Stuve: Efficient offense leads Iowa State to win over Kansas State


Charlie Kolar celebrates a touchdown with Brock Purdy during Iowa State’s 59-7 win over Kansas on Oct. 2.

Sam Stuve

Iowa State hadn’t beaten the Wildcats on the road since 2004.

That was the story before Saturday, as the offense led Iowa State to a 33-20 win over Kansas State. Before Iowa State’s most balanced offense of the year.

And the offensive output didn’t just come in spurts. It came consistently throughout the game and was jump-started by a 75-yard touchdown run by Breece Hall on the first play of the game. 

Iowa State’s offense was able to put it together by consistently moving the ball and playing a clean, efficient game.

Out of the nine drives the Cyclones had, three resulted in a touchdown, four resulted in a field goal and they punted just twice. 

Iowa State did not commit a turnover and got a rhythm going and that showed in how spread out the scoring was throughout the game. 

The Cyclones scored at least six points in each quarter, including 10 in the first and second respectively. 

Hall led the offensive attack, rushing the ball for a career-high 197 yards and two touchdowns on 30 attempts. 35 yards through the air gave him the Wichita, Kansas native 232 total yards on the day.

Saturday was also Hall’s 18th straight game with a rushing touchdown. 

Against Kansas State, Iowa State was able to avoid miscues and finish drives with touchdowns, which hasn’t always been the case this season against opponents outside of Kansas. 

Iowa State’s offense showed it consistently move the ball against a good opponent and showed that it can do it efficiently.

The Cyclone offense was balanced in its win over the Wildcats. The Cyclones rushed the ball 35 times for 210 yards and gained 208 yards through the air.

The efficiency can especially be seen in the passing game. 

Quarterback Brock Purdy completed 88 percent of his passes for 208 yards and a touchdown.

And more than just a couple of receivers got involved in the passing game.  In fact, nine different Cyclones accounted for Purdy’s 22 completed passes. 

This include freshman wide receiver Jaylin Noel, who has seen a lot of playing time as a punt/kick returner, but had just a total of five receptions for 27 yards coming into the game.

Against Kansas State, he doubled that reception mark, catching five passes for 49 yards, which led all Iowa State receivers (Hall and Noel both had five catches).

Some of those catches were some big plays that either got a first down on third down on a scoring drive or setup one of Andrew Mevis’ four field goals on the night. 

Wide receiver Sean Shaw also got in the action, catching his first touchdown of the season on a 12 yard pass that put Iowa State up 27-7 late in the third quarter.

His touchdown on Saturday was his first since Nov. 27, 2020, against the Texas Longhorns.

When it came to third downs, the Cyclones were especially efficient, converting nine of their 15 third down conversion attempts. 

Having nine different receivers catching significant passes, could pay dividends for this offense moving forward. 

To me, Iowa State’s offense seemed focused and got a jump on Kansas State’s defense from the get-go. It was clear that Iowa State wanted to start strong on offense, as they won the toss and elected to receive, a rare sight this season. 

Iowa State’s offense operated like a well oiled machine, not forcing the issue and Purdy played well, even when he was “out of system” or had to off-script.

The Cyclones offense got a jump on the Wildcats’ offense early in the game, but also on early downs as well. 

Iowa State averaged 9.2 yards on first down and two of the touchdowns it scored were on a first down.

I think that efficient first down plays led to “third and manageable” quite often on Saturday. Iowa State’s had an average of five and a half yards to go on third down, which I think in turn allowed them to have a strong percentage of third downs converted. 

This offensive efficiency also led to Iowa State controlling the time of possession battle 33:45 to 26:15, including two touchdown drives that took up at least half a quarter respectively.

Another sign of an efficient offense is the ability to keep the quarterback clean and Iowa State did that quite well on Saturday.

The Cyclones offensive line kept a Wildcat defensive line, which had been averaging three sacks a game heading into this one, to zero sacks and just one QB hurry. 

Saturday’s game was the first time that the Cyclones offensive line has held a Big 12 opponent sack-less in a little over a year (Oct. 10, 2020 against Texas Tech).

While having more made field goals than touchdowns scored is never a good thing, scoring seven times on nine drives in a road win over a conference rival certainly is.

This is a positive sign for an Iowa State team that is set to return home for a pivotal game against the undefeated Oklahoma State Cowboys, who may very well be a top 10 team come Sunday.