Takeaways: Lack of execution leads to ‘Farmageddon’ defeat

Then-sophomore quarterback Brock Purdy gets ready on the sideline against the University of Kansas on Nov. 23. Iowa State won 41-31.

Matt Belinson

Closing out its regular season with a 27-17 loss to Kansas State, the Cyclones had plenty of reasons for why they will finish the regular season 7-5.

The ninth loss in the last ten meetings in ‘Farmageddon’ came thanks to a second half full of inept offense, struggling quarterback play and a dominant rushing game from the Wildcats.

Second half woes

After tying the game at 14 to end the first half, the Cyclone’s first drive of the second half would prove to be the story for the remainder of the night.

Iowa State had six drives in the second half — one of them ended in points, a 36 yard field goal by Connor Assalley.

The Cyclones punted four times in the second half, leaving scoring opportunities on the field time and time again.

The opportunities were there for the taking.

The Wildcats turned the ball over on its first two possessions of the second half, as Skylar Thompson was strip sacked by Will McDonald and then threw an interception into the hands of Greg Eisworth.

But the Cyclones couldn’t take advantage of the mistakes — instead Iowa State would punt and kick a field goal on its two ensuing drives after the two turnovers by the Wildcats.

Brock Purdy struggles

Out of the many close wins and losses the Cyclones have been apart of this season, Brock Purdy has rarely been one of the problems — until Saturday night against the Wildcats.

Purdy finished his night with 15 completions on 30 attempts for 185 yards—a season low in both completions and yards. It was his lowest total of passing yards in a game since he threw 153 yards against Drake University last season.

Purdy did throw a touchdown pass to Sean Shaw Jr. to get Iowa State on the board in the second quarter but it would be his only one of the night.

It was only the third time in Purdy’s career that he had less than 200 passing yards and the fourth time in his career with one or fewer touchdown passes.

One of Purdy’s defining traits is his ability to scramble and run for big chunks of yardage, but even on the ground the Cyclone’s quarterback struggled to find success. 

Purdy rushed five times for negative three yards.

The sophomore did not get much help from his offensive line for him to make throws down the field, as the Wildcats had two sacks and six quarterback hits.

Purdy was pressured time and time again, forcing him to get the ball out quicker than he and his receivers would have liked, creating multiple negative plays from scrimmage on first and second down. 

Purdy’s lone touchdown recipient, Shaw, said that the constant pressure on Purdy made the Cyclone’s offense have to speed up more than it would have liked. Quick throws and being thrown the ball before routes were finished made things more difficult for Shaw and others.

However, Shaw said the pressure on Purdy is not something this offense hasn’t faced up to this point in the season.

“We have kind of dealt with that all season,” Shaw said.

Purdy had an interception overturned by replay and nearly threw two or three more after being forced to throw the ball on long-yardage downs thanks to offensive line penalties or the blitzes from the Wildcats. 

Iowa State finished the night 1-13 on third down but Campbell said the skewed numbers on third down are mostly chalked up to penalties and poor execution on first and second down—putting the Cyclones in third and long.

“How many of those third downs were even in our wheelhouse, I mean they really weren’t,” Campbell said. “Our detail was obviously atrocious tonight and that starts with coaching and starts with us.”

Rushing attack hurts Cyclones

Iowa State came into this matchup with one of the top run defenses in the Big 12, allowing just over 100 yards on the ground per game.

The Wildcats would end up with far more than 100 to seal its win over Iowa State.

Kansas State rushed for 231 yards at 4.7 yards per carry—good for two rushing scores.

The 231 yards rushing is the second most yards the Wildcats ran for in conference play — the most being 342 yards against Kansas on 11/2.

Campbell said that in this matchup, the team who came out and played more physical football, particularly on the ground, would walk away with a win.

Campbell said he felt this game was really the first time Iowa State seemed to be the less physical team on the field and said the mistakes in execution start with him.

“I felt like on a night like tonight, the more physical football team was gonna win the game, the team that was gonna be able to rush the football and they did and we didn’t,” Campbell said. 

One of positives on the defensive side was Will McDonald, who recorded his fourth and fifth sack in his last three games.

“We just messed up on our details which got the best of us,” McDonald said.

McDonald may have recorded two sacks against Kansas State, but felt Iowa State lacked in execution and details.

With this being game number 12 on the season, McDonald said he knows that the coaching staff expects details and assignments to be down pat, but in the end, details cost the Cyclones up front.

Kansas State’s 231 yards on the ground was the most Iowa State has given up all season.

Greg Eisworth said that the Cyclones were out of gaps on a few occasions and a team like Kansas State will make you pay if you aren’t careful.

Eisworth said that the elements did not play much of a factor in how the defense stumbled but said that Kansas State 

“They do what they do, they play good football, they play sound,” Eisworth said.