Iowa State Cyclones

Iowa State football notes: Breece Hall gaining ground - on and off the football field

Cyclone freshman had to wait his turn, but has shined in second half of season

Iowa State running back Breece Hall (28) has proven himself on and off the field this season, earning more and more playing time as the season has progressed. (USA Today Sports)
Iowa State running back Breece Hall (28) has proven himself on and off the field this season, earning more and more playing time as the season has progressed. (USA Today Sports)

AMES — Iowa State true freshman running back Breece Hall has proved his first games weren’t beginners luck.

Hall has rushed for 186 yards on 36 attempts over the last two games. He’s also caught 10 passes for 75 yards.

In total, Hall has rushed for 585 yards and seven touchdown on 99 carries — almost all of that production has come in Iowa State’s last four games, which begs the question why Iowa State Coach Matt Campbell didn’t play Hall sooner.

“I know I’ve said this a lot, and I’ll continue to say it, I’d rather play our players too late than too early,” Campbell said. “My whole point in that is I’ve got too many guys in this program that have worked too hard that have earned the right to get on the football field and play. When a young player earns that right, I want to make sure he’s ready to handle the opportunity at hand.

“When you look at our last couple of years, we’ve done a really good job of that — knowing when to play the guys. That allows those guys to take advantage of those opportunities. That’s a credit to Breece, it’s certainly a credit to our coaching staff, and he’s done a great job handling it and we haven’t asked too much of him.”

What Campbell looks for in a young player showing flashes is whether or not he’s able to excel in practices, games and school.

“Boy, that’s really hard for some of our sophomores and juniors, let alone a young man that just got on our campus,” Campbell said. “It takes a pretty special individual to even be in the running to get playing time. Obviously a lot of credit goes to Breece.”

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Forcing turnovers

Iowa State defenders had three interceptions go right through their hands against Oklahoma — two were potential pick-6s.

“You’ve got to make the play,” Campbell said. “Obviously we were able to do that in the second half of the football game, which is what really turned the tide for us. The play Mike Rose and obviously Zach Petersen make are incredible. Lawrence is in a great spot, makes a great play on the ball and we had a couple of opportunities in the first half and we didn’t make those.”

Campbell said that happens in football games, but in close games it’s a difference maker.

“Somebody has to make them,” he said, “ ... it’s those plays that you make or don’t make that can make the difference.

“I don’t even think it’s something you concern yourself with other than you just keep pounding away at the details and habits that it takes to be successful. You keep growing and sooner or later you’re gonna make those plays, especially when you get kids like ours that care and it’s really important to them.”

Injury report

Safety Greg Eisworth played most of the game for the first time since Texas Tech.

He had been nursing a shoulder injury. Eisworth recorded three tackles and three pass breakups against the Sooners.

Offensive lineman Collin Olson went down with an injury against Oklahoma, but he returned the next series and the injury isn’t anything that would prevent him from playing against Texas.

While Olson was out, Colin Newell took his place, his first playing time since going down with an injury in Iowa State’s first game against UNI.

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