Patience, poise of Brock Purdy leading to well-rounded Cyclone offense

Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy hugs offensive lineman Colin Newell after the Cyclones’ 30-7 win over Texas on Nov. 6.

James Powell

AMES- It’s easy to be overshadowed by someone who channeled their “inner Tom Brady.”

All of the talk coming out of Iowa State’s convincing 30-7 win over Texas was how exciting the gadget play from Xavier Hutchinson to Tarique Milton was. Or Breece Hall continuing to put up solid numbers, and the attention was warranted.

But not a lot of mention was made of the guy playing what could be considered as some of the better football he’s had in a Cyclone uniform: Brock Purdy.

The way Iowa State’s offense is set up, as detailed numerous times throughout the season, is simple: run the football first, and the passes will come.

Time and time again, particularly this season, Hall has made his mark early in games and set the tone for the day. Defenses would prioritize shutting him down and not letting him take over the game.

As complicated as that may sound, the level of difficulty is enhanced that much more when the quarterback can complete passes at a rate of around 80 percent.

That is the impressive number we have seen from Purdy more often than not this season. In the Cyclones’ six victories this season, Purdy has completed at least 70 percent of his passes and has gone over 80 percent in four of the victories.

His offensive coordinator knows how daunting a task that can be and is appreciative of the consistency Purdy has brought to the table for his offense.

“When he gets going early like that, man, great things can certainly happen,” Tom Manning said. “He [Purdy] has a real uncanny ability to ride the wave there. He gets a few going and he can stay at that rate for the entire game.”

The issue for this Iowa State offense early in the year, specifically for Purdy, was the turnovers. Three interceptions against Iowa, one against Baylor and games that aren’t up to the standards we’ve seen from Purdy and certainly what he expects of himself.

In his last five games, Purdy has not thrown an interception. The loss to West Virginia is mixed in there, but that game against the Mountaineers featured constant pressure on Purdy throughout the game.

Still, he has made it through some of the down games and now is enjoying a nice wave of games where he consistently completes passes and puts his teammates in positions to succeed.

Drawing back to his victory over the Longhorns, Purdy threw the ball 38 times. That’s the most this season, and it was in part because Breece Hall was kept in check through much of the first half.

But Purdy, Hall and the entire offense stayed true to their principles, and things certainly opened up in the second half.

“Guys weren’t really open [last week against Texas], there were some really tight windows,” Manning said. “[Purdy] did a great job of keeping composure and poise and was able to step in, get a streak going and really do a good job in the football game.”

Manning also admired his quarterback’s ability to take what’s coming to him in a game, whether that be check-downs or a good look on run-pass option plays that open up.

A great example of that would be against Oklahoma State. The touchdown pass from Purdy to Hutchinson that would get called back because of taunting came off of a simple, run-pass option play where Purdy saw what the defense was giving him and was able to fit the pass in a tight window. Hutchinson did the rest.

Purdy may not throw the number of deep-balls seen in more high-powered offenses, but he and his play-caller know how to manage a game focused on the run, and it has led to some of Purdy’s best numbers in his career.