AMES — Iowa State defensive end Zach Petersen filled for JaQuan Bailey on Saturday against TCU after Bailey was injured last week against Baylor.
Campbell said earlier this week that Petersen had actually been playing the best of any Iowa State defensive lineman.
Petersen proved that in recording six tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss, a forced fumble, a pass breakup and a quarterback hurry in the Cyclones’ 49-24 win at Jack Trice Stadium.
“To be honest with you, Zach’s played like that all year,” Campbell said. “There really hasn’t been a drop off when Zach Petersen comes in. He showed everybody else today how good of a football player he is and certainly the effect and impact he has in a football game for us.”
Petersen’s pursuit of the football is what helps separate him.
“It’s our mindset as a defense,” Petersen said. “It’s pursue the ball. Our saying is ‘9-5-9.’ As soon as the ball is in play, nine players within 5 yards of the ball, 90 percent of the time. That’s our defensive philosophy.”
Iowa State is going to need Petersen to continue to play at a high level given Bailey’s injury status. Campbell said Bailey had surgery Tuesday on his lower leg — not his knee.
“He’s going to be out for an extended time,” Campbell said. “He does have a redshirt year available and he’s only played in four games, so there is certainly that possibility. I hope from his end that that is a possibility and something that may work out down the road. Or he could be back late in the football season and help this football team. I think we’ll play it by ear.”
Iowa State’s running game
Iowa State’s rush attack has been its bugaboo on offense this season.
But Saturday, the Cyclones found success on the ground. Quarterback Brock Purdy was Iowa State’s leading rusher with 12 carries for 102 yards and two touchdowns.
Running back Johnnie Lang also had his best game, rushing 16 times for 72 yards and two touchdowns.
“When they overload in the running game, (Purdy) has the ability to take some heat off the running game because he can run the ball,” Campbell said. “At times they did overload and he did run when he needed to. And I really thought (running back) Johnnie Lang played a great game — maybe his best game to date, which is really exciting. Johnnie has a lot of potential and ability. He’s practicing at a really consistent rate and showing that on the football field. That’s exciting for all of us.”
How does Campbell evaluate the run game when his quarterback is consistently the team’s leading rusher?
“I only separate out Brock’s runs when Brock’s pulling in and pump faking when it’s a pass play,” Campbell said. “Most of today’s plays were designed run plays and, again, I think that’s what’s a huge piece for a mobile quarterback, right? He’s got the ability to hand it off or he’s got the ability to pull it and run with the football.
“It gives you a total different dynamic and I think we saw that last year at Oklahoma State when Brock went in, right? He changed the identity of the offense a little bit.”
Both wide receiver Tarique Milton and running back Kene Nwangwu played Saturday after missing most of the Baylor game.
Milton had one catch for 30 yards and Nwangwu returned a kick for 41 yards.
Center Colin Newell also suited up for the first time since the season opener. He didn’t play, but offensive coordinator Tom Manning said Tuesday that Newell could play if necessary.
Safety Greg Eisworth was injured in the second half Saturday and didn’t return to the game.
“Greg could’ve gone back in in the fourth quarter,” Campbell said. “We tried to be smart there at the end of the game. If the game had continued to go the route of going back and forth, he certainly could’ve gone back in and helped us.”
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