Football

Breece Hall’s big plays — and some big blocks — help ISU beat Texas Tech, 34-24

Oct 19, 2019; Lubbock, TX, USA; Iowa State Cyclones quarterback Brock Purdy (15) carries the ball behind Cyclones running back Breece Hall (28) defending Texas Tech Red Raiders defensive back DaMarus Fields (23) in the second half at Jones AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Breece Hall took the handoff, hit the sideline and — poof — away he went.

Iowa State’s emerging star at running back made a 75-yard touchdown run in the third quarter of Saturday’s reasonably comfortable 34-24 win at Texas Tech look easy, yet it wasn’t.

 It looked like it would be a productive seven-yard gain at least, but receiver La’Michael Pettway sealed the edge perfectly to spring Hall for the first of his two rushing touchdowns.

 Hall totaled 256 yards rushing and receiving and the Cyclones (5-2, 3-1 Big 12) ran its October win streak to 10 games — and it was a complete team effort.

 The true freshman sizzled, while others did solid down-and-dirty work. 

 “Executing like that was huge for the team as a whole,” ISU quarterback Brock Purdy said on the Cyclone Radio Network after the win. “I think we just did our thing.”

 Hall’s second touchdown jaunt of 30 yards came after the ISU offensive line mauled the Red Raiders’ front and helped cement a victory that didn’t come without hiccups including two missed field goals, an errant PAT and a few ill-timed and controversial penalties.

 “I thought there was a lot of rhythm from the git-go and I think any time you play back to back road games — and an 11 o’clock game, I think your detail and efficiency has got to be high end and I thought it was early in the game,” Cyclones head coach Matt Campbell said. “There’s still some areas for us and I want us to become the best version of us we can be, (and) it’s not an attitude and effort deal, but it’s a little bit of execution and detail piece that we’ve got to continue to strain to be the best us we can be, but I’m proud of our kids.”

 This game epitomized what Campbell often says after any contest: “We weren’t perfect.” But solid to good was more than enough as ISU beat Tech for the fourth straight meeting.

 And while Purdy wasn’t perfect, he was still extremely impressive, completing 23 of 32 passes for 378 yards and three touchdowns. He threw one interception to make ISU minus-one in turnover margin for the first time during this remarkable October streak of success, but the defense didn’t allow Tech to translate the pick into points.

 “This group has just continued to strengthen those foundations that allow us to be successful,” Campbell said. “So we’ll continue to do that and continue to grow and maybe at the end of this have a chance to be the best version of us we can be, so I’m excited to see that challenge through.”

Marcel Spears Jr. led ISU defenders with 12 tackles and safety Braxton Lewis chipped in nine. Safety Greg Eisworth returned to the lineup and delivered five hard-hitting tackles, as well.

 Hall rushed 19 times for 183 yards and caught three passes for 73 yards. Tarique Milton amassed four catches for a team-best 98 yards through the air. The Cyclones sped to a 20-0 edge and Tech was never able to pull within a single possession from lead.

 Tight end Charlie Kolar caught two touchdown passes from Purdy and Pettway hauled in another TD pass as the ISU offense averaged a brisk 10 yards per play.

“When things are clicking like that, in all aspects, it’s good for the team and good for the defense,” Purdy said. “So that’s really what happened.”

 Tech gained 406 yards, but needed 86 plays to rack up that total. That’s an average of 4.72 yards per play for a Red Raiders unit that entered Saturday ranked 15th nationally in total offense (489.3 yards per game, 6.12 yards per play). 

 “What allows us to play good defense, is really not our structure, but our ability to run to the ball,” Campbell said. “I thought our kids really did do that for the most part. … I thought our defense did a great job today.”

 The Cyclones now turn their focus toward next Saturday’s home matchup with Oklahoma State — the team Purdy made his splash-worthy debut against last season in a 49-42 win.

 “It’s crazy it’s already been a year since last year against them,” Purdy said. “We’re really excited about it — going back to the Jack.”

Rob Gray

administrator

Rob, an Ames native, joined Cyclone Fanatic in August, 2014 after nearly a decade and a half of working at Iowa's two largest newspapers. He spent 10 years at the Des Moines Register and, after a brief stint in public relations, joined the Cedar Rapids Gazette as an Iowa State correspondent three years ago. Rob specializes in feature stories for CF.