Turning point: Highlighting Cyclones’ season-defining moments from 2018

Members of the Iowa State Football team set up at the line during the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series game Sept. 08. The Hawkeyes defeated the Cyclones 13-3.

Jack Shover

During coach Matt Campbell’s third season at the helm for Iowa State, the Cyclones’ season featured several defining moments.

From Iowa State’s first loss against Iowa to the team’s loss in the Alamo Bowl, the Cyclones were able to turn their season around and nearly make it to the Big 12 Championship game against Oklahoma.

Iowa State falls to Iowa

Iowa State’s worst offensive performance of the season could not have come at a worse time as the Cyclones fell 13-3 in the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk game. David Montgomery only rushed for 44 yards, wide receiver Hakeem Butler was held to three catches for 35 yards and quarterback Kyle Kempt was injured during the game, which prompted Zeb Noland to enter the field. Senior punter Corey Dunn struggled punting the ball, with several shanked kicks. Overall, the game was a disaster for the offense and special teams.

“Again, it’s our first game,” coach Matt Campbell said. “They need to get out and get that experience and play. [There were] a lot of guys playing different positions and guys getting out there and really being counted on for the first time.”

Record: 0-1

Brock Purdy steps in for Zeb Noland

After going 14 for 28 passing for 79 yards and a touchdown in a 17-14 loss to TCU, Zeb Noland was quickly replaced by then-freshman Brock Purdy early in the next game against No. 25 Oklahoma State. Purdy exploded with 318 passing yards, four touchdowns and one interception on 18-23 passing. With Purdy as the primary signal caller on the road, the Cyclones beat the Cowboys 48-42 in a shootout.

Record: 2-3

Cyclones stun No. 6 West Virginia

In Purdy’s first start in the cardinal and gold, Iowa State put together its most complete game on both sides of the ball against No. 6 West Virginia. Purdy threw for 254 yards, completed three touchdowns and an interception with Hakeem Butler hauling in six of those passes for 107 yards and a touchdown. David Montgomery added 189 yards on the ground and a rushing touchdown while the defense held Will Grier to 100 passing yards, a touchdown and interception. Grier was pressured all night with the Cyclone defense sacking him seven times.

“That was one fun-ass game,” junior defensive end JaQuan Bailey said.

Record: 3-3

Baylor brawl leaves Montgomery out

Iowa State beat Baylor 28-14 in this game, but it was the extracurricular activities and not the plays that stole headlines. Montgomery had 11 carries for 54 yards prior to being ejected due to an on-field altercation involving Montgomery and a Baylor player swinging at each other. Due to the ejection, Montgomery would miss the first half of the Cyclones’ next game against Texas.

“I thought from the [officials’] standpoint, they did what they needed to do,” coach Matt Campbell said.

Record: 6-3

Cyclones can’t handle the Longhorns

In Austin, Texas, Iowa State had the opportunity to make the Big 12 Championship game if they were able to beat No. 13 Texas. Without Montgomery for the first half of the game, the Cyclones were down 17-0 entering halftime. The Cyclones couldn’t overcome the deficit and lost the game 28-14, as Purdy had his worst game as a starter, finishing with 130 passing yards, one interception and 10 for 23 passing before Kyle Kempt came in for relief duty late in the fourth quarter.

Record: 6-4

Washington State outlasts ISU in the Alamo Bowl

Purdy had two early interceptions in the game to put the Cyclones down early 7-0, but he used his legs to keep the Cyclones in the game with two rushing touchdowns. Hakeem Butler hauled in nine passes for 192 yards. Despite a late push offensively, three turnovers and lack of execution made the Cyclones fall 28-26 to end their season.

“Now, to take the next step in this program — it’s detail,” coach Matt Campbell said. “Really, it’s what got us tonight — really in all three phases of the game.”

Final Record: 8-5