Standout running back Breece Hall nearly did it all for Iowa State during last week’s Big 12 opener at Baylor.
The Cyclones (2-2, 0-1 Big 12) are hopeful something that even slightly resembles an encore will help them get back on track Saturday when conference foe Kansas (1-3, 0-1) visits Ames, Iowa.
“When he’s at his best, boy, is it hard to find a better player in terms of the running back position in terms of what Breece Hall brings to a team,” Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said. “I just think for Breece, part of that was getting going. … I’m really proud of where Breece is right now. When Breece plays well, we seem to have great flow in our offense.”
Hall rushed 27 times for a career-best 190 yards and two touchdowns at Baylor while contributing five receptions for 51 yards and a score. The Bears thwarted the Cyclones’ final bid for a road victory, however, when they intercepted a two-point conversion attempt in the closing seconds to preserve a 31-29 win.
Iowa State has alternated wins and losses since the season began, but has found better consistency in its attack in recent weeks.
Quarterback Brock Purdy completed 23 of 33 passes for 263 yards and a touchdown at Baylor one week after leading the offense to a 48-3 rout of host UNLV.
“It’s more a sense of we’re a team that continually gets better throughout the season, and if you watch film, I think you can see that the last few years,” Cyclones tight end Chase Allen said. “So it kind of comes with the growing pains, you know. We’re set up to play our best football in October, November. So we’ve got to take steps in order to get there, and we’re on the right path.”
Kansas figures to be in for a defensive test against the Cyclones. The Jayhawks realize there’s only room for improvement on that side of the ball after surrendering 607 yards of total offense to Duke a week ago, faltering after forcing a pair of early turnovers.
The Blue Devils scored five touchdowns and a field goal on their six trips to the red zone and seized control of their eventual 52-33 win with 21 points in the third quarter.
Jayhawks coach Lance Leipold said the team’s pass rush is “not where I want it to be” at this juncture of the season.
“We’ve got to do a better job of getting to the QB, and then when we get there, making the play,” Leipold said.
Still, a potent offense helped keep the Jayhawks afloat until Duke’s big second half shifted the momentum. Kansas averaged 7.4 yards per play en route to 530 yards of offense. Quarterback Jason Bean accounted for 377 of those yards (323 passing, 54 rushing) while passing for two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Kansas leads the all-time series 50-44-6. The Jayhawks are searching for their first win at Jack Trice Stadium since taking a 35-33 thriller on Oct. 4, 2008.
–Field Level Media