INSIDE SCOOP

Inside Slant

The Sports Xchange

November 06, 2018 at 10:49 pm.

QB Purdy key to Iowa State turnaround

It’s difficult to overstate what the insertion of Brock Purdy into the starting lineup has meant for Iowa State.

In the four games that Purdy has started, the Cyclones are averaging 36.3 points and nearly 450 yards of total offense per game. His 12 touchdown passes are already the school’s freshman record. Meanwhile, the Cyclones have won all four of Purdy’s starts, two over ranked opponents.

After starting off with a 1-3 September, Iowa State, which came in at No. 22 in this week’s CFP rankings, now finds itself on the brink of bowl-eligibility with four games left. It also may find itself with the need for another last-minute schedule change.

The Cyclones season opener against South Dakota State was postponed because of weather, so the team scheduled a replacement game against Incarnate Wood on Dec. 1. That seemed like a huge deal when it looked like Iowa State might need a sixth win for bowl eligibility. If anything, now it’s more likely that the team may have alternate plans — if Iowa State wins out and gets some help, it could find itself in the Big 12 title game that day.

Of course, that’s a long way off. But it’s hard for fans not to look ahead a little bit, given the newfound offensive success.

But here’s the secret: Matt Campbell’s team’s success isn’t just the result of an offensive explosion.

It was the defense that got the job done against Kansas, holding the Jayhawks to three points and keeping them out of the end zone despite having a pair of chances from the Iowa State one-yard line. This came two weeks after shutting down then-No. 6 West Virginia in a 30-14 win on Oct. 13.

Now, it’s just the special teams in detention after a series of uneven performances. But aside from that, and the fear that a young team will look past a dangerous Baylor squad this week, these are exciting times to be a Cyclone fan.