Just two weeks into the season, there were concerns aplenty for Iowa State.
Whether it was Brock Purdy not doing much in the air or Breece Hall not doing enough on the ground, the Cyclones were sputtering. Iowa State was 1-1 but the offense was, for the most part, nowhere to be found.
What heals most all wounds? Traveling to Sin City to thoroughly dominate a now 0-3 UNLV Runnin' Rebels team that hasn't won a football game in 659 (and counting) days.
Everything seemed to click for the Cyclones on Saturday night. Purdy was getting essentially whatever he wanted against an inferior UNLV secondary. Hall was humming early, and he allowed the Cyclones to dominate from the word "go".
It wasn't just those two, however. Xavier Hutchinson had a career night, hauling in 10 passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns. Charlie Kolar found his rhythm again, with four catches for 69 yards and a score as well.
Hunter Dekkers played about the same amount of minutes as he did against the Iowa Hawkeyes, but the difference from the previous week was that Purdy was surely smiling as he hung up his helmet for the night this time.
Any football fan could've told you that the Runnin' Rebels didn't stand much of a chance. Iowa State was in desperate need of a win, and a convincing one at that.
This is what teams like Iowa State are supposed to do to teams like UNLV: Get into the end zone early, keep your foot on the gas and turn the fourth quarter into essentially a second-team practice session.
After two frankly concerning games from an offensive standpoint, Matt Campbell's squad finally showed exactly why fans and media were so high on the Cyclones coming into 2021. With Purdy at the helm, Hall barreling out of the backfield, and weapons aplenty for the quarterback to throw to, Iowa State can hang around with some of the best in the country. The issue so far has been putting it all together like they did Saturday.
Purdy was much better than in the two games prior, completing 21 of his 24 passes for 288 yards and tossing three touchdowns as well. He wasn't perfect, as he did give away the football on a quarterback keeper. It didn't end up hurting the Cyclones on the scoreboard, however, as Isheem Young got the ball right back for Iowa State.
What can't be dismissed is the fact that the defense, as per usual, was outstanding. The three points on UNLV's end of the scoreboard speaks for itself, but the stats that kept them there are quite impressive.
Iowa State held the home team to 130 total yards, including just 36 yards on the ground. UNLV was 2-13 on third down, and 0-2 on fourth. Most any statistic you pull from this game will show you how dominant Iowa State was.
The Cyclone defense also sacked UNLV three times, and had eight total tackles for loss. UNLV was never really to get ahead of schedule on their offensive drives, and the stingy Iowa State defense is a big reason for that.
As if the Cyclones needed more good news, the kickers were also rock solid. Andrew Mevis was 2/2 on field goals, including a 54-yard bomb. Mevis and Connor Assalley combined to go six of six on extra points as well.
Offense, defense and special teams all contributed to this rout of the Runnin' Rebels. It was a complete team effort for the entirety of the game.
This get-right game for the Cyclones will surely serve them well as they travel to Baylor next week to start Big 12 play against the 3-0 Bears.
No game will be this easy for the Cyclones from here on out, as they will be getting every Big 12 team's best effort after a historic run last year. As of now, they only have one ranked game left on their schedule, a Nov. 20 date in Norman with the third-ranked Oklahoma Sooners.
A 2-1 record heading into Big 12 play was frankly the most likely outcome for Iowa State. But considering they only put up 16 points against Northern Iowa in the opener, and fell flat against the Hawkeyes, Iowa State needed this kind of game before they headed to conference play.
Offensive performances put out by Iowa State in the first two weeks will not yield them many wins in the Big 12, but if they can use this 48-3 drubbing of UNLV as a blueprint, they'll be just as dangerous as they were last year, and could make the national noise they expected to make coming into the 2021 season.