Having practiced all week expecting Iowa State’s backfield duo of star running back David Montgomery and quarterback Zeb Noland, who had started the last three games, OSU was instead caught off guard by changes.
Montgomery didn’t play because of injury, and Noland left the game after the first series in what felt like a bait-and-switch move by Iowa State coach Matt Campbell. He unleashed his true freshman quarterback, Brock Purdy, on the Cowboys, bringing mobility, accuracy and composure beyond his years.
“We didn’t prepare for it too much, but it’s nothing that guys haven’t played against before, a mobile quarterback,” linebacker Justin Phillips said.
Purdy, who was a highly-recruited quarterback out of Gilbert, Arizona — he had offers from Alabama, Texas A&M, Boise State, Central Florida and more — hurt the Cowboys early with his legs, gaining big yards on the ground.
Not only did it destroy the game plan OSU spent the week developing, it took them out of their comfort zone.
Purdy was 18-of-23 passing for 318 yards and four touchdowns, but a lot of that was set up by his rushing success. He ran 19 times for 84 yards and a touchdown, including the three times he was sacked (OSU had four sacks in all, for 16 yards in losses).
“I think that was a great move on their part,” first-year OSU defensive coordinator Jim Knowles said.
“I think it took us too long to adjust to that.