1. OSU’s defense was finally exposed.
Iowa State’s Brock Purdy was hard to stop on Saturday afternoon. He was poised in the pocket while completing more than 75 percent of his throws against a mostly man coverage scheme by OSU. Xavier Hutchinson was streaking all across the fields, tallying two touchdown receptions and propelling the Cyclones to their fifth victory of the season.
OSU, which had relied on its defense all season to win its first six games, let the Cyclones score in the fourth quarter before being stopped on fourth down with just over a minute left in the game.
This is still a solid Cowboys defensive unit, and the Iowa State outcome doesn’t change that.
Purdy is a talented and experienced player. Entering Saturday’s tilt with the Cowboys, the senior quarterback had 12 300-yard passing games in his Iowa State career. He now has the most completions (844) of any quarterback in school history and the win against the Pokes is his seventh as a starter against a ranked team. Many tabbed the Cyclones as a preseason Top 10 team, and plenty of talent on the roster remains.
Take Cyclones running back Breece Hall. The OSU defense held first-team All-American to 70 yards on 21 carries, barely more than three yards per attempt. This rushing total against the Cowboys was less than half (124.6 yards) than his per-game average through the first half of the season for Hall, who finished sixth in the 2020 Heisman Trophy voting, too.
OSU linebackers Malcolm Rodriguez and Devin Harper combined for 22 tackles to lead the way for a Cowboys defense last Saturday, holding the Cyclones offense to more than 50 yards under their 2021 average. It’s still a defensive unit capable of winning games for OSU.