Coach Matt Campbell earlier this season described the turnaround for ISU football in incredibly accurate fashion saying “we are not a 5 star factory but we have a 5 star culture”. That culture has been evident in a year that has seen historic levels of success. Saturday, Iowa State routed West Virginia 42-6 in a game heard on “True Country” 540 KWMT. That win means that Iowa State will play for the Big 12 title for the 1st time ever. The Cyclones have not won a conference title since they won a share of the Missouri Valley Title in 1912. Iowa State beat Oklahoma and Texas in the same season for the first time ever this year as well, they also have had their highest national ranking in school history.
It would have been easy for Iowa State to overlook West Virginia this past Saturday but they didn’t at all. That is the mark of a team that is poised and composed due to veteran leadership and one that believes fully in the message from its head coach. ISU dismantled WVU to the tune of 42-6. Cyclones controlled the line of scrimmage and it showed in the run game to the tune of 236-54. 3rd down efficiency was tremendous for the Cyclones as well, they converted on 67% of their 3rd downs offensively and held West Virginia to a 41% 3rd down conversion rate. Brock Purdy was incredibly efficient, a QB can’t play much better than 20 of 23, 247 yards, and 3 TD’s with no turnovers. Breece Hall has been so good all season, we have just gotten used to him running for over 100 yards every game. Saturday he ran for 97 on 22 carries and had a TD. Hall added a receiving TD on 3 catches out of the backfield as well. The defense had 3 sacks on the game Saturday and as previously mentioned was good on 3rd down.
December 19th, will be a historic and special day for Iowa State football when they take the field in Arlington, Texas. ISU will take on Oklahoma and to win its first conference title in over 100 years, ISU will have to do something it’s never done before and that’s beat OU twice in the same season. However, at this point in the season it seems like this ISU defies the historical trends each week. It is without a doubt, a “renaissance” year for Cyclone Football. Before Matt Campbell arrived in Ames, ISU hadn’t beat Oklahoma since 1990 to contrast that ISU is 2-3 vs Oklahoma in Campbell’s tenure. In a year that has been anything but ordinary, Iowa State fans can take solace in the fact this year has been extraordinary for their program. Matt Campbell, his staff and players have done something that most people not in that locker room believed would probably never happen. The odds or status quo would say that it isn’t likely that ISU beats OU twice in the same season, but this year and this team has been far from the status quo. In being around sports for nearly 30 years in various capacities, something I learned and used to say to teams I coached was “Culture Is Contagious” . In a year that has seen a pandemic disrupt the lives of so many, it has been the contagiousness of culture that has spread like and prompted a historically successful season for Matt Campbell’s program.