Iowa State Cyclones

Iowa State football notebook: La'Michael Pettway produces against Kansas

Will McDonald getting comfortbale in role on defense

Kansas cornerback Kyle Mayberry, top, tries unsuccessfully to break up a touchdown pass for Iowa State wide receiver La'Michael Pettway during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019, in Ames, Iowa. Iowa State won 41-31. (Matthew Putney/Associated Press)
Kansas cornerback Kyle Mayberry, top, tries unsuccessfully to break up a touchdown pass for Iowa State wide receiver La'Michael Pettway during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019, in Ames, Iowa. Iowa State won 41-31. (Matthew Putney/Associated Press)

AMES — Iowa State receiver La’Michael Pettway had the best game of his career Saturday in Iowa State’s 41-31 win against Kansas at Jack Trice Stadium.

Pettway caught six passes for 96 yards and two touchdowns. Four of his receptions, including the second touchdown were on third down.

“I had a feeling about Pettway today that he was going to be special,” Iowa State Coach Matt Campbell said.

Campbell felt that way because of how Pettway and fellow senior Deshaunte Jones have practiced in recent weeks. Jones had seven catches for 74 yards before he left in the second half with an injury.

“I’m the same guy every day and every practice,” Pettway said. “I know I’m a leader in the group along with Deshaunte. With the younger guys, I try to show them consistency and be an example of what to look for in an older receiver when they become that guy. Practicing hard and bettering yourself is something that I harp on.”

In Pettway’s three seasons at Arkansas before he graduated and transferred, he had 37 receptions, 602 yards and five touchdowns.

In his lone season at Iowa State, he’s already at 48 receptions, 600 yards and six touchdowns.

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“You know what I love about La’Michael?” Campbell said. “And I know I’ve talked a lot about him, that guy came in here without spring practice. And this is saying it kindly — he didn’t have a great start to fall camp. But his ability to keep working and trusting and believing and just keep pounding away was impressive.

“Honestly, as we’ve gone out to practice here the last three weeks, you know who the best guy has been? La’Michael Pettway. And you know who in the critical moments, who’s been the best for us? Last week and this week? La’Michael Pettway.”

Last week against Texas, Pettway had eight catches for 100 yards.

“La’Michael and Deshaunte are playing really good football and their leadership is certainly not only in doing great things for us, but their leadership is paving the way for a really talented young group.”

Will McDonald getting comfortable

In the offseason, the Iowa State coaching staff wanted to move Will McDonald from defensive end to outside linebacker. They tried that for a few games, but they weren’t utilizing him in the best way possible, which is as a pass rusher.

In the last two games, he’s moved back to defensive end full time and has made an impact.

He had two sacks against Kansas and forced two holding calls. Against Texas, he added another sack and two quarterback hurries.

“I think a little bit early on in the season is we asked him to do a lot of different things, so I probably put a little bit of early in the season as much on myself and our coaching staff as I do on Will,” Campbell said. “But credit to Will and certainly credit to our coaching staff. We’ve honed in on what Will does well and we’ve really been putting him in position to do what he does really well.

“He’s got game-changing ability. He’s been phenomenal. He’s really worked hard at it. I’d say he’s really bought into what we’ve asked him to do and you can see hard work and the skill coming together as one is really creating a dynamic football player.”

Iowa State injury report

Iowa State has stayed relatively healthy in recent weeks but in the beginning of the fourth quarter, Jones went down with an apparent shoulder injury after he caught a 13-yard pass.

Jones didn’t return to the game after being taken to the locker room.

“I think he’ll be OK,” Campbell said. “I’ll know more about that early this week. I’ll certainly let you guys know. Anything more than that would be speculation from my end.”

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