Members of the Iowa State football team celebrate after beating West Virginia 42-6 on Dec. 5. With this win, Iowa State won its first regular season conference title since 1908 and earned a spot in the Big 12 Championship on Dec. 19.
Photo Courtesy of Iowa State Athletics
No. 9 Iowa State had a chance to do something it has never done before with a win on Saturday if it beat the West Virginia Mountaineers.
With a win on Saturday, or an Oklahoma State loss (which it did) or Texas win (which it did), Iowa State would qualify for the 2020 Big 12 Championship.
Thanks to a dominating performance on both sides of the ball, Iowa State (8-2, 8-1 Big 12) cruised to a 42-6 victory over West Virginia (5-4, 4-4 Big 12), clinched a spot in the 2020 Big 12 Championship and won the regular season title outright.
Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell said this was a special winner, especially for the seniors.
“I think it’s really special, but I’ll also tell you, how is that any different than any game we’ve played this fall,” Campbell said.”In a lot of ways, that’s what the senior class has done, they’ve demanded excellence, they’ve demanded greatness, they’ve demanded to stay the course, the biggest plays and the biggest moment have come from so many of those seniors.”
Campbell said it’s rewarding for the seniors to finish the regular season this way because of, “what they’ve done all year for this team and this program.”
“I couldn’t be happier for each and every one of them,” Campbell said.
Iowa State’s next game is the Big 12 Championship game on Dec. 19 in Arlington, Texas, against either the Oklahoma Sooners or the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
“It’s special,” junior quarterback Brock Purdy said. “But the job is not finished, we want to win it, not just make it there.”
The Cyclones played a nearly perfect game on both sides of the ball on Saturday.
The Cyclones outgained the Mountaineers in yards 483-263.
Coming into Saturday’s tilt, the Mountaineers only gave up 274 yards a game and 17.8 points per game.
Through the air, Iowa State junior quarterback Brock Purdy completed 20 of his 23 pass attempts, threw three touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Purdy now has 22 wins as a starting quarterback for Iowa State, which is the most in program history.
He also was very effective on the ground on Saturday, running for 38 yards and a touchdown.
In total, the Cyclones had 236 rushing yards, over double what the Mountaineers give up per game.
Sophomore running back Breece Hall ran for 97 yards on 22 attempts and scored one rushing touchdown.
He also had 56 receiving yards and a touchdown.
Senior running back Kene Nwangwu chimed in on the ground as well, rushing for 77 yards on nine attempts and he scored one touchdown.
Iowa State’s defense completely shut down West Virginia’s offense, allowing zero touchdowns.
West Virginia’s running back, junior Leddie Brown, was the third-leading rusher in the nation heading into Saturday’s game, as he had 839 yards.
“We couldn’t sustain it at all,” West Virginia head coach Neal Brown said. “They (Iowa State’s defense) dominated the line of scrimmage.”
Iowa State’s Orien Vance (number 34 in black) and JaQuan Bailey (number 3 in black) make a tackle in Iowa State’s 42-6 win over West Virginia on Dec. 5.
Photo Courtesy of Iowa State Athletics
Neal Brown said Iowa State’s defense filled in gaps early, which is something they hadn’t done all year.
Leddie Brown was held to 48 yards and zero touchdowns on 14 rushing attempts.
Iowa State’s defense limited West Virginia to 54 rushing yards.
Junior linebacker Mike Rose said stopping the run was the most important thing in the defensive gameplan.
“[Our] number [task] was to stop the run and make the quarterback throw the ball, that was the game plan in a nutshell,” Rose said.
West Virginia’s quarterback, redshirt junior Jarret Doege, completed just 21 of 41 passes, for 209 yards and zero touchdowns.
Iowa State got on the board first with a 23 yard rushing touchdown by Hall, with 5:51 left in the first quarter.
Purdy pushed Iowa State’s lead to 14 with a 10 yard rushing touchdown early in the second quarter.
This touchdown gave him 17 rushing touchdowns for his career, which is tied for the most by a Cyclone quarterback.
Purdy scored again in the second quarter, this time through the air, as he threw a touchdown to senior wide receiver Landon Akers with 2:49 left in the second quarter.
In the first half, Iowa State had four possessions, three of which resulted in a touchdown and the other one was the final drive of the half where Iowa State ran out the clock.
Iowa State outgained West Virginia 236-101 in total yards and 109-13 in rushing yards in the first half.
The Cyclones increased their lead to 28 thanks to a touchdown pass by Purdy to redshirt junior tight end Charlie Kolar.
Kolar broke Iowa State’s career receptions mark on Saturday with his 95th career catch.
Senior running back Kene Nwangwu capped off the third quarter with a 47 yard rushing touchdown, to put Iowa State ahead 35-0.
The Mountaineers finally scored with 12 minutes left in the fourth quarter, with a 31 yard field goal from redshirt senior Tyler Sumpter.
Purdy threw his third touchdown of the game to Hall with 7:07 left in the fourth quarter, giving the Cyclones a 42-3 lead.
Sumpter kicked another field goal with 2:46 left, to give the Mountaineers six total points.
With their defense only allowing the Mountaineers to score two field goals in their 42-6 win, the Cyclones defense has not allowed a touchdown at home in the last two games.
Kolar says the team executed well on both offense, defense and special teams against the Mountaineers.
The defense was impressive [today] holding them to six points and well below their season averages and offensively I thought we had a good game plan and we executed well,” Kolar said. “Brock had a good game, Breece had a good game, our offensive line is playing well, special teams had a really good game too and we just executed on all sides of the ball.”
The Cyclones have outscored their opponents 110-26 in the last three games and 87-6 in the last two home games.
Iowa State ends the 2020 regular season with on a five game-winning streak.
At the end of the 2019 regular season, Iowa State lost four out of its last six games.
“We’re playing better football on both sides of the ball,” Kolar said. “We’ve executed better down the stretch, last year we lost games down the stretch and now we’re finishing games this year,” Kolar said.
With Saturday’s win, Iowa State now has the chance to win its first ever Big 12 Championship on Dec. 19.