AMES — October is back.
It’s the magical time of year where Iowa State makes a quarterback switch, beats a ranked team and ends up going undefeated in the month, spurring the team to a bowl game.
Over the last two years, Iowa State is 7-0 in October, each year changing quarterbacks.
Iowa State won’t be switching quarterbacks this October — barring injury — with Brock Purdy at the helm, but it does hope to recapture some of the magic from last season’s “Brocktober” on Saturday when it hosts TCU at 11 a.m. in Jack Trice Stadium.
“You look back at the past couple of years and you look at the common trend in October and it’s that we have gotten better every game,” Coach Matt Campbell said. “One of the things I really like about this team, and my confidence in this team, is this team has gotten better. I think that’s a common trend for us — you see our team continue to get better as the season goes.
“Counting it on wins and losses is tough because that’s your job and everybody else’s job, but my job is, ‘Are we getting better all the time?’”
Campbell has seen his teams get better as the season goes on.
“And all I do know is that gives you a chance to win football games as the season continues to wear on,” Campbell said. “(Perfect Octobers) is probably a little bit of happenstance and a little bit of the Iowa State football team gets better as the season goes. If we can continue to do those things, you hope to continue to put yourself in great situations to have success.”
Campbell put his team in a position to have success last October by inserting Purdy into the starting quarterback role for the Oklahoma State game.
The week before, Zeb Noland played against TCU and completed 50 percent of his passes for just 79 yards.
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Campbell doesn’t remember a lot of details about the week in practice leading up to TCU, other than getting prepared for TCU Coach Gary Patterson’s defense.
One thing he does recall, however, was a true freshman quarterback having outstanding practices.
“I think we played Akron prior to the TCU game,” Campbell said. “Brock played a little bit in that football game and we were going on the road and playing a really challenging football team in TCU and Zeb had played pretty good at Oklahoma. Zeb was solid against Akron and we felt like that was certainly our best chance going into TCU.
“Now, that week in practice, what I would tell you — and I think this is what sparked it for us the next week against Oklahoma State — was Brock was incredible. We do a two-minute drill on Wednesdays, good on good, and Brock’s leading the team down the field and I was like, ‘Whoo boy. This guy is pretty good.’ (He was) continuing to push us to say, ‘Man, should we get this guy into the football game?’”
After the first series against Oklahoma State, they got Purdy in the game and he lit Stillwater, Okla., on fire, scoring five total touchdowns — four passing and one rushing.
“It was just a special time to get ready to go in for the Oklahoma State game,” Purdy said. “The rest is history.”
And Brocktober was born. He led Iowa State to wins over No. 25 Oklahoma State, No. 6 West Virginia and a Texas Tech team that was 5-2 at the time.
This season’s October is almost a mirror of last season’s. Purdy and Iowa State get TCU at home, travel to West Virginia and Texas Tech and host Oklahoma State.
“Brocktober is cool for the fans and everything but honestly it doesn’t change anything for us,” Purdy said. “We’re entering every game with the same mindset. It’s just something more fun for the students.”
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