AMES — Iowa State dominated all three aspects of the Saturday football game to defeat the Kansas Jayhawks 59-7 and improved to 1-1 in Big 12 play.
Whether it was Brock Purdy and his record-setting first quarter or the Cyclones finally on the good side of the coin when it came to special teams, it was an all-around effort to get the Cyclones a win going into their only bye week this season.
Offense puts game out of reach early
The offense for Iowa State has sputtered in the early season and scoring 28 points in a game has been hard to come by.
Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell had the team prepared to come home on Saturday because the Cyclones, particularly on offense, came out firing in never before seen way at Jack Trice Stadium.
When the clock read zeros at the end of the first quarter, it was 28-0 in favor of the Cyclones. Just looking at the score would tell you it was a beatdown of epic proportions, but taking a deeper look at the stats provides more evidence.
Purdy had one of his most efficient and effective quarters of Cyclone football. He completed all five of his passes for 96 yards and four of his five completions in the first quarter went for touchdowns.
It was about as good of a quarter as the Cyclone quarterback could have. Veteran safety Greg Eisworth couldn't believe what he was seeing.
"It was crazy," Eisworth said. "I remember sitting on the sideline like 'man, has he had an incomplete pass?'... that's him, that's what we all know he's capable of doing."
It was the most points the Cyclones have ever scored in a quarter, as well as the most touchdown passes ever thrown in a quarter.
What makes the prolific offense even more impressive is the spreading of the wealth that occurred with touchdown passes. All four scores came from different Cyclone receivers: Xavier Hutchinson, Joe Scates, Charlie Kolar and Jirehl Brock, all beneficiaries of Purdy's perfect quarter.
"When [the defense] makes stops, when they turn the ball over and then, boom, we can go out and capitalize like that and score, you know, obviously just get our momentum rolling for us is huge," Purdy said.
Defense and special teams certainly accounted for their fair share of big plays, causing a fumble and blocking a field goal attempt. It contributed to the Cyclones only having the ball on offense for about six minutes after being consistently set up with great field position.
Special teams unit joins the party early
After a kickoff returned a touchdown against them, a few long punt returns and near misses in their own punt returns; special teams was justifiably a point of concern as Iowa State entered this game.
So much so that Corey Dunn, the Cyclones' primary punter this season, was benched in favor of redshirt junior Cameron Shook for the duration of this game.
Shook punted admirably throughout the game, but it was defensive stalwart Eyioma Uwazurike that came through for the special teams, and helped to cultivate the momentum that Iowa State would use for the rest of the game.
After Kansas drove down the field in their best drive of the quarter, possibly the half, they set up for a 34-yard attempt blocked by Uwazurike and returned for 55 yards by Eisworth. It was a play that set up the Iowa State offense to score in just four plays.
"There's a flow and momentum that we have to play in to be successful," Campbell said. "I thought, really, we were able to find that early in the game and we've done that at times and maybe not as consistent as we've needed to do in the first part of the season."
Momentum, flow, rhythm, whatever it is, the Cyclones had it. They cultivated it early with touchdown passes and they kept it by continuing to put their foot on the gas until it was completely out of reach.
Another special teams success that can't be ignored was how (relatively) graceful a last second field goal was executed before the half. Bringing the score up 38-0.
After Purdy was sacked with 24 seconds remaining at his nine, it was a massive operation to get the offense off the field and the special teams on to allow Connor Assalley a 26-yard field goal just as the clock showed triple zeroes.
Little plays like that, particularly on special teams, can make all the difference in a game. While Iowa State likely would've won comfortably against a now 1-4 Kansas squad, it was the micro details in this game that allowed Iowa State to pick up a macro victory as they head into their off week.