Hutchinson’s historic hat trick leads Cyclones to victory


DJ Jacobi

Xavier Hutchinson dives for the endzone in the season opener against Southeast Missouri State on Sept. 3.

AMES — In a season opener that saw Iowa State quarterback Hunter Dekkers’ first career start and an interception from the defensive line, Xavier Hutchinson stole the show. Hutchinson scored three touchdowns to lead the team to a 42-10 victory over Southeast Missouri State on Saturday.

Hutchinson has put his athleticism on display a variety of times throughout his Iowa State career, but none were better statistically than what he did on Saturday. Hutchinson became the first Cyclone with three touchdown receptions since 2013.

Hutchinson admitted that he was a bit proud of his performance, but at the end of the day all that mattered to him was the 1-0 record.

In the first half alone, Hutchinson racked up 122 yards and three touchdowns. Due to the large lead for the Cyclones, Iowa State opted to limit Hutchinson’s snaps, so he only ended up with one reception for six yards in the second half.

“Nothing ever shocks me because just what he continues to do in terms of his preparation,” head coach Matt Campbell said.

Campbell has praised Hutchinson’s off-field work ethic throughout the fall, as he believes that the rest of the wide receiver room wants to get better because they see the results that he has gotten from his work.

Dekkers clearly showed that he trusts Hutchinson to come down with every ball thrown his way. This was put on display when Dekkers threw one into tight coverage in the endzone, and Hutchinson managed to come away with a diving touchdown.

“They kind of manned him up quite a bit, which I thought kind of hurt them,” Dekkers said.

The option system of the Redhawks caused the Cyclones a little bit of trouble, especially early on, as SEMO drove took over eight minutes off of the clock. SEMO drove down to the redzone before attempting a fourth down conversion that was batted at the line and intercepted by defensive lineman Tyler Onyedim.

This play would shift the momentum for the defense, as it would only allow ten points during the game. The one glaring hole was that SEMO’s quarterback, Paxton DeLaurent had his way running the ball, snatching 74 yards on 12 carries.

“It was a long drive, we were a little tired, little backed up, but making a play like that’s huge just to kind of swing the momentum back in our way,” linebacker Colby Reeder said. “Crowd gets back into it, goes crazy.”

The biggest cause for concern from the Cyclones in the first half offense was the running game, or lack thereof, with Iowa State only rushing for 20 yards in the first half.

This changed in the second half, as Jirehl Brock took over with some big runs, breaking tackles all over the field. Brock ended up totaling 104 rushing yards on just 16 carries to go along with a one-yard touchdown.

“We have a lot of faith in Jirehl Brock,” Campbell said. “I thought he caught the ball out of the backfield well, I thought he blocked well and I think we all know he can run the ball really well.”

Deon Silas joined Brock with a rushing touchdown of his own midway through the fourth quarter. In addition, Cartevious Norton and Eli Sanders each tallied over 20 rushing yards of their own during the game.