‘It really felt like Steph Curry’: Xavier Hutchinson shows out in upset over No. 8 Cowboys

Xavier Hutchinson walks into the end-zone after scoring a 51-yard touchdown, only for it to be called back on an unsportsmanlike penalty on Oct. 23.

Matt Belinson

AMES — Xavier Hutchinson wanted a chance to make up for his “mistake.”

The Cyclones came out of halftime in need of points, trailing No.8 Oklahoma State 14-7 coming out of the break. So, Xavier Hutchinson showed up.

The Cyclones’ star receiver helped lead Iowa State close to midfield on its first drive of the second half and on second and five, Hutchinson beat his man in one-on-one coverage for a 51-yard touchdown.

Or so he thought.

Officials called an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Hutchinson after he added a slight high-step into the end-zone, taking the ball back 15 yards from the spot of the foul to the Iowa State 18-yard line. No touchdown.

Hutchinson wanted to make-up for his error in emotional expression, even though in the moment he was thinking he just tied the game against the No.8 team in the country.

“I felt bad for the team,” Hutchinson said on his unsportsmanlike penalty. “I felt like I let them down and then just to be able to make that play after, honestly was one of the best feelings I’ve had in a while.”

“It was a big game so my emotions got the best of me a little bit. But I didn’t think it was that bad though.” 

But Hutchinson’s quarterback knew it too and force-fed the ball his way after the call. Immediately after the penalty, Brock Purdy found his man for a six-yard pass, to which Hutchinson put his head down and extended his arm out for every inch of yardage he could muster. Then, Purdy rushed for a modest gain.

And then Hutchinson got his score.

“I’m not gonna lie, we had a one-on-one matchup after that and there was some grit in that moment,” Purdy said. “And I’m gonna trust my guy to go get it, because he deserves it. He made the play and he came up to me after and said, ‘Thanks for trusting me.’”

Purdy connected with Hutchinson for his second touchdown of the game on a nine-yard strike, tying the game up officially at 14-all.

Hutchinson finished with a career-best 12 receptions for 125 yards and two touchdowns in the 24-21 win over No. 8 Oklahoma State, scoring his first of the game in the second quarter on a big 4th and goal situation.

Matt Campbell loved the poise his No. 1 wideout showed in the moment. It goes back to an old but tried and true mantra of the Cyclones’ head coach: Control what you can control.

It was his poise in the moment that stood out to Campbell, and Hutchinson’s ability to come up in the biggest moments all day long. It’s what “A” players do. 

And Campbell will always trust his “A” players.

“At the end of the day, those things are going to happen. I don’t know if I’m in full agreeance, it’s not my place to be in agreeance, those guys have a hard job. But boy, oh, boy, do I believe in him,” Campbell said.

“We’re going to win and we’re going to lose with our “A” players and he’s an “A” player.”

Even after the called-back score, only to score moments later, Hutchinson kept his foot on the gas and made the Cowboys struggle to contain him — that is, without penalties on their side.

On the drive after Hutchinson’s second touchdown, Iowa State was looking to drive once again. And Oklahoma State had no answer for him.

The senior wideout forced his defender into a pass interference penalty on the third play of the drive, giving Iowa State a fresh set of downs and crucial field position. Three plays later, Purdy went back to Hutchinson. And another pass interference penalty was called.

On a night when he set career highs and overcame some struggle based on events out of his control, how does it feel to be such a force to contain for a defense to have two pass interference penalties thrown on you?

Let him tell you.

“It really felt like Steph Curry,” Hutchinson said. “Last night or whenever he played when he was like 9-9. That’s how it felt.”

“You just feel like you couldn’t do anything wrong in the moment.”