Iowa State Cyclones

No. 15 Notre Dame 33, Iowa State 9: Details and execution plague Cyclones once again

Camping World Bowl had similar theme as Iowa State's regular season

Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (behind) pulls down Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy (15) during the Cam
Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (behind) pulls down Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy (15) during the Camping World Bowl NCAA college football game Saturday, Dec. 28, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel via AP)

ORLANDO, Fla. — Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy limped off the field with 8:44 left in Saturday’s Camping World Bowl.

He had just been sacked as the Cyclones failed to convert a fourth-and-1, down 30-9 to No. 15 Notre Dame.

The Cyclones were likely already done when Purdy got hurt, but as he limped off, so did the hopes of any sort of a comeback from Iowa State, which eventually fell 33-9 to the Irish at Camping World Stadium.

Not executing in key moments and details once again doomed Iowa State (7-6).

“Obviously, there’s about seven or eight plays in this football game that really dictated the outcome of the football game in some ways for us that allowed us to be inefficient,” Iowa State Coach Matt Campbell said. “And, unfortunately, that’s really what’s held us back at times this football season from becoming the team that we do have the ability to become.”

The first two times Iowa State touched the ball, it fumbled. The first was a Tarique Milton fumble on a punt return and the second was a Purdy fumble as he tried to tuck the ball after a pump fake.

“It comes down to the details like taking care of the football and taking what the defense gives you,” Purdy said. “I have to get better at that. All season long I’ve turned the ball over in critical moments. You saw it in the first drive. We were moving the ball well and the next thing you know, I lose the ball and it kills momentum. That’s on me and I have to get better from it.”

Purdy finished the day with 222 passing yards, completing 17 of 30 for no touchdowns and no interceptions.

Iowa State also failed to convert two fourth-and-1 situations, including the play Purdy got hurt.

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“You talk about two fourth-and-1s, you talk about two lost fumbles, man, it’s really hard to beat a really good football team not executing in those critical situations,” Campbell said.

On the other side of the ball, while the defense was given short fields to try to protect, it still had its errors — mostly against dynamic receiver Chase Claypool, who ended the day with seven catches, 146 yards and a touchdown. He also recovered Milton’s fumble.

Claypool’s touchdown came on a third-and-long situation from the 24-yard line and Iowa State’s defensive backs didn’t play it how they were supposed to.

“I thought we had a really good plan to take him away at times in the game,” Campbell said. “But, again, a lack of execution. On the third down, he’s got the ability to make the play, and we’ve got two guys on him. We’re supposed to jam him and play an off-jam coverage. Instead of playing an off-jam coverage, our young corner is playing a tight-jam coverage and we don’t get any hands on him and we give him a free run on third down and long.

“And, again, that’s what I mean: Detail and execution. Those are little things that this team — it’s kind of prohibited us at times from being the best version of us we need to be and, you know, that starts with me as the football coach. If it’s not getting done, then we’ve got to make sure it’s getting done.”

The biggest problem is Campbell has been saying that since the UNI game — the first game of the season.

He’s been saying it’s about detail and execution and it falls on the head coach. So why do the details keep popping up and how can Campbell and his staff take care of them?

“I’ve seen great growth in some of the detail areas that have occurred during the season and, yet, there’s still areas that we have to get figured out,” Campbell said. “And, you know, you can’t jump offsides inside the 10-yard line any more than Iowa State football has this year. And that’s coaching. You know, it’s not — I can’t be blaming anybody. That’s coaching. And you can’t continue to give up third-and-long. That’s coaching.

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“We have to look ourselves in the mirror, and we’ve got to figure out how to get those things answered, because those are things that have continued to rear its ugly head. And I’ll be the first one to take accountability for it, and we’ll do a great job this off season figuring it out.”

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