Iowa State Cyclones

Iowa State football notebook: La'Michael Pettway finding his groove in the offense

Graduate transfer has impressed Matt Campbell

Iowa State Cyclones wide receiver La'Michael Pettway (7) runs after a catch during the fourth quarter of Saturday's game against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium. (USA Today Sports)
Iowa State Cyclones wide receiver La'Michael Pettway (7) runs after a catch during the fourth quarter of Saturday's game against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium. (USA Today Sports)

AMES — Iowa State receiver La’Michael Pettway didn’t have a single reception against TCU and only had one against Baylor.

After starting the season strong with three touchdown catches in two games, his production tailed off.

On Saturday, in a 38-14 Iowa State win at West Virginia, the Arkansas graduate transfer had maybe his best game as a Cyclone.

He had eight catches for 81 yards. Three of his catches were on third down to keep Iowa State drives alive.

“I was really proud of Pettway,” Iowa State Coach Matt Campbell said. “He didn’t have a catch last week, but receiver is a funny spot when you have a quarterback like ours because the ball gets spread to where it’s supposed to go. Naturally, as a receiver, you can get frustrated if you don’t get the ball. But I haven’t seen that from La’Michael.

“I’ve been so impressed with his senior leadership since I’ve been here. He made some huge plays in some critical moments that were the difference in the game.”

Iowa State’s leading receiver, Deshuante Jones, was only targeted twice against West Virginia and didn’t have a single catch.

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The Cyclones’ second leading receiver was tight end Charlie Kolar, who had three catches for 45 yards.

Special teams special

Iowa State’s special teams play has been very hit and miss this season.

It hit on Saturday.

Freshman kicker Brayden Narveson, who was a highly-rated recruit out of Scottsdale, Ariz., attempted his first career field goal.

It was a 45-yarder early in the fourth quarter. He drilled it to put Iowa State up 24-14 and the Cyclones never looked back.

“Man, how about Brayden Narveson? He earned the right to do it through practice,” Campbell said. “We’re really proud of Connor Assalley, but Brayden is growing up. He’s a young freshman, he’s been through a lot, he keeps pounding away at his craft and the last couple of weeks, he’s just been really good from distance. We said if we have to kick a long field goal in this football game, we’re going to let Brayden give it a shot.

“To me that was a huge, huge play in the football game. It gave us a two-score advantage in the football game.”

Punter Joe Rivera also is coming into his own. On Saturday, Rivera had three punts, averaging 45.7 yards. He had two punts downed inside the 20 and his long was 54 yards.

“Joe Rivera, what he’s done this year, he’s been really special,” Campbell said. “That whole unit — Joe Rivera and Landen Akers. That guy is turning into a really good punter.”

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Injury report

Iowa State’s defense has gotten beat up over the last couple off weeks.

Going into the West Virginia game, defensive end JaQuan Bailey and safety Greg Eisworth were hurt. Bailey could be out for the season.

Early in the first half against West Virginia, linebacker O’Rien Vance got injured.

“O’Rien should be fine,” Campbell said. “He tried to go back in the game but he’ll be ready to roll. And Greg is literally day-to-day. He was able to practice towards the end of the week, we just didn’t feel comfortable that he was ready to play in a game.”

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