AMES — A rain, sleet and snow-soaked field at Jack Trice Stadium on Saturday evened the playing field between No. 23 Iowa State and Drake. That and Iowa State’s lack of detail.
The Cyclones won 27-24 in an ugly game.
“I don’t think there was any lack of our kids playing hard,” Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said. “I thought we had a great week of practice, I think our kids played really, really hard. Now detail? If we want to be critical in an area, that would be the area where I say, ‘Gosh, I don’t know if we played with great detail.’ On a surface like that, where every inch and every step matters, I think detail is the key to success.”
The field conditions played a part for both teams on a few key plays.
In the first half, Iowa State (8-4) receiver Hakeem Butler was wide open because two Drake (7-4) defensive backs slipped on the field, but as Butler came out of his break, he stumbled and came up inches short of a long reception that likely would’ve resulted in a touchdown.
Butler said his sole focus from that point on was to just keep his feet under him.
“The field was awful,” Butler said. “We got some things done that we wanted to do and we missed out on some opportunities because of the conditions.”
The junior finished with four receptions for 67 yards, including a catch late in the fourth quarter that essentially sealed the victory for Iowa State.
ISU quarterback Brock Purdy had an up-and-down game as well. He finished the game completing 15 of 22 passes for 153 yards and one touchdown, a game-winning 7-yard pass to Deshaunte Jones at the end of the third quarter.
Earlier in the third quarter, as Purdy cocked his arm back to throw, the ball slipped out of his hands, allowing Drake to recover and eventually score a field goal to get within three. Grant Kraemer’s 19-yard TD pass to Devin Cates gave the Bulldogs the lead with 3:37 left in the third.
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“The ball was slipping out of Brock’s hand,” Campbell said. “Some of our problems were the surface and you try to be conservative and play to your strength and make sure we didn’t put ourselves in bad situations even though a couple of times we did.
“What I do love is how our kids were able to fight through it with, obviously, Hakeem the big catch at the end and David, handing the ball off to him. David wasn’t able to practice yesterday because he had the flu and that was a pretty gutsy performance coming off the flu.”
Montgomery was a workhorse on Saturday. He carried the ball 33 times for 145 yards and two touchdowns.
“It was like Michael Jordan’s flu game,” Butler said of Montgomery’s impressive game.
It wasn’t perfect and it wasn’t pretty for Iowa State, but at the end of the day, the Cyclones got the win against a hard-nosed Drake team.
“They’re a D-I team,” Butler said. “I thought it’d be completive, they aren’t nerds out there running around.”
“At the end of it, I judge our kids as much on attitude, effort and their ability to do those things as much as anything,” Campbell said. “I don’t think there was any lack of our kids playing hard.”
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