Nov 20, 2021; Norman, Oklahoma, USA; Iowa State Cyclones quarterback Brock Purdy (15) throws the ball during the second half against the Oklahoma Sooners at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Same script. Same outcome. Same heartbreak.
Iowa State made mistakes and paid for them. They Cyclones still fought back. And once again, that comeback fell short.
It’s a sad, yet familiar refrain for ISU, which fell 28-21 Saturday to No. 13 Oklahoma in Norman.
The Cyclones (6-5, 4-4 Big 12) had a chance until Brock Purdy’s pass on fourth and ten at the Sooners’ 21-yard line sailed past tight end Chase Allen and into the hands of OU’s Patrick Fields with 15 seconds left.
“Until the clock hit zero, I certainly thought we were going to win the game,” Head coach Matt Campbell said on the Cyclone Radio Network after the game. “And I think our kids did, too.”
Purdy was sacked seven times and knocked out of the game for two series, but completed 30 of 41 passes for 281 yards and a touchdown to Norman native Charlie Kolar. Purdy also fumbled late in the first half — a miscue that the Sooners (10-1, 7-1) turned into a touchdown to take a 14-7 lead into halftime.
“Those are precision and detail moments and there was a couple of those plays in the game that you just, man, you can’t do those things and win,” Campbell said. ” It’s not a lack of effort. … It’s just a lack of precision and detail at times and I think those are all things that continue to teach us and guide us moving forward.”
Kolar had a career day, notching 12 receptions for 152 yards. Hunter Dekkers relieved Purdy on those two drives and ended up with one interception and a 12-yard touchdown pass to Allen that made the score 21-14 with 10:52 left. Breece Hall rushed for a touchdown in his NCAA record-tying 23rd consecutive game.
The Cyclones converted 5 of 7 fourth down chances as they scrambled to play catchup the entire second half.
ISU outgained Oklahoma 361 yards to 305 and possessed the ball for 16 and a half minutes more, but turned the ball over three times to the Sooners’ one.
Luck didn’t favor the Cyclones, either. Oklahoma fumbled three times and each time it the football bounced back in one of its players’ arms — including one on a sack by Will McDonald that could have turned into a safety or possibly a touchdown if ISU has covered it up.
“Man, bad things happen, and let’s tip our hat to Oklahoma,” Campbell said. “You’re talking about the best defensive front in our conference — a really good football team. And yet our guys never flinched. Bad things happened and yet we kept playing.”
That wasn’t meant to be. Again. It’s a sad, yet familiar refrain, but once again the attitude and effort the Cyclones’ exhibited was elite, while the execution at critical times was often lacking.
ISU’s seniors will play one last time at Jack Trice Stadium next Saturday when TCU comes to Ames. They deserve a rousing send off. They’ve brought the program to a level where winning every week — against any opponent — is possible, but not without executing at an elite level. That just hasn’t happened regularly enough this season, but that doesn’t negate, nor should it overshadow, the massive growth that’s occurred on the field throughout Campbell’s tenure.
Not by a long shot.
“I think we know what this program stood for for the (previous) 70 years and I think we saw what it stood for the past four,” Campbell said. “The character, the heart, the passion the commitment to excellence that this group continues to showcase to Iowa State football and its fan base. Boy, if they’re blinking, they’re gonna miss it. And if you’re gonna miss it, soon enough it will be gone and you’ll wish you had it back.”
No matter the script. Even with some painful outcomes. Whatever the level of heartbreak.
“(This is) the greatest class to ever go through the history of this school,” Campbell said. “This group has certainly given hope and paved the way for success. How do you consistently win here at Iowa State? They’ve been the foundation and they’ve been the pillar of change.”