Brock Purdy may own the most wins by a quarterback in Iowa State history, but a rivalry loss has brought him under heavy scrutiny.
Purdy will look to bounce back from a subpar performance when the No. 14 Cyclones (1-1) visit UNLV (0-2) on Saturday night.
Purdy has a 24-12 record as a starter but picked a bad time to have a clunker — the highly anticipated showdown with Iowa that marked the first time the schools had played while both were ranked in the Top 10.
Purdy threw three interceptions and was just 13-of-27 passing for 138 yards before being yanked in the 27-17 setback. He has yet to throw a touchdown this season.
Freshman Hunter Dekkers finished the game, completing 11 of 16 passes for 114 yards and a touchdown, but Iowa State coach Matt Campbell is sticking with Purdy, who with 9,319 career yards needs 181 to surpass Bret Meyer (9,499 from 2004-07) for most in school history.
“That’s gut-wrenching when it doesn’t go your way,” Campbell said at a press conference. “And some of the things that happen in the game really aren’t on you as the quarterback, but everybody’s perception is that it is.
“So the reality of it is, it’s tough to play that position. But man, he’s played it for four years. He knows how to handle tough times.”
Standout running back Breece Hall also made a huge gaffe, losing a fumble near his own end zone that Iowa’s Jack Campbell picked up and ran 6 yards for a score that gave the Hawkeyes a 21-10 lead in the third quarter.
“What a critical error in the game,” Campbell said of the fumble. “And when you’re an ‘A’ player, you need to be able to play ‘A’ football.”
Hall has 138 rushing yards in two games. He also has scored a rushing touchdown in each to raise his streak to 14 consecutive games with a rushing score, one shy of the Big 12 mark set by Missouri’s Corby Jones (1997-98).
Defensive end William McDonald IV is pacing the defense. He has 2.5 sacks this season and is ranked second in school history with 20.
UNLV is waiting to learn whether quarterback Doug Brumfield will be available. He departed after taking a hard hit in the third quarter of last Saturday’s 37-10 road loss against then-No. 23 Arizona State.
If not, Justin Rogers, who started the season-opening 35-33 double-overtime loss to Eastern Washington, will draw the start. He was pulled from that game in favor of Brumfield.
The Rebels have dropped eight straight games since winning their 2019 finale. Second-year coach Marcus Arroyo saw signs of progress against Arizona State before the game got away in the final quarter.
“We’ve (got) to continue to coach our tails off,” Arroyo told reporters. “Be very introspective in regards to how we can finish a game and put two halves together. We’ve got a sour taste in our mouth.”
Running back Charles Williams (212 yards in 2021) moved into third place on UNLV’s career rushing list with 3,152 yards, passing former NFL running back Mike Thomas (3,149).
Defensively, middle linebacker Austin Ajiake and outside linebacker Jacoby Windmon share the team lead of 19 tackles. Windmon has a team-best 1.5 sacks.
Iowa State leads the series 4-1, but UNLV prevailed in the most recent meeting, 34-31 in overtime in 2008 in Las Vegas.
–Field Level Media