College Football

No. 23 Iowa State on a roll heading to Oklahoma State

Iowa State's Brock Purdy (15) hands the ball off to Breece Hall (28) during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Texas Tech, Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, in Lubbock, Texas. (Brad Tollefson/Lubbock Avalanche-Journal via AP)

AMES, Iowa (AP) Iowa State's young offensive players are growing up and it shows in the area that matters most.

The Cyclones are winning.

Iowa State, newly ensconced at No. 23 in the Top 25, takes a three-game winning streak into Saturday's home game with Oklahoma State, helped by an offense that is running much smoother than it did early in the season.

The Cyclones (5-2, 3-1 Big 12) have averaged 40.3 points and 456 yards over the last three games. In their two losses, to Iowa and Baylor, they averaged just 19 points and scored only 13 points in regulation in a triple overtime victory over Northern Iowa in the season opener.

So what changed?

"I don't know if there's one specific thing," offensive tackle Bryce Meeker said Tuesday. "I think we knew that things were going to start clicking, we just didn't know when. I think by putting all our heads down and continuing to work, it just started to click for us."

Coach Matt Campbell expected some early struggles because of the team's youth at the skill positions. Quarterback Brock Purdy and starting tight end Charlie Kolar are sophomores. Two sophomores and a freshman are among the top wide receivers. Breece Hall has solidified what had been an unsettled situation at running back, but he's a true freshman.

There was never any doubt about their talent. They just needed some experience to figure things out, Campbell said.

"As much as you say, boy, they're ready to go in fall camp, until you step out under the lights, until you go through failures, the ebbs and flows of the game, and have the ability to respond to that - that's part of the growing process," he said. "I do think that's part of the offense's growing process a little bit, finding out who, what, how and really building from there. And I think that group's done a really nice job of building as this season's gone on."

The turnaround actually started in the Cyclones' last loss, 23-21 at Baylor. Trailing 20-0 after three quarters, Iowa State ripped off three touchdowns in an 11-minute span to take the lead, but could not stop a Baylor drive that led to the game-winning field goal.

Since then, Iowa State has put up point totals of 49, 38 and 24 in beating TCU, West Virginia and Texas Tech, all by double figures.

"Honestly, coach got on us that we've got to get off to a start from the get-go," Purdy said. "It can't be late in the second half. I felt like the first couple of games in the season we were waiting and waiting rather than, boom, attack from the beginning. I just feel like our mindset switched in the last couple of games on getting off to a good start."

Iowa State has trailed only once in the last three games, falling behind West Virginia 7-0 before storming back to win 38-14.

"I think we had it inside of us the whole time," Meeker said. "I just think we had to combine everything that we knew and continue to work. We knew we had to change something and we did."

Hall's emergence certainly has helped. After carrying only 18 times in the first four games, he ran for 132 yards and three touchdowns at West Virginia and was even better last week at Texas Tech, amassing 183 yards on just 19 carries and adding 73 yards receiving. He broke a 75-yard touchdown run in that game, the longest by an Iowa State player since 2015.

Purdy leads the Big 12 in passing yards and is second in passing efficiency, sophomore Tarique Milton is fifth in receiving yards and Kolar is tied for eighth nationally in receiving yards by a tight end.

"It will be fascinating to see where this group can be by the time the season ends," Campbell said. "Can it make that couple of huge strides it will have to if we're going to be the best team we can be down the stretch run?"


More AP college football: and

Updated October 22, 2019

Sports Data API Powered by STATS © 2019 by STATS.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS is strictly prohibited.

Teams Score Time
Elon   8:30pm
North Carolina  
NC State   Thu 8:00pm
Georgia Tech  
Mercer   Sat 3:30pm
North Carolina  
Duke   Sat 7:30pm
Wake Forest  
Teams Score Time
Chattanooga   6:30pm
Florida State  
Alabama State   7:00pm
Delaware State   7:00pm
Virginia Tech  
Eastern Washington   7:00pm
Boston College  
Georgia Tech   7:00pm
USC Upstate   7:00pm
Cornell   7:30pm
Little Rock   8:00pm
Elon   8:30pm
North Carolina  
Missouri State   Thu 11:30am
Miami (FL)  
Villanova   Thu 11:30am
Middle Tennessee  
Teams Score Time
NC State   Thu 8:00pm
Georgia Tech  
Illinois   Sat 12:00pm
Liberty   Sat 12:00pm
Minnesota   Sat 12:00pm
Oklahoma State   Sat 12:00pm
West Virginia  
Penn State   Sat 12:00pm
Ohio State  
Samford   Sat 12:00pm
Western Carolina   Sat 12:00pm
Boston College   Sat 2:30pm
Notre Dame  
Texas State   Sat 2:30pm
Appalachian State  
Mercer   Sat 3:30pm
North Carolina  
Michigan   Sat 3:30pm
Pittsburgh   Sat 3:30pm
Virginia Tech  
SMU   Sat 3:30pm
Texas A&M   Sat 3:30pm
Texas   Sat 3:30pm
Memphis   Sat 4:00pm
South Florida  
Purdue   Sat 4:00pm
Syracuse   Sat 4:00pm
Arkansas   Sat 7:00pm
Miami   Sat 7:00pm
Florida International  
Temple   Sat 7:00pm
Duke   Sat 7:30pm
Wake Forest  
Oregon   Sat 7:30pm
Arizona State  
TCU   Sat 8:00pm
Utah   Sat 10:00pm
Boise State   Sat 10:30pm
Utah State  
Teams Score Time
Knicks   7:00pm
Spurs   7:00pm
Hornets   7:30pm
Cavaliers   7:30pm
Warriors   7:30pm
Bucks   7:30pm
Magic   7:30pm
Pistons   8:00pm
Jazz   8:00pm
Rockets   9:00pm
Celtics   10:00pm
Teams Score Time
Colts   Thu 8:20pm
Teams Score Time
Senators   7:30pm
Capitals   8:00pm
Pos # Name Start Pos
1 18 Kyle Busch 4
2 19 Martin Truex Jr 3
3 20 Erik Jones 16
4 4 Kevin Harvick 2
5 22 Joey Logano 5
6 14 Clint Bowyer 10
7 6 Ryan Newman 15
8 3 Austin Dillon 22
9 88 Alex Bowman 12
Pos # Name Start Pos
1 2 Tyler Reddick 1
2 00 Cole Custer 2
3 98 Chase Briscoe 5
4 9 Noah Gragson 10
5 20 Christopher Bell 7
6 36 John Hunter Nemechek 6
7 22 Austin Cindric 3
8 19 Brandon Jones 4
9 8 Jeb Burton 18
Pos # Name Start Pos
1 16 Austin Hill 5
2 88 Matt Crafton 9
3 51 Christian Eckes 2
4 45 Ross Chastain 3
5 24 Brett Moffitt 4
6 13 Johnny Sauter 6
7 98 Grant Enfinger 7
8 4 Todd Gilliland 11
9 2 Sheldon Creed 12