Football

STANZ: Oklahoma State begged Brock Purdy to beat them. So, he did.

Oct 23, 2021; Ames, Iowa, USA; Iowa State Cyclones quarterback Brock Purdy (15) passes Oklahoma State Cowboys in the second half at Jack Trice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

AMES — Matt Campbell had a message.

It was a pointed message aimed specifically at one group of people and he hopes you hear it loud and clear following Iowa State’s 24-21 win over No. 8 Oklahoma State on Saturday at Jack Trice Stadium.

It is time to take back the early-season criticism of Brock Purdy, the unquestioned most accomplished quarterback in the history of Iowa State football.

“I think there probably were not a lot of nice things said about Brock Purdy early in the season,” Campbell said. “Foolish, but whatever.”

“The reality of it is he’s an 18 to 22-year-old kid. He’s a young man that’s growing into a man. It’s still college football, right? Like, this isn’t pro sports. I think all those people that maybe said those not nice things about Brock Purdy should really look in the mirror tonight and say, ‘Boy, how grateful are we at Iowa State to have that young man leading this program?’”

The time has come for Cyclone Nation — and I mean ALL of Cyclone Nation — to get behind Purdy. It feels insane to have to say that about a young man who owns more than 30 school records in Ames, but I think I do.

What more could someone possibly need to see at this point?

This was Purdy’s 40th start behind center for the Cyclones. It might have been his best yet as he completed 27-of-33 passes for 307 yards and two touchdowns against one of the nation’s best defenses.

He was poised. He was precise. He was decisive. He is now 14-1 as Iowa State’s starter against Big 12 teams at Jack Trice Stadium.

That one blemish? Of course, it came against these Cowboys.

This win means he’s defeated every Big 12 opponent at least once inside this stadium. He’s the only quarterback in school history to do that because, of course, he is.

What more could you possibly need to see to be sold?

“Great. Excellent. Superb. Precision. I could go on and on about it, but I’m going to keep it short,” Xavier Hutchinson, Purdy’s favorite target, said. “He was great. He was great today.”

Purdy became an easy target early this season, especially after his three-interception performance in the loss to Iowa. His performance in that game met an early conclusion when he was benched for redshirt freshman Hunter Dekkers during the second half.

In Iowa State’s five games since the loss to the Hawkeyes, Purdy has completed 79.5 percent of his passes for 1,311 yards. He’s thrown for 11 touchdowns to only one interception.

Purdy’s Cyclone career has been comprised of a lot of really good football. This last five-game stretch has largely been comprised of truly great football.

It is the best football he’s played at Iowa State. Period. The end.

“I’m not trying to go out every single game and say, ‘Hey, I’m gonna play my best game ever,'” Purdy said. “I just keep it simple, do what they ask me to do as a quarterback here and go from there.”

Keeping it simple means relying on his guys to make plays. It means connecting with Hutchinson 12 times for 125 yards and both scoring strikes.

Simple is finding Charlie Kolar six times for 69 yards. It is hitting Breece Hall across the middle for a 33-yard gain during Iowa State’s ultimately game-winning touchdown drive.

Simplicity for Purdy is finding Tarique Milton, a guy who has made play-after-play in his Iowa State career but has rarely seen the field in 2021, for a 22-yard gain that sets the Cyclones up inside the Oklahoma State five-yard line.

He’s just making the right play. Over and over and over. Time and time again, because that’s what he’s supposed to do.

Is it flashy? Not really. Will it lead the highlight reels tonight? Probably not.

Is it effective? Hell yes.

“What I will say about Brock, who he is, is greater than what he does on the football field. That’s what makes him special,” Campbell said. “Man, for him to be able to play his best football when we need it, man, that’s awesome. Whether he played great or not today, I know I still believe in him, but, man, for him, that’s awesome, because I know how hard he’s worked to get to this point. I really feel he’s played that way over the last four to five weeks.”

This was a game when Iowa State needed Purdy to be nothing but his absolute best.

Oklahoma State loaded the box prior to almost every snap of the football game. The Cowboys were not going to let Hall be the one to beat them on this day, so they did everything they could and put all their attention towards keeping one of the nation’s best running backs from getting loose.

Mike Gundy and his squad elected to put their eggs in the basket of making Purdy be the one to beat them. They made Iowa State largely abandon its multiple tight end sets and spread the field through the air.

Winning this game was going to fall on the shoulders of No. 15. So, the young man who has won more games than any quarterback at Iowa State did what he does.

He went and won the football game.

“Yeah, I bet you they wish they could take that back,” Hutchinson said. “Brock is a dog.”

Let this serve as a warning to every team left on Iowa State’s schedule.

Oklahoma State’s game plan on Saturday was nothing truly new. A lot of teams have tried to force the game into Purdy’s hands and hoped for the best.

That might be an unwise decision right now, though. The best quarterback to ever suit up in an Iowa State uniform is playing the best football of his life.

“So, I would advise anyone not to do that again,” Hutchinson said. “Because Brock will eat you alive.”

What more could you possibly need to see?

Jared Stansbury

administrator

Jared a native of Clarinda, Iowa, started as the Cyclone Fanatic intern in August 2013, primarily working as a videographer until starting on the women’s basketball beat prior to the 2014-15 season. Upon earning his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State in May 2016, Jared was hired as the site’s full-time staff writer, taking over as the primary day-to-day reporter on football and men’s basketball. He was elevated to the position of managing editor in January 2020. He is a regular contributor on 1460 KXNO in Des Moines and makes regular guest appearances on radio stations across the Midwest. Jared resides in Ankeny with his four-year-old puggle, Lolo.