AMES — My thoughts on Saturday’s Iowa State-West Virginia matchup in Morgantown, W.Va.
West Virginia Mountaineers
West Virginia is pretty much the polar opposite of Iowa State — at least statistically — even though the teams have identical 3-2 overall and 1-1 Big 12 records.
West Virginia produces almost no yards and gives up a bunch of points on defense, yet the Mountaineers find a way to win. West Virginia has the worst offense in the Big 12, producing just 353 yards per game and the second-worst scoring defense, allowing 29 points per game.
Iowa State, on the other hand, piles up a lot of yards and is pretty stingy on defense, yet has converted that to just three wins. Iowa State has the third-most yards in the Big 12, behind Oklahoma and Oklahoma State and has the fourth-best scoring defense, allowing 22 points per game.
West Virginia has beaten James Madison, North Carolina State and Kansas. Last week, the Mountaineers gave Texas a run for its money, trailing just 21-17 heading into the fourth quarter before falling 42-31.
“West Virginia is a great opponent and they’ve had some really good wins,” Campbell said. “They played really good last week and they’re certainly a team that’s been playing really inspired. They’re playing really, really hard.”
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West Virginia quarterback Austin Kendall had a very hit-or-miss game against the Longhorns. The Oklahoma transfer passed for 367 yards and three touchdowns, but he also threw four interceptions.
“To be honest with you, when I watch him, he’s a guy who didn’t get there right away — he didn’t have all those reps that you would have had had you been in the system for the past two or three years,” Campbell said. “You see a guy that is performing at a really high level for the amount of time and repetition he’s gotten in this offense. I think the thing that’s really impressive is — yeah, sometimes you’re going to have some mistakes early in the season — it’s the big throws he’s making.
“They’re playing a really high-tempo offense, they’re getting a lot of plays off and really putting the entire game in his hands. I think he’s done a great job of giving their team the ability to win big games.”
Iowa State Cyclones
West Virginia Coach Neal Brown said on the Big 12 teleconference Monday his Mountaineers were going to have to defend Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy different from how they defended Texas’ Sam Ehlinger.
Ehlinger and Purdy are pretty similar quarterbacks, but Brown recognizes he can’t do the same thing two weeks in a row with a quarterback who’s as good as Purdy.
And Campbell wants to make sure he continues using Purdy in multiple ways to keep defenses off balance.
“The more ways you force defenses to defend the entire field and defend multiple things, the more you’re going to be successful,” Campbell said. “Doing that with a base foundation of what you do well is the key to success. Having the ability to have mobility at the quarterback position forces defenses to be sound, be disciplined and have gap integrity.”
Using Purdy in the running game is something Iowa State has done more and more each week. Against TCU, Purdy ran 12 times for 107 yards and two touchdowns.
Purdy actually is Iowa State’s leading rusher with 264 yards — minus sacks.
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But there are times when the coaching staff prefers Purdy slides or gets out of bounds instead of taking a hit.
“(Quarterbacks) coach (Joel) Gordon and all of them say to get down when I can,” Purdy said. “But in the moment, it’s hard because I want to get all of the extra yardage I can. In the offseason, we watched Kyler Murray and Baker Mayfield to see how they got down and out of bounds. They understood when to get down.”
Iowa State 31, West Virginia 10
At some point statistics have to be an indicator of success — or lack of success — right? All signs point to Iowa State being a good football team and all signs point to West Virginia having a rebuilding year.
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