Iowa State Cyclones

Breece Hall's artistry showcased in Iowa State's masterpiece against Kansas State

Everybody was good for Cyclones in 45-0 dismantling of Wildcats

Iowa State running back Breece Hall (28) finishes off a 33-yard touchdown run ahead of Kansas State linebacker Daniel Gr
Iowa State running back Breece Hall (28) finishes off a 33-yard touchdown run ahead of Kansas State linebacker Daniel Green (22) during the second quarter of the Cyclones’ 45-0 win over the Wildcats at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames. (Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press)

AMES — Come on, man! This was no way for Iowa State to get its ace running back in the Heisman Trophy discussion.

The Cyclones have this sophomore named Breece Hall, you see, and he’s special. He came into Saturday with 1,034 rushing yards over seven games and at least 133 yards in each Big 12 contest.

But it’s hard for a running back at Iowa State to get national attention when quarterbacks are so good at Clemson and Ohio State and Notre Dame and Alabama and Florida.

So what did Iowa State do when it played Kansas State Saturday at Jack Trice Stadium? It came out throwing instead of showcasing Hall. The insanity!

OK, wait. The Cyclones did jump to a 21-0 lead on three Brock Purdy touchdown passes and 156 Purdy passing yards on the way to a 45-0 masterpiece, so the strategy had a little merit.

In full seriousness now, it was a true and total team effort Iowa State employed. There’s no perfect game, but finding any fault with the Cyclones in this one would be like complaining about the temperature in Maui dropping a half-degree.

As for Hall, you can’t keep a great man down. With under five minutes left in the first half from the K-State 33, he took a handoff and waited for a hole to open, as is his nature. It did, and he burst through it and headed toward the ISU sideline.

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Wildcats defensive back Tee Denson lunged at Hall at the 20. The Kansan — Wichita’s Hall, — put his free right hand on Denson’s helmet and hopped over him, planting his left foot inches from the sideline. With the angle he had, his momentum seemed sure to take him out of bounds.

Except it didn’t. It was as if Hall somehow kept his balance on an invisible tightrope, then reaccelerated. Diving K-State linebacker Daniel Green got only air as Hall eluded him at the 5.

“It was just me running hard,” Hall said. “Coach Campbell always tells me to do the little things right and your natural ability will take over.”

 

It was an incredible piece of athleticism, making Hall’s 21-yard touchdown sprint on Iowa State’s next drive seem pedestrian, though it was plenty nifty itself.

“Impressive,” said Iowa State Matt Campbell, “would be the word. That on the sideline there was about as impressive as I’ve seen it.

“Breece will tell you there were some seams. I thought the offensive line had another good night. But at some point you’ve got to make somebody miss, and at some point you’ve got to run away from people, and Breece obviously has got the ability to do that really, really well.”

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Hall had 13 carries for 123 yards at halftime. He carried just two more times after that, for 12 yards, and got the rest of the game off.

The Cyclones are 6-1 in conference play for the first time in their history. Now they go to Texas Friday. Beat the Longhorns, and they’re a home win over West Virginia from a regular-season title and a spot in the Big 12’s championship game.

Play defense against Texas similarly to the way they did Saturday, and the Cyclones will be 7-1 in the league.

Defensive end Will McDonald IV forced two fumbles, one a strip-sack. Safety Lawrence White stacked up K-State quarterback Will Howard for no gain on fourth-and-goal at the 2 on the Wildcats’ first and only threatening possession.

Then there was linebacker Mike Rose, who is simply playing All-America football this fall. He got his fourth interception of the year, and had 2.5 tackles for losses including a sack of Howard that cost the Wildcats 12 yards.

“He’s as special as I’ve ever been around,” Campbell said, “and maybe as special as I have seen.”

“That dude is an animal,” said ISU safety Greg Eisworth. “He’s doing his job and a little bit more.”

Rose and Hall are roommates.

“Me and him always talk crap to each other,” said Hall. “I always tell him that out of 10 times, that he’d only tackle me twice. He always says out of 10 times that he’d tackle me eight times.”

Somehow, they’re both probably right.

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Kansas State is now dust in the wind. The Cyclones are headed to Texas. Everything’s bigger there, and little has been as big for Iowa State as the coming game.

Comments: (319) 368-8840; mike.hlas@thegazette.com

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