MANHATTAN, Kan. — There’s something about the spookiest month of the year that brings out the best in the Cyclones.
After Iowa State’s victory last Saturday, the program has now compiled a jaw-dropping record of 15-2 in October over the past five seasons. The Cyclones have established a pattern under Coach Matt Campbell, to where they start slow out of the gates, then make strides once October rolls around.
There’s one individual on the team, who’s the epitome of the Cyclones’ success during the month of Halloween, and that’s quarterback Brock Purdy. Iowa State fans don’t call him Brocktober for nothing. The Arizona native always turns his game up a few notches during the month, with 3,243 passing yards, 27 touchdowns and nine interceptions over his career in October.
It’s hard for the signal-caller to explain the Cyclones’ success during that span, but he loves the results in the win column.
“To be honest, in the past up to this year, you go through those first couple of games, get a feel for the season, which is hard to really digest,” Purdy said. “Obviously you want to come out with guns blazing on offense and defense, but with our team that’s just how it is.”
Iowa State usually struggles with an in-state foe for the first game, then takes its’ bumps and bruises with Iowa, before a light bulb comes on. However, once it does, Purdy and the Cyclones become one of the hottest teams in the Big 12.
“We get a feel for who we are, our identity as a whole, and who can do what,” he said. “Then by the time the month of October rolls around, we understand who we are, what we have to do and execute, that’s what it comes down to.”
It just so happens that those two losses during Iowa State’s incredible October run over the past five seasons has been to Oklahoma State. Now the undefeated and eighth-ranked Cowboys will be invading Jack Trice Stadium this Saturday. The Pokes have been a thorn in the Cyclones side. Not to mention Mike Gundy is 4-1 head-to-head against Campbell.
Regardless, Iowa State is playing with extreme confidence and should be ready for the challenge. Offensive Coordinator Tom Manning loves a balanced attack and the Cyclones’ are excelling on the ground and through the air. Purdy has a plethora of weapons around him, so he hasn’t been asked to run the ball as much.
After all, Purdy has an All-American rusher to hand the ball off to in Breece Hall, and another to throw the pigskin to in tight end Charlie Kolar. Mix that in with a brick wall of an offensive line, and that’s a recipe for major success on offense. Against Kansas State last week, Purdy was able to pick apart the secondary and played pitch and catch with his receivers, especially on third downs.
“Just being able to identify what they were running, they disguised a lot of stuff, but at the end of the day it just came down to the post-snap read,” the 21-year old said. “Obviously when you have Charlie out there, he’s a big target and when you get the ball in his vicinity, he’ll make a play on it.”
Iowa State’s offense is going to need that same intensity going up against a defense that’s ranked 19th in the country in total yards allowed. Purdy is already Iowa State’s career leader in most passing categories. He’s also a two-time All-Big 12 performer. Still, what he hasn’t accomplished in his career is lead Iowa State (4-2) to a victory over Oklahoma State (6-0) at home.
Purdy will get the opportunity this weekend to accomplish that feat and add to his amazing October legacy with the Cyclones.