Football

NOTEBOOK: Will McDonald is ISU’s new all-time sacks man, Breece Hall’s “inspiring” effort & more from the Cyclones’ win over Texas

Iowa State Cyclones defensive end Will McDonald IV (9) blocks the ball as Texas Longhorns quarterback Hudson Card (1) throws during the third quarter at Jack Trice Stadium, Nov. 6, 2021, in Ames, Iowa. © Nirmalendu Majumdar/Ames Tribune / USA TODAY NETWORK

AMESWill McDonald doesn’t stop. Whether chipped, held, or double-teamed, Iowa State’s premier pass rusher continues to be a cudgel coming off the edge — from start to finish, whistle to whistle.

 Now he’s finally the Cyclones all-time sacks leader with 27.5 after notching 2.5 in Saturday’s 30-7 pummeling of Texas in Jack Trice Stadium.

 The 6-4, 245-pound redshirt junior from Pewaukee, Wis., passed his mentor, JaQuan Bailey, who finished his career with 25.5 sacks. McDonald said he expected the talented two would talk about it, too.

 “Probably,” he said. “I’ll probably just give him a call or something and be like, ‘Hey, bro. I got you.’”

 That he does, but it’s all love for the former Cyclone from Cincinnati.

 “He taught me almost everything I know,” McDonald said. “So I am honored to break his record, because he’s the one that got me there.”

 McDonald also tallied a single-game career-best six tackles and forced a fumble for the fourth time in the past six games.

 Some call him a “freak of nature.” Actually, everyone within ISU’s program calls him that — and for good reason.

 “We know that JaQuan was such a great player for our program and we know what kind of career he had,” Cyclones head coach Matt Campbell said. “I think it says a lot about Will’s ability. I think it says a lot about Will’s God-given opportunities to continue to be the best version of himself and he’s getting double-teamed, he’s getting chipped, the protection’s sliding in his way and for his ability to still get to the quarterback — it really is about being relentless. And even the one he breaks (the record) on tonight, it’s a relentless effort to the quarterback. And that guy’s running down on kickoff for us. Made two tackles on kickoff tonight. A really special football player.”

 BREECE’S PIECES

 Iowa State’s standout tailback Breece Hall extended his Big 12-record streak for consecutive games with at least one rushing touchdown to 21. It’s tied for the third-longest such streak in NCAA history. 

 “I thought Breece had maybe one of the best games of his career,” Campbell said of Hall after he surpassed 1,000 yards rushing for the second season in a row. “When Breece and I talk, we talk about a complete tailback. There have been times where that’s been good and there’s been times where he’s not at the standard he wants to be at. I thought tonight, for our team to play great football, he needed to be an ‘A’ player in all phases, and I think you saw that tonight. And yeah the run shows those things, but to me, everything else that I saw from Breece Hall was really inspiring.”

 INJURY UPDATES

 All-American linebacker Mike Rose didn’t see his snap count rise to its usual level after missing a game last week, but he was productive when he played for the Cyclones.

 As for the injury — which snapped his 45-game start streak — Campbell hopes it’s fading into the rear view mirror as the regular season winds down.

 “Yeah, I think Mike’s doing really good,” Campbell said. “I think we were trying to just be cautious (with) bringing him back slowly. Again, I think (backup SAM linebacker) Aric Horn continues to play great football and I think it was huge for Michael to get through the game (and) really feel good. I think we’ll only see him continue to progress.”

 Campbell also said banged up offensive linemen Derek Schweiger “is fine” after missing a couple series during Saturday’s win.

 QUOTABLE

 “I knew he was. He had been talking about how he was going to complete it throughout practice all week and we were kind of making fun of him, saying we didn’t know if he can throw, so he said, ‘All right, we’ll see in the game,’ and he made the throw.” — Hall on wide receiver Xavier Hutchinson’s first career touchdown pass — a 49-yarder to Tarique Milton in the Cyclones’ 21-0 third quarter.