The game started as a defensive battle as both teams found it hard to move the ball. The score was 7-0 in favor of West Virginia at the end of the first quarter as the Mountaineer defense scored first. It may go down as a Brock Purdy interception, but it was far from his fault. The ball was tipped by the intended receiver, and Tykee Smith got to the ball before it hit the ground. Once Smith got the ball, there was no one to stop him as returned it 19 yards for the score. Just like that, West Virginia was up a score off of a tip-drill pick-six.
It became evident that this was going to be a game of adjustments. The Cyclones happened to be better in that aspect of the game.
Iowa State was able to strike back in the second quarter with a couple touchdowns of their own. The first came on a 1-yard touchdown run by true freshman Breece Hall.
Hall seems to have emerged as the go-to running back after today’s game. This was reinforced by the fact that with Hall playing today, his redshirt was burned in the process. Hall finished with 132 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries. Not a bad day.
The second Cyclone touchdown came on another run. This time by Brock Purdy, himself. Purdy punched it in from two yards out to cap off the 10-play drive.
Purdy had a pretty pedestrian day by his standards. He completed 19 of his 30 pass attempts for 229 yards, a score, and the pick that wasn’t really his fault. And despite adding a rushing touchdown, the Mountaineers kept him contained on the ground as he finished with -15 rush yards on the day.
Down 7-14 in the second quarter, The mountaineers answered with a 9-yard touchdown pass of their own by backup quarterback, Jack Allison.
Allison came in for starter, Austin Kendall, after Kendall went out with an injury off a fumble on the Mountaineer’s third drive of the game. Kendall did not return to the game and Allison finished the day by completing 18 of his 24 pass attempts for 140 yards one touchdown and an interception.
Coming out of the break, it was tied up at 14-14, and things got off to a slow start in the third quarter. The only score coming on a 12-yard touchdown run by Breece Hall. Hall was able to cap off a quick two-minute and seven-second drive with said touchdown and put him and the Clones up by 7 points.
That score seemed to have woken up the Cyclones as the fourth quarter was all Iowa State. They put up another 17 points to put the game out of reach.
All-in-all, both teams showed that their defenses are worth talking about. Both teams were held below their season averages in terms of yards. However, one of the deciding factors in this one is that the Cyclones were able to hold the Mountaineers to a measly 41 rushing yards. Compare that to the 143 rushing yards that the Cyclones had, and it’s going to be tough to win.
The other key factor was that Iowa State was able to win the turnover margin at 3-1, and their coaching staff just made better adjustments. Neal Brown is a great coach, and in time, he will learn to make those adjustments in this conference. At the moment, he is still working on acclimating to the new league and learning new lessons. The big lesson today? Matt Campbell and Brock Purdy are tough to beat in October.