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Notebook: freshman football stars recap first season

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Brock Purdy (15), Kyle Kempt (17), and Mike Rose (23) celebrate after winning the 2018 Homecoming game against Texas Tech on Oct. 27. The Cyclones won 40-31.

The 2018 football season closed for Iowa State after its 28-26 loss to Washington State in the Valero Alamo Bowl.

Two important pieces to the Cyclones' season leading into the bowl game were the freshman combo of linebacker Mike Rose and quarterback Brock Purdy.

With a season under their belt, the two no longer apply for Iowa State's team rule of no media availability for freshmen. Purdy and Rose spoke to the media for the first time at Iowa State on Friday.

Purdy's leadership

After Kyle Kempt suffered an injury against Iowa and Matt Campbell elected to swap in Purdy at Oklahoma State, the Arizona native added more responsibilities to his plate.

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Teammates celebrate a touchdown made by Brock Purdy at the Alamo Bowl game Dec. 28. The Cyclones fell to the Cougars 28-26.

"From [when] I first stepped onto campus, I was kind of a little quiet here and there, but after I started playing we all opened up," Purdy said. "That's where we grew and had success."

Purdy had an ideal mentor to hand over the reins to the freshman in Kempt, according to Purdy.

Throughout the season, a handful of offensive coaches and Campbell preached about Kempt and his transition to a different role during his final season.

"Kyle Kempt just showed me how things are ran as a quarterback for a whole program," Purdy said. "He broke things down for me in the film room, on the field, at practice.

"Without him, I don't think the success is there throughout the season, so he for sure helped me out big-time this year."

Rose's Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk debut

Many Cyclone fans weren't pleased with the outcome of Iowa State's rivalry game with Iowa this season.

One positive taken from the loss was the emergence of Rose. 

Rose competed with Bobby McMillen and O'Rien Vance for the starting mike linebacker position before the season.

After the rained-out opener with South Dakota State, Rose piled up a game-high 11 total tackles and a pass break-up against the Hawkeyes.

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Iowa State freshman Mike Rose runs the ball into the end zone after catching a fumble in the fourth quarter of Iowa State's 42-38 win over Kansas State. The touchdown by Rose was one of three touchdowns scored by the Cyclones in the 17-point comeback win.

"Crazy, honestly a dream come true," Rose said about the Iowa game. 

After the Iowa game, Rose said he believed he progressed each game.

Entering his first offseason after a Division I season, Rose is focused on improving his craft and turning in more performances like the Iowa game.

"This is going to be a big offseason for me because winters are usually big for players," Rose said. "This is my first winter here, so hopefully I can just elevate my game even more."

Future goals

The duo faced the same question during their interviews, and the two provided similar answers.

Purdy said he and Rose talked about their goals prior to this season in the summer. 

"I just want to win a Big 12 Championship," Rose said.

"Obviously, win Big 12 Championships here and go to a National Championship, as well," Purdy said. 

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