AMES — Iowa State’s offensive line opened up a hole and the rest of the offense ran through it.
No. 24 Iowa State cruised to a 31-15 win over Texas Tech at Jack Trice Stadium on Saturday, gaining 516 yards of total offense.
The Cyclones (3-1, 3-0) had touchdown-scoring drives of eight, nine, 11, 12 and 13 plays with the offensive line providing consistent protection for quarterback Brock Purdy and big holes for running back Breece Hall.
Purdy didn’t get sacked once, throwing for 302 yards and two touchdowns on 32-of-43 passing. He also rushed seven times for 42 yards. Hall had 107 rushing yards in the first half and, by the end of the day, rushed the ball 27 times for 135 yards and two touchdowns.
“Is it the best the line has played this season? We’ll have to evaluate that,” Iowa State Coach Matt Campbell said. “But what you’re saying about that group continuing to get better, that’s fact. I think this group has been impressive, to be honest with you, since the start of the season.
“I felt confident that this could be a really good group and one of the best offensive lines since we’ve been here. They continue to do a really good job of physically attacking their craft. By no means are they perfect but they continue to grow.”
What makes the offensive line’s performance even more impressive is the fact right tackle Joey Ramos got injured in the first quarter and redshirt freshman Jake Remsburg came into the game and didn’t miss a beat.
“I really think he is super talented,” Campbell said. “I think there’s two things that stick out (with) Jake. Jake got dinged up early, he missed the first two weeks of camp and that kind of stunted what I saw from him this summer. I thought he had an elite summer. He really worked through the months of March, April and May.
“Jake Remsburg’s one of those guys who’s got an addiction to becoming the best he can be and I really like that. I think you saw that last year when he was on our scout team as a true freshman. Just his work ethic and his mentality. His work ethic, his consistency — Jake’s gonna have a chance to be a really special player here and we’re really, really excited about what his future is. I thought he did a great job responding today.”
Hall noticed how impressive Remsburg was on Saturday and noted that it’s how he expects all offensive linemen to play because the entire room has worked to instill accountability.
“Our offensive line is really tight knit,” Hall said. “They hold everybody accountable so whether you’re a No. 1, 2, 3, 4 or a walk-on, it doesn’t matter. They expect you to come to work every day and do your job. Even though we’ve had people get hurt, the ones who have stepped in have been doing a really good job.
“The whole offensive line as a unit has been communicating with the running backs and quarterbacks to make sure we’re comfortable with everything. Even though we’ve had injuries, it’s made the offensive line more tight knit because they want to make sure everybody is on the same level.”
The long drives that the line helped sustain also kept the defense off the field, allowing it to stay fresh. Iowa State had a 40:51 to 19:09 time of possession advantage over Texas Tech (1-3, 0-3).
Iowa State allowed just 69 yards in the first half and 95 yards through three quarters.
“Against a team like Texas Tech, who we’ve seen through the course of their season already how dynamic they can be offensively, you’ve gotta have the ability to control the pace with your offense,” Campbell said. “Again, a lot of credit to (offensive coordinator) coach (Tom) Manning and credit to our offensive line and obviously our running backs. I thought we did a really good job having the ability to control the tempo of the game.
“When you play a team like that, that’s so dynamic on the offensive side if you’re not playing complementary football, I think you’re gonna really get yourself in trouble.”
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