“Job’s not finished.” Iowa State did its job Saturday, making history for a renewed program

A group of Iowa State football players celebrate on the field following the Cyclones’ 42-6 win over the West Virginia Mountaineers on Saturday at Jack Trice Stadium. The win helped Iowa State clinch a spot in the Big 12 Championship game.

Zane Douglas

The game against West Virginia started after 2:30 p.m. Saturday, but the Cyclones had all but done it all by then.

No. 12 Iowa State was on its way to clinching a spot in the Big 12 Championship game taking place in Arlington, Texas, on Dec. 19. A few minutes into the Iowa State game, Texas’ win over Kansas State made it official for Head Coach Matt Campbell’s group.

“I think the ability to stay the course and continue to grow and get better every day is really hard,” Campbell said. “I don’t think there’s a lot of people that can do it, I don’t think there’s a lot of teams that can do it and especially do it when times are the toughest.

“This group has proven that they were willing to stay the course for the last 14, 15, 16 weeks.”

To clinch the berth, a win was no longer necessary for Iowa State, but bigger implications, such as being inside the top 10 with only a couple more college football playoff polls to go, became more important and the Cyclones did the job on that end.

Iowa State blew out the West Virginia Mountaineers 42-6 to improve to 8-2, and 8-1 in conference play, clinching the Big 12 regular season crown and earning it with sole possession.

Campbell’s offense rolled in the first half, but the Cyclone defense dominated West Virginia, stifling all opportunities and giving quarterback Brock Purdy and the offensive unit good field position numerous times.

The main focus around Campbell and his players still was that the Cyclones still have work to do with the Big 12 Championship and redshirt junior tight end Charlie Kolar echoed that statement.

“Great win, incredible night, I couldn’t be happier or more proud,” Kolar said. “I love this team so much and I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of it and it’s a great win, but the job’s not finished.”

Kolar has been one of Iowa State’s most consistent players in the last two seasons and tonight he proved that with one of his two catches.

With a defender draped all over him, Charlie Kolar was found by Purdy in the back of the end zone for a 16 yard touchdown. Kolar caught the ball with his left hand, while drawing a defensive pass interference from Mountaineer defensive back Alonzo Addae.

The third quarter score made it 28-0 Cyclones, with all of the first 21 points coming in the first half on a Breece Hall 23 yard rushing score, a Purdy 10 yard rushing touchdown and two yard touchdown pass to redshirt senior wide receiver Landen Akers — the first of his career.

Iowa State continued to pile on, and aside from two late field goals from West Virginia, the Cyclone defense had no problem shutting down West Virginia.

The defense for Iowa State has come on in recent weeks, limiting points and opportunities and some of Iowa State’s best defenders in 2020 made impacts in the final game of the season.

Sophomore edge rusher Will McDonald earned a two sack performance, bringing his total sacks in 2020 to 8.5 — a new Iowa State record for a single season.

JaQuan Bailey added a sack and the Cyclones also totaled eight tackles for losses in a smothering performance.

Saturday marked another good performance for Iowa State, but it hasn’t just been winning lately. The Cyclones put together a dominating last few halves in Jack Trice Stadium in games that have vaulted Iowa State into consideration for some of the top bowls in the nation and even some outside looks at the College Football Playoff picture.

The celebration for the game Saturday however, came after an unparalleled regular season in Iowa State history came to an end. The Cyclones have never been the only winner of its conference at the end of the regular season, until Saturday.

“Job’s not finished,” Kolar said. “We won, it was a great win, we can celebrate tonight in the bubble, and then we’re gonna come back to work tomorrow and be ready to go.”