The 2020 season, as chaotic as it was, was a season of firsts for one Big 12 school. After their greatest season in school history, Iowa State football looks to be even better in 2021.
A Season of Firsts
In 2020, the Cyclones (9–3) turned in the greatest season in school history under head coach Matt Campbell (35–28 at Iowa State). As a result, they achieved many firsts:
- First appearance in the Big 12 title game vs Oklahoma (of course).
- Most wins in a season (9).
- First appearance in New Years Six bowl game, defeated Oregon 34–17 in the Fiesta Bowl.
- Ranked as high as #6 in the AP Poll (highest in school history).
- First Iowa State team to claim sole possession of 1st place in final Big 12 standings (8–1).
- Defeated #18 Oklahoma and #20 Texas in the same season.
- Beat Oklahoma in Ames for the first time since 1960.
- Finished #9 in the final AP Poll.
Head Coach Matt Campbell
Campbell is already the winningest coach in school history, with 34 wins and a 54.8 winning percentage. He was a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award.
He was named the Big 12 Coach of the Year last season.
Iowa State Football Returns A lot of Production and Experience in 2021
The Cyclones will return all eleven starters on offense. The leaders will be senior quarterback Brock Purdy and junior running back Breece Hall.
Purdy will begin his fourth year as the starter.
QB Brock Purdy
Purdy was named to the 1st team All-Big 12 team in 2020. These are his 2020 stats, according to cfbstats.com:
- 2750 passing yards
- 19 TDs
- 9 INTs
- 66% completion percentage
- 3–300 yard passing games.
- 2 games of over 70% completion percentage.
- 2 games of over 80% completion percentage.
In the first meeting vs Oklahoma in Ames, IA, Purdy threw for 254 yards and TD and rushed for a TD in the 37–30 win.
RB Breece Hall
Hall turned in an outstanding season and earned numerous accolades. His stats according to cfbstats.com:
- Consensus All-American as a sophomore.
- Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year.
- 1st Team All-Big 12
- 1542 rushing yards
- Led the Big 12 in rushing yards per game at 131 yards/game.
- 21 rushing TDs
- 5.6 yards per carry.
- Rushed for 100 yards or more in 9 of 12 games.
- Scored 2 or more rushing TDs in eight games.
- 139 yards and 2 TDs vs Oklahoma in their 37–30 win at home.
Hall rushed for 136 yards and 2 TDs in 34–17 Fiesta Bowl win over Oregon.
After taking advantage of an NCAA rule implemented in 2020 that put a blanket waiver on everyone’s eligibility, the Cyclones will return five seniors, according to www.cyclones.com:
- TE Chase Allen
- OL Sean Foster: started every game in 2020.
- DL Eyioma Uwazurike: 33 career starts.
- LB Jake Hummel: 77 tackles in 2020, 50 career starts.
- DB Greg Eisworth: 3-time First-Team All-Big 12 selection.
Six of their first eight games on the 2021 schedule will be played at Jack Trice Stadium, and they will finish the season with four consecutive road games.
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Originally published at https://thegridironnews.com on January 30, 2021.