Iowa State Cyclones

Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy still growing

Bouncing back after a poor performance shows sophomore has 'it'

Iowa State football coach Matt Campbell talks to quarterback Brock Purdy before the season-opener against Northern Iowa. Purdy is proving, once again, he is a special talent for the Cyclones. (USA Today Sports)
Iowa State football coach Matt Campbell talks to quarterback Brock Purdy before the season-opener against Northern Iowa. Purdy is proving, once again, he is a special talent for the Cyclones. (USA Today Sports)

AMES — Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy has “it.”

Purdy played the worst football of his Iowa State career in the fourth quarter of the Oklahoma State game two weeks ago. He threw three interceptions in less than seven minutes on three potential game-winning drives.

A week later against Oklahoma, Purdy had one of the best fourth quarters a Cyclone quarterback has ever had.

“Even if we’re in a big environment, I just try to keep it simple and do what I have to do and not do too much,” Purdy said. “I learned that during the Oklahoma State game. Toward the end of that game, I was trying to do a lot — things that were out of my reach. Against Oklahoma, I kept playing the next play.”

Iowa State was down 21 points in the fourth quarter against the Sooners when Purdy led the Cyclones back thanks to three passing touchdowns. The Cyclones had a chance to win, but failed to convert the two-point conversion.

In total, Purdy had 282 yards passing and five touchdowns. He also rushed for 55 yards and a touchdown. The six total touchdowns tied an Iowa State single-game record — a record Purdy set earlier this season against Louisiana-Monroe.

“I don’t even know if my words can do justice,” Iowa State Coach Matt Campbell said. “Everyone here was asking, ‘How is Brock going to come back from Oklahoma State?’ Well, you saw in the fourth quarter in Norman maybe one of the best performances you guys have ever seen. The fact of the matter is the video and what you’re seeing is enough and it’s better than how my words could explain it.

“He’s just one of those guys that’s got ‘it.’ Whatever ‘it’ is, is really personal. He wants to be the best, he’s always trying to find ways to better himself and he’s never satisfied with what he’s done — positive or negative — and I really appreciate that about him. That’s the sign of greatness when you have those character traits and Brock certainly enables all of those things.”

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His teammates appreciate his mentality, too. Tight end Chase Allen called Purdy a “stone-cold killer.”

“It’s great for him to have the mental strength to bounce back like that — most people can’t,” receiver Tarique Milton said. “Most people would let what happened to him in the fourth quarter of the Oklahoma State game define them — he didn’t. He kept on working and kept on moving forward. I’m really proud of him.”

In the fourth quarter at Oklahoma, after every scoring drive, Purdy went over and talked with Campbell, then he went over to the phone and talked with offensive coordinator Tom Manning in the booth about what happened on the drive, what he did right and what he didn’t.

“I think the communication is the thing I really like about Brock,” Campbell said. “For a young guy, you can still have those communications. You can talk and whether it’s where we’re at, what we’re doing, what do you like, what do you see — you can have real conversations. And sometimes, for a young quarterback — he’s only played in 13 games — but geez, that’s pretty impressive for a young guy to be able to at least have those communication skills ... And I want it to grow.

“I want you to take ownership. I want you to call it. Whatever you like, we’ll roll with it at some points. But I think that’s grown immensely through this football season and I think having these experiences give him confidence to continue to grow that way.”

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