Glendale, Ariz. —The Cyclones had a year of highs in the dark days of the Covid-19 pandemic finishing their time with a dominating performance to close out the season.
Breece Hall, an AP All-American rushed for 136 yards and two touchdowns, Brock Purdy threw for 156 yards and a touchdown on 20-of-29 passing, adding a touchdown on the ground. No. 12 Iowa State toughed out a 34-17 victory over No. 25 Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl on Saturday at the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. This marks the third time in program history that the Cyclones have notched as many victories as the first since 2000.
Iowa State’s 9-3 record matches the program-best for wins in a season while giving the Cyclones their most significant bowl win ever, the Fiesta Bowl.
“Life has been really hard for our society, really since March,” coach Matt Campbell said. Through dark and trying times, this team has been a beacon of hope for a lot. This team has grown and gotten better when things maybe say the other way.”
The Cyclones (9-3, CFP No. 10) up-tempo ball-control offense dominated the time of possession and kept Oregon’s high powered offense off the field to win their first New Year’s Sixth bowl.
Iowa State’s defense got better in the second half and utilize exotic blitzes to keep Oregon’s offensive line on their heels.
The Ducks shuffled quarterbacks as they tried to slow down the Cyclones’ defense, but never found any rhythm or success in the second half.
Oregon lost two fumbles, an interception, and a pooch kick. They also turned it over when a punt hit a blocker’s helmet and had a touchdown called back by a penalty.
In total, Iowa State’s defense held the Ducks to 312 total yards while turning them over three times and shutting them out in the second-half shutout.
The Cyclones settled down offensive in the game and mixed up the run and pass ratio, scoring its first two touchdowns on drives of 14 and 15 plays. Hall scored for the 12th straight game on a 1-yard plunge and Charlie Kolar caught a 14-yard TD dime from Purdy.
Iowa State was stopped on a fourth-and-goal from the 1 in the second quarter but went right back to work on Oregon’s defense.
Purdy scored on a 1-yard run and Hall made it 28-14 with a 1-yard run after the Cyclones recovered a pooch kick.
ISU made some offensive adjustments in the second half, settling for two field goals by Connor Assalley, but their defense was lights out.
The Ducks had some early offensive successes against Iowa State, scoring on touchdown runs of 6 and 16 yards by Anthony Brown. Oregon had a 27-yard touchdown pass from Brown to Mycah Pittman wiped out by a holding penalty, settling for a field goal instead.
Tyler Shough returned for a few plays in the second half, but he nor Brown couldn’t get the offense in gear. The Ducks had 88 yards of offense in the second half and Shough’s pass was intercepted by Mike Rose late in the fourth quarter. He threw for 79 yards on 7-of-9 passing.
“We’re a tough team,” Purdy said. We’ve faced so much the past couple of years. We have a lot of great leaders and experienced guys who have been there and understand this is what we’ve got to do to take it to the next level. I feel like that’s what we’ve done this year.”
The Ducks won their second straight Pac-12 championship after Washington had to pull out, earning their second straight trip to a major bowl.
“Obviously, we didn’t play up to our standards,” Oregon coach Mario Cristobal said. “It’s a game of execution and in critical situations, we didn’t coach well enough or play well enough.”