The Camping World Bowl is fast approaching as the game between Iowa State and No. 14 Notre Dame will take place on Saturday.
The College Football Playoff games to follow the Camping World Bowl will have high implications, but the Cyclones and the Fighting Irish have their own things to worry about.
High praise for Brock Purdy
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly mentioned on Thursday his respect for Iowa State and how many people don't know about how good the Cyclones are, but the player he saved the highest praise for was Cyclone quarterback Brock Purdy.
Purdy has made a case to be one of the best players in Iowa State history this season, as he has set numerous quarterback records and is on track to start breaking career records next season if he keeps it up.
Notre Dame will have its hands full with the sophomore and Kelly knows that it will be a challenge.
"I think the ability to feature the tight ends within their offense, the running game, and a quarterback that just has a special ‘it’ to him," Kelly said. "I think that anytime you have a quarterback that obviously can see the field really well, has escapability, arm talent, they're difficult to defend."
Seniors say goodbye
Iowa State and Notre Dame will be saying goodbye to two groups of seniors after the game finishes up on Saturday, which in Iowa State's case, will mark the end for any Paul Rhoads era recruits.
There were still a few with the most notable being offensive tackle Julian Good-Jones and linebacker Marcel Spears.
Seniors that never redshirted or came over from junior college are also leaving with their whole careers being spent under coach Matt Campbell.
The seniors have been a big part of Iowa State's season with much of the production coming from the offense in the forms of Good-Jones on the offensive line and Deshaunte Jones and La'Michael Pettway at wide receiver.
"For this senior class for us, like I said, it’s a really unique group and a big chunk of this group is a group that stayed the course with us through a coaching change, a small group of young man that kind of joined us three years ago with, you know, Ray Lima, Matt Leo, and those guys, and then you've also got a couple grad transfers in there," Campbell said.
Cyclones comfortable on the big stage
Upsetting storied programs is nothing new for Iowa State under Matt Campbell. The Cyclones upset Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma, in 2017 that started a trend for Iowa State of beating top 10 teams. Although Oklahoma was the only historically good program they toppled, the Cyclones also struck down TCU in 2017, followed by West Virginia the next season.
This season, Iowa State hasn't been able to land a top-10 win, but it came close in a 42-41 loss against the aforementioned Sooners.
A win against Notre Dame wouldn't be a top 10 win, but it would be a top tier win against a storied program.
"I think more than anything is the opportunity to finish the football season playing our best football," Campbell said. "That's always been our goal, just to be able to play our best football for four quarters."