Iowa State Cyclones

Iowa State football notes: O-line leads the way against Kansas State

Xavier Hutchinson has career day, Jirehl Brock begins to break out

Iowa State quarterback Hunter Dekkers (12) celebrates with teammate Sean Foster (75) after scoring on a 12-yard touchdow
Iowa State quarterback Hunter Dekkers (12) celebrates with teammate Sean Foster (75) after scoring on a 12-yard touchdown run during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Kansas State, Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020, in Ames, Iowa. Iowa State won 45-0. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

AMES — Iowa State’s offensive line has been overshadowed by the dynamic play of running back Breece Hall.

That happened again in Iowa State’s 45-0 win over Kansas State on Saturday.

Hall rushed 15 times for 135 yards and two touchdowns.

Hall has been on a tear this season, becoming just the fourth FBS running back since 1996 to have at least 100 yards and at least one touchdown in a team’s first eight games.

But the line wants its credit — and deservedly so.

“Throughout the year our offensive line has been really, really good in practices and games,” left tackle Sean Foster said. “You can see that in Breece’s production. Some of the main things we’ve worked on this season is being a tight-knit unit and focusing on making sure we protect Brock (Purdy) and get holes open for Breece.”

Coming into the game, Hall was the only running back in the nation in the 1,000-yard club, which is something the line hangs its collective hat on.

“That’s huge for our line,” Foster said. “We take a lot of pride that he’s up and running and scoring touchdowns. We know that we may not get all the credit that he does, but we know for damn sure that the 1,000-yard mark is the biggest achievement that our offensive line could ever get.”

X gon’ give it to you

Iowa State receiver Xavier Hutchinson had a career day against the Wildcats.

The guy whose teammates call him “X” had a career-high 111 yards on six catches with a touchdown.

His ability has been obvious since the beginning of the season but the junior college transfer seems to be coming into his own.

He credits Purdy for allowing him to grow as the season progresses.

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“Brock trusted me throughout practice and all the time we’ve been together and that showed today,” Hutchinson said. “Our trust was big. … If I drop a ball in practice or something, he doesn’t let me go off the field. He throws me another one. He keeps our confidence high and that’s what’s been helping me and this whole team.”

Another Brock

A Brock has emerged for Iowa State. Not Purdy, he’s already emerged and established, but redshirt freshman running back Jirehl Brock.

The last two games, Brock has become Iowa State’s third-down running back. On Saturday, he had his most productive day as a Cyclone.

He caught three critical passes for 26 yards from Purdy on third down as a safety valve. He also had a critical block in the first quarter that allowed Hutchinson to spring a big play on third down and keep the drive alive.

“You saw him fight,” Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said. “That’s what I really liked about Jirehl is that I think he’s a fighter. And he’s tough. And he’s really worked hard to — I say this a lot to our team, is — ‘You have to make me play you.’

“How he’s practiced the last three weeks has been a direct result of his opportunities and then him maximizing his opportunities. That’s hard sometimes for young guys to understand, but that’s how it’s gonna be in this program and he certainly has earned the right to have those opportunities and he’s done a great job of taking advantage of them.”

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