Iowa State Cyclones

Breece Hall cleans up fumbles, carries Iowa State offense against TCU

He rushed for 154 yards and 3 TDs in 37-34 win

Iowa State running back Breece Hall (28) is congratulated by wide receiver Xavier Hutchinson (8) after scoring a touchdo
Iowa State running back Breece Hall (28) is congratulated by wide receiver Xavier Hutchinson (8) after scoring a touchdown during an NCAA football game against TCU on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Brandon Wade/Associated Press)

AMES — Breece Hall has been Iowa State’s most reliable form of offense through the first two games of the season.

In Iowa State’s 37-34 win against TCU on Saturday, Hall rushed 18 times for 154 yards and three touchdowns.

Against Louisiana on Sept. 12, Hall had 20 rushing attempts for 106 yards and one touchdown.

The difference in the two games in Iowa State Coach Matt Campbell’s eyes was the fact the sophomore running back didn’t fumble against TCU.

“It was a good game from him this week because the ball wasn’t on the ground,” Campbell said. “Breece is super talented and he took some of the areas where he needed to be better and he got better. You saw good growth from Breece against what we know is an elite defense. He was outstanding.”

The two areas of growth Campbelled mentioned were pass protection and the aforementioned ball security.

TCU is a team that loves to blitz and Hall did a much better job picking up the pass rush. TCU had just two sacks against quarterback Brock Purdy who completed 18 of 23 passes for 211 yards and a touchdown.

But Hall makes his hypothetical money running the ball, not protecting Purdy. He had two 30-plus yard rushing touchdowns, including a 75-yard touchdown run in the second quarter that opened up the scoring.

“I felt like after that, we got really comfortable,” Hall said. “That run gave us a spark and our defense helped us out as well with them getting stops and being consistent.”

Anytime a running back has a big game, the offensive line often has a lot to do with it.

Iowa State was without Trevor Downing but freshman Darrell Simmons, who Campbell and staff have raved about, filled in very well.

“I have a lot of confidence in all of our offensive linemen,” Hall said “It sucks that Trevor couldn’t play but we had that next-man-up mentality. Today Darrell Simmons stepped in and he played a really good game.”

The offensive line wasn’t just opening up holes for Hall to score three touchdowns. It also allowed Kene Nwangwu to score his second touchdown in as many weeks. His score on Saturday was a 49-yard run.

“Kene’s a speedster so I saw him come out of the hole, he beat the corner to the edge and he was gone,” Hall said. “Once he gets through the defensive line, he can be gone at any time.”

Iowa State (1-1, 1-0) hosts No. 18 Oklahoma (1-1, 0-1) at 6:30 p.m. Saturday (ABC). The Sooners just lost to Kansas State on Saturday. And the Cyclones may have found their offensive formula just in time to host the always-dangerous Sooners.

“What’s fun is our success came in the running game, which had some positive things happen in the first week,” Campbell said. “Then we lose a great player like Trevor Downing two weeks ago but you saw us continue to respond today.

“With the shortened preparation we’ve had because of this offseason, it’s going to take a little bit longer for the offenses to get going. Especially in our world where we have so many new guys in new positions. The world sees Brock Purdy and Breece Hall and everybody is ready to claim you king. But the reality is, we have a lot of new faces in new positions. Today it was huge to see some in-sync offense starting to come together.”

l Comments: benv43@gmail.com

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