Three Big Takeaways: Five touchdowns for Dekkers, 100 yards for Brock


Tyler Coe

Hunter Dekkers celebrated with teammates Xaiver Hutchinson after a touchdown in season opener against Southeast Missouri State on Sept. 3

AMES — The Jack was packed Saturday afternoon as the Cyclones took on the Redhawks of Southeast Missouri State (SEMO) for their first game of the 2022-2023 season.

With the weather sunny and a tad warmer than 75, excitement filled both the air and the bleachers with fans cheering and the band playing.

Here are three takeaways from Iowa State’s 42-10 win.

Dekkers, Hutchinson connection

The SEMO offense started off strong by having minimal issues driving the ball down the field. SEMO quarterback Paxton Delaurent started off 6-9 in the opening drive for a total of 56 yards before a Cyclone interception by Tyler Onyedim ended the drive.

Onyedim’s interception allowed Iowa State to start with the ball on their own 15-yard line while Hunter Dekkers did not disappoint in his first career start.

Although the offense started the first play of the drive with a false start, Dekkers was 6-6 in the opening drive for a total of 78 yards. Dekkers helped put the Cyclones on the board first after a 33-yard touchdown to Hutchinson.

“He [Hutchinson] plays a huge role,” Dekkers said when discussing his relationship with Hutchinson and how it plays a part in easing the game day nerves.

Only a minute into the second quarter came another 33-yard touchdown from Dekkers to Hutchinson putting the Cyclones up 14-0.

A 39-yard pass from Dekkers to Darren Wilson put Iowa State in position for a third Dekkers to Hutchinson touchdown. This time for 8-yards.

Dekkers later threw his first interception after it was picked off by SEMO’s Joedrick Lewis.

“I really wasn’t too worried, I had faith in our defense to get a stop there,” Dekkers said.

Nonetheless, Dekkers was 18-23 with 238 yards and three touchdowns at the end of the half while Hutchinson finished the half with six receptions, 117 yards and three touchdowns.

Going into the second half, not as much action occurred between Dekkers and Hutchinson however Dekkers threw his fourth touchdown pass of the game to DeShawn Hanika for 9-yards; Hanika’s first career touchdown.

Dekkers finished the game 25-31 for 293 yards and four touchdowns.

“I thought he handled the flow of the game really well,” head coach Matt Cambell said.

Rocco Becht was put in with a few minutes remaining in the fourth and got the opportunity to get in his first snaps as an Iowa State Cyclone.

Hutchinson had a total of 128 receiving yards.

Determined Defense

Throughout the first half, SEMO’s offense seemed to give the Iowa State defense a slight challenge. The Redhawks looked to have scoring potential as they made their way down the field specifically in the opening drive and continually throughout the remainder of the game.

However, with the Cyclone interception in the first quarter and a 41-yard blocked field goal by Isaiah Lee, SEMO found themselves not arriving on the board until two minutes remaining in the first half after an 11-yard pass from Delaurent to Damoriea Vick.

With another opportunity to score, the Redhawks were left with a field goal making the score 21-10 with Iowa State up at the end of the half.

Beau Freyler and Colby Reeder both had five tackles with three of them being unassisted. Myles Mendeszoon and Trevon Howard also contributed heavily to the defensive tackling.

18 players contributed to tackles for Iowa State.

“I thought we settled in in the second half and we were fantastic in the second half,” Campbell said.

Brock carries the offense & what’s next?

“Jirehl Brock with the carry” was heard multiple times in the second half. Brock had a quiet first half with only five rushing yards. By midway through the third quarter, Brock had 53 yards for nine carries.

Just minutes into the fourth quarter, Brock scored his first touchdown of the season. Additionally, Brock earned his first career 100-yard rushing game ending the game with 104 rushing yards.

It was the 27th time a player has rushed over 100 yards in a season opener in school history.

“I just go out there with the mentality trying not to get tackled and trying to get to the endzone each time to help this team,” Brock said.

Campbell said it can take time for tailbacks to get into the flow of the game and said that may be a reason behind Brock not getting more yardage until the second half.

“I think we have a lot of faith in Jirehl Brock,” Campbell said.

Eli Sanders additionally had a hot second half. Sanders had six rushing yards and a 21-yard kick return in the first half but ended the game with 24 yards and a second kick return for 19 yards. Cartevious Norton and Deon Silas followed closely behind Brock and Sanders. Norton had 21 rushing yards while Silas had 17.

“He’s [Norton] a strong runner,” Brock said about the true freshman.

From offense to defense, a lot of greatness was shown for the first game of the season; and with a large win, the Cyclones are currently undefeated. But what’s to come? That’s right, CyHawk.

The Cyclones will travel to Iowa City Saturday to take on the Hawkeyes in the annual CyHawk game. In the 2021 season, the Cyclones fell short to the Hawkeyes with a 17-27 score so the Cyclones will strive to come out on top this year.