This Saturday, the Iowa State Cyclones travel east to Morgantown, WV for a Big 12 showdown. Led by Head Coach, Matt Campbell, and offensive coordinator, Tom Manning, the Cyclones are bringing a high-powered offense centered around their young star quarterback, Brock Purdy. Iowa State’s offense had to find a new identity after stars David Montgomery and Hakeem Butler were drafted to the NFL. It has taken a few weeks, but the offense has found that identity and its new names that you will hear on TV on Saturday.
Campbell and Manning have established a very strong and balanced offensive attack, as they have the ability to throw and run against anyone they play. That being said, both sides need to feed each other in order for both to be successful.
Iowa State must establish the run against West Virginia in order to open up their passing game. Texas rushed for 216 yards against WVU last week and Missouri rushed for 232 back in Week 2. Led by running back, Johnnie Lang, the rushing attack will be a point of emphasis for the Cyclones. Purdy also has some wheels and don’t be surprised for him to make broken passing plays into a positive running play.
Iowa State ranks second in the Big 12, only behind Oklahoma, by averaging 327.6 passing yards per game. Purdy does have the most yards by any Big 12 Quarterback with 1,578 passing yards and has thrown for 10 touchdowns. West Virginia has shown the ability to put pressure on opposing QBs led by the Stills brothers, but with a younger secondary the Cyclones will look to attack the Mountaineers deep. The Cyclones offensive line has stepped up this season and has allowed limited pressure on Purdy, so it should be fun to watch the matchup against the Mountaineer defensive line on Saturday.
- Kene Nwangwu, running back, has a hamstring injury, and it is unclear if he will play against West Virginia on Saturday.
- Colin Newell, offensive lineman, has missed the last four games with a right knee sprain, and it is uncertain if he will be able to take the field Saturday against West Virginia.
Names to keep an eye on:
- Brock Purdy (Quarterback) – Purdy, a sophomore, took home Big 12 True Freshman of the Year by ESPN and was a member of the Honorable Mention All-Big 12 team as he finished his freshman season with 2,250 yards and 16 touchdowns while rushing for 308 yards and 5 touchdowns. His record as a starter against Big 12 opponents so far is 7-2 after going 6-1 during his freshman year. With his newfound playmakers, he has thrown for 1,578 yards and 10 touchdowns so far this season along with 203 yards and 5 touchdowns on the ground. He is actually the leading rusher on the team.
- Johnnie Lang (Running Back) – Lang, a redshirt sophomore, is the lead running back for the Cyclones. He has rushed for 188 yards and 3 touchdowns so far this season, but he is also a threat in the passing game. He is speedy so look for the Mountaineers to try and keep him between the hash marks.
- Deshaunte Jones (Wide Receiver) – Jones, a senior, leads the team in catches with 37 and has 444 yards, but only has 1 touchdown. However, he has also thrown for 1 touchdown this season as well, so fun plays are in the Cyclones playbook.
- La’Michael Pettway (Wide Receiver) – Pettway, a redshirt senior, is a bigger wideout option for Purdy. He stands at 6-2 and weighs 223 lbs, look for him in the redzone for some big plays.
The Mountaineers will need to put as much pressure on Brock Purdy as possible. Bringing an extra blitzer every play may help get Purdy out of the pocket, but West Virginia also needs to keep a spy on him because of his ability to run the ball. West Virginia’s young secondary will have to continue to step up and make plays in the passing game and try to not let up any big plays down the field. If the Mountaineers can keep Iowa State under 250 passing yards, they will be in a position to win the game.
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