Iowa State defense turns in another strong performance at Kansas


Katlyn Campbell/Iowa State Daily

Defensive back Datrone Young (right) and linebacker O’Rien Vance (middle), take down running back Van Edwards Jr. of University of Akron during their game at Jack Trice Stadium on Sept. 22, 2018. The Cyclones won 26-13.

Trevor Holbrook

Iowa State freshman quarterback connected with junior wide receiver Hakeem Butler for an 83-yard touchdown to open the scoring in the Cyclones’ 27-3 win over Kansas.

Purdy took care of business against the Jayhawk defense, but the Cyclone defense thrived in the passing game, too.

“It’s certainly tough [to hold an opponent without a touchdown,” said coach Matt Campbell. “As great as that stat is, there’s still some times [of] the tale of two halves for both our sides of the ball. I think the first half [we had] missed tackles we haven’t done.

“Yet, in the second half it was great to see the leadership of our football team on that side of the ball.”

At halftime, the Cyclone defense had limited Kansas quarterback Peyton Bender to 35 passing yards on 8-of-15 passing. The rush defense faltered some compared to previous weeks, allowing 118 yards on 26 attempts.

One of the receptions for Kansas was a rare catch allowed by senior cornerback Brian Peavy. Bender completed a pass to Stephon Robinson for a 7-yard gain, but Peavy ripped the ball from Robinson’s arms and defensive lineman Jamahl Johnson scooped up the ball and maneuvered his way to the Iowa State 35-yard line.

“I think that was his check down,” said safety Greg Eisworth. “Peavy bottles up, hits him, strips the ball, and I see Jamahl come and scoop, and then Peavy actually gives him a little block for him, so I’m trying to catch up, and then he gets tackled. 

“It’s just a great play by Peavy.”

After halftime, the defense came out firing again. The Jayhawks managed 44 yards on the ground in the third quarter, but the Cyclones’ pass defense was stellar again.

Bender struggled to find a rhythm, throwing for 1-of-5 with 14 yards. 

In the final quarter, Bender got it rolling. With the lopsided score, Kansas was forced to abandon the run and primarily stick to passing. Bender compiled 136 yards on an inefficient 10-of-21 throwing in the final frame.

On the ground, Kansas attempted seven rushes for five yards.

Despite the uptick in yardage through the air, Kansas failed to punch it into the end zone.

The solid defensive effort was noticed by the Kansas offense, but the Cyclone faithful who travelled to Lawrence, Kansas, also appreciated the performance.

With the game out of reach and Kansas trying to tack on a final score, the defense stood tall with the section of cardinal and gold cheering them on.

“It’s a good feeling, especially being away, to have fan support here to root us on,” said defensive end Matt Leo. “It’s the best feeling knowing that everyone recognizes our defense for what it is and how we’re playing this year.”

The 136 passing yards in the final quarter boosted Bender’s game total to 185 on 19-of-41 pass attempts.

Throughout the season, Iowa State’s pass defense has been an aspect the team can lean on. The stingy 185-yards allowed ranks as the fifth most Iowa State’s given up this year (100 vs. West Virginia, 153 vs. Akron, 166 at Iowa and 182 at Texas Christian).

On the ground, the Jayhawks found some daylight throughout the game. Khalil Herbert led the way with 21 rush attempts for 98 yards. Kansas totaled 40 rushes for 147 yards in the loss. 

The 147 yards marks the most Iowa State’s given up this season since allowing 171 yards to Oklahoma in the team’s second game.