Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy had a bit of buzz surrounding him ahead of the 2020 season last year, only for it to fizzle out as Purdy struggled in several areas—one of the most noticeable of which was pocket awareness. Purdy finished out that year completing 243-of-365 passes for 2,750 yards with 19 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
So far this season, Purdy is having the best season of his career in terms of completion percentage and touchdown-to-interception ratio, having completed 159-of-217 passes (73.3%) for 1,833 yards with 12 touchdowns and four interceptions. The quarterback has had four games this season where he has completed at least 80% of his passes (81.8% against No. 8-ranked Oklahoma State, 88% against Kansas State, 87.5% against UNLV, and 80.8% against Northern Iowa). That’s a decent mix as far as the quality of opponent is concerned. Purdy attempted between 24 and 33 passes in each of those contests—he’s eclipsed 30 passing attempts twice this season.
Purdy has also been reliable in the red zone this year, heading into last week’s game against West Virginia with the best red-zone passer rating (129.0) in college football, with eight touchdowns and zero interceptions at that level of the field. This isn’t the first time Purdy has been commended for his efficiency in the red zone, as he had 43 touchdowns and zero turnovers in the red zone until Nov. 7, 2020, when he threw an interception against the Baylor Bears.
Purdy’s most recent performance was a game that didn’t end the way Iowa State wanted it to, as the Cyclones fell 38-31 in a tough one against WVU. Purdy completed 16-of-27 passes for 185 yards with one passing touchdown and zero interceptions. He also carried the ball nine times for 64 yards (a single-game high for him this season) and his first rushing touchdown of the year.
Purdy had several bright moments within the game, the best of which was this 68-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Tarique Milton—the Cyclones’ longest pass play of the season.
He does a nice job here of dealing with pressure and dropping it perfectly into the hands of an uncovered Milton.
But what was equally impressive was the way that Purdy fought on through the performance—he put his body on the line down to the very last down trying to put the Cyclones in the best position to win as the team fought through adversity.
Despite some of the ups and downs he’s had throughout his career, Purdy has clearly gained the respect of those around him and had one heck of a “Brocktober,” as the fans call it, winning three of the four games with the Cyclones, the most notable of which was 24-21 win over Oklahoma State—arguably the toughest team the Cyclones had gone up against all year. Purdy completed 27-of-33 passes (81.8%) for 307 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions, and head coach Matt Campbell had some powerful words.
“I think there probably were not a lot of nice things said about Brock Purdy early in the season,” Campbell said. “Foolish, but whatever… The reality of it is he’s an 18-to-22-year-old kid. He’s a young man that’s growing into a man. It’s still college football, right? Like, this isn’t pro sports. I think all those people that maybe said those not nice things about Brock Purdy should really look in the mirror tonight and say, ‘Boy, how grateful are we at Iowa State to have that young man leading this program?’”