Takeaways: Iowa State channels past October success for an offensive clinic Saturday

Then-sophomore tight end Charlie Kolar gets ready to catch the pass that would score for Iowa State against the TCU Horned Frogs on Oct. 5, 2019. Iowa State won 49-24.

Zane Douglas

What felt like a game that should have been close and low-scoring, ended up being a high-scoring blowout.

Iowa State destroyed the visiting TCU Horned Frogs on Saturday with a 49-24 win.

Offense finds its groove again

Everything was clicking for the Cyclones on the offensive side of the ball. Iowa State scored in every quarter and scored 14 points in each of the last three.

“This offense is still forming its identity a little bit,” said coach Matt Campbell. “You kind of try to find what your weaknesses are and just keep working at them.”

Quarterback Brock Purdy had a bounce-back game. Purdy was an efficient 19-24 passing, with 247 yards and two touchdowns. The sophomore also added two more scores and 102 yards on the ground on 12 carries.

Through the air, Purdy took a page out of week one’s playbook when he targeted Deshaunte Jones 12 times in the game.

Jones reeled in 10 of those for 110 yards, and no other Cyclone caught more than one ball.

Chase Allen opened up the scoring with his first career touchdown and Charlie Kolar caught one of his own that made it a nice day for the Cyclone tight ends.

The ground game — aside from Purdy — struggled in the first half. No one really got going, and every running back saw at least one snap in the game.

In the second half, sophomore Johnnie Lang found some footing and was able to put up respectable numbers; he even hit punch it in twice.

“I really thought Johnnie Lang played a great game,” Campbell said. “Maybe his best game to date, which is really exciting.”

Lang finished with two touchdowns on 16 carries for 72 yards.

O’Rien Vance continues a torrid pace

Atop the leaderboard of sacks for the Big 12 coming into Saturday was not a household name.

O’Rien Vance led the conference in sacks coming into Saturday with 5.5, and then a strip sack on TCU quarterback Max Duggan made it 6.5 for the first-year starter.

Vance wasn’t even expected to start this season, with Will McDonald as a highly anticipated freshman who moved to outside linebacker and the middle linebacker slot filled by star sophomore Mike Rose, but Campbell slid Rose over and inserted Vance into the middle spot thanks to a nice training camp performance.

Vance has made Campbell look smart with his play so far. The strip sack on Saturday was picked up by Eyioma Uwazurike for a defensive touchdown.

“We’ve been really close to making those plays at times, and we haven’t made them in our tough losses,” Campbell said. “We’ve been able to make them when we’ve won football games.”

Thanks to a 3-3-5 defensive scheme, Vance can blitz often without losing any coverage, so he has been tasked with blitzing often enough for him to rack up high sack numbers.

Vance also led the team in tackles on the day with eight and also had a tackle for loss.

October success remains true… for now

Everyone knows at this point about the successes of Matt Campell’s teams when the calendar shifts to October.

The Cyclones have enjoyed undefeated Octobers in the last two years. In 2017, it was especially unexpected as they did it against two teams that were ranked in the top five in the country at the time — Oklahoma and TCU.

This year, the Cyclones will face one team that may be ranked at the point of playing them. That team is Oklahoma State.

However, Oklahoma State just lost to an underwhelming Texas Tech team.

The theme is clear: Campbell’s teams start to find their grooves after a few weeks of the season, which could be explained by the offensive coordinator shift every year or just the team needing some time to start coming together.

Next weekend, the Cyclones play West Virginia at 3 p.m in Morgantown.