoma State was bad.
The Cowboys gave up the second most points (32.5) and the second most yards (452) in the conference. The one bright spot was the pass rush. Oklahoma State finished 10th nationally in total sacks with 39.
'Our system is going to stay the same,' Gundy said during media days. 'Hopefully we can play it better. We need to be a more disciplined defensive football team. I think coach (Jim) Knowles' second year (as defensive coordinator) will give him a better feel for this league. It's different in our conference, with the willingness of head coaches and offensive coordinators trying to score every play, and I think coach Knowles understands that maybe more so than last year.
'You kind of get into a groove in this league and figure it out, but we're going to run the same plays, hopefully we will be better at executing those plays.'
Way-too early prediction: Oklahoma State appears to have two good options at quarterback and it has two all-Big 12/All-America caliber skill position players returning in Hubbard and Wallace. Where the Cowboys finish in the Big 12 will be determined by how the quarterbacks handle Power-5 play and whether or not the defense can get some consistency and not be boom or bust.
I like Gundy's team this year. It was picked to finish fifth in the Big 12, just behind TCU.
This could be a slip-up game for Campbell and the Cyclones with the likes of Oklahoma and Texas up next. But Campbell's teams don't often (if ever) look past an opponent. And, last I checked, this game is being played in the month of October and over the last two seasons, Campbell is 7-0 in October with three wins against teams ranked in the top six and four wins against top-25 teams.
Campbell knows what he's doing in October and he'll have the Cyclones playing good football. Iowa State wins this one by a touchdown.
Iowa State football look ahead
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