Nov 23, 2019; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones quarterback Brock Purdy (15) celebrates after a touchdown against the Kansas Jayhawks at Jack Trice Stadium. The Cyclones beat the Jayhawks 41 to 31. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports
ORLANDO, Fla. — When Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly turned on the film of Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy, there was one thing that immediately jumped off the screen.
It was not Purdy’s elusiveness, arm strength or accuracy, but the sophomore signal-caller’s will to win.
“I think probably the one thing that stands out for me is just (he’s) a great competitor,” Kelly, who will lead his Fighting Irish up against Purdy and the Cyclones in the Camping World Bowl this weekend, said prior to Notre Dame’s practice on Tuesday. “You don’t want the ball in his hands with a couple of minutes left. He finds ways to make plays.”
Purdy has emerged as one of the best quarterbacks in all of college football during his second season in Ames, throwing for a Big 12 leading 3,760 yards plus a school-record 27 touchdowns while completing 66.3 percent of his passes.
Still, he, and the Cyclones’ explosive, record-setting offense, will face one of the toughest tasks of the season on Saturday in Orlando with the Fighting Irish entering the game ranked third nationally in passing yards allowed behind only College Football Playoff qualifiers Clemson and Ohio State.
“They throw the ball around a lot. They’re a really good team. They’re going to come out and they’re going to give us their best shot. We’re going to do the same,” Notre Dame’s senior safety Jalen Elliot said. “(Purdy) creates plays. Sometimes it will be a dead play, but he’ll get out of there and keep the play alive for the offense. It’s going to be really important that we plaster coverage and make sure that we continue to do our job.”
Saturday’s matchup, the first-ever between Iowa State and perhaps the most recognizable college football program in the country, looks, on paper, to be a pretty good one and will be a major opportunity for Purdy to further prove himself on the national stage.
But, Kelly and the Irish need no further convincing of the sophomore sensation’s talents.
“Vision, accuracy and competitiveness,” Kelly said of Purdy. “Traits, the intangible things. You can have all the arm strength in the world, but if you’re not accurate, it won’t do much for you. He’s a real competitive player. You can see that he’s clearly the leader on the offense.”