San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy has become one of the NFL’s best stories this season. Purdy was the Mr. Irrelevant in the 2022 NFL Draft, and began the season as the team’s third-string quarterback. After injuries forced him into the starting role, he has taken full advantage of the opportunity and is now an Offensive Rookie of the Year finalist as he leads the 49ers deep into the playoffs.
Before he became an NFL star, though, Purdy was a star for the Iowa State football team. The Cyclones had long been an afterthought in college football, but Purdy and head coach Matt Campbell helped turn them into a respectable force in the Big XII. In terms of school records, Purdy is the Cyclones’ leader in passing yards and passing touchdowns, both all-time and in a single-season.
Although he didn’t reach the national championship heights of other quarterbacks, he still had some fantastic moments at Iowa State. Today, we’re going to rank his best moments from his four years with the Cyclones. Without further ado, here is the list.
3. Purdy and Jalen Hurts dazzle in a shootout
What a timely addition to the list! Purdy and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts are about to face off for the first time at the NFL level in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game. If it’s anything like the time they faced off in college, then we’re in for a treat.
This game took place on Nov. 9, 2019, when Brock Purdy’s Cyclones travelled to face Hurts’ No. 9 Oklahoma Sooners. In the first half, the Sooners had the clear advantage and built a 21-point lead at halftime. In the second half, though, the Cyclones mounted a furious comeback to come within a point of tying the game in the final minute. However, the Cyclones chose to go for two and the win, but Purdy’s pass fell incomplete and the Sooners survived.
Hurts finished the game with 328 passing yards, three touchdowns and an interception, plus 68 yards and two touchdowns rushing. On the other hand, Purdy finished with 282 passing yards and five touchdowns, plus 55 yards and a touchdown on the ground. One can only hope that both quarterbacks are as electric on Sunday as they were in this game.
2. Purdy’s Cyclones knock off No. 8 Oklahoma State
Iowa State has had a knack for upsets over the years. The biggest upset by far came in 2011, when the Cyclones upset No. 2 Oklahoma State in double overtime to end the Cowboys perfect season and eventually prevented them for playing for the national championship. Ten years later, the Purdy-led Cyclones gave the Cowboys a sense of Déjà vu in another massive upset.
Spencer Sanders and Oklahoma State came into Des Moines at 6-0 and riding three straight wins over ranked conference opponents. On the other hand, Purdy and Iowa State had already lost two games against Iowa and Baylor. Despite that, the Cyclones entered the game as a touchdown favorite, and they lived up to it.
Much like in 2011, the Cyclones ended the Cowboys’ quest of a perfect season with a 24-21 win. The game was back-and-forth the whole way, and Breece Hall’s rushing touchdown with just over five minutes to go gave Iowa State the win. Purdy himself completed 27-of-33 passes for 307 yards and three touchdowns in one of his defining moments as a Cyclone.
1. Purdy leads Iowa State to first New Year’s Six win
To drive this point home, let’s first go over the history of Iowa State football. The Cyclones have never been a truly great team, in fact, their last conference championship even predates World War I. With that in mind, the Cyclones’ 2020 season becomes all the more special.
Iowa State’s 2020 season was easily the program’s best in over a century. The Cyclones finished the regular season 9-2, earned a spot in the Big XII Championship for the first time and climbed as high as sixth in the College Football Playoff rankings. They came up just short against Oklahoma in the conference championship game, but it was still an incredibly successful season.
With that successful season, Iowa State earned its first ever New Year’s Six bowl game appearance. The Cyclones matched up against Pac-12 champion Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl, and won 34-17 in convincing fashion. Hall was the star of the show with 136 rushing yards and two touchdowns, and Purdy accounted for 195 total yards and two touchdowns.
Brock Purdy led Iowa State football to most of its best moments in the last century, and this is the crown jewel among them. It’s only a matter of time before he earns a spot in the school’s hall of fame.