AMES — Brock Purdy spent the first few minutes of his postgame session highlighting his teammates and their efforts in giving Iowa State one of its most dominant wins in school history.
The sophomore quarterback had to be reminded his shadow in that effort loomed large, too.
“Yeah, but they’re the ones making plays,” Purdy said. “I’ve just got to get the ball to them."
On Saturday in a 72-20 win against Louisiana-Monroe, ISU eclipsed 700 total yards (714) for the first time in school history, and Purdy was the catalyst. The quarterback was 21 of 27 passing for 435 yards and three touchdowns while rushing nine times for 80 yards and three scores.
On a day in which ISU inducted Seneca Wallace into its hall of fame, a new No. 15 jersey was flying around the field in a winning effort. His 510 yards of offense surpassed the record of 493 held by Wallace (2002) and Austen Arnaud (2008).
“That guy is special,” senior receiver Deshaunte Jones said. “I’m proud of what the guy is doing right now. He has all the qualities to be one of the best players to ever play at Iowa State here. For him, he’s going to continue to get better. I can’t wait to see his progress throughout the rest of the season.”
Purdy made Big 12 history, too. In a league that produced players like Vince Young, Sam Bradford, Patrick Mahomes, Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, Purdy is the first one to pass for at least 400 yards and rush for three touchdowns and pass for three more in a single game. Even after two early turnovers, Purdy rebounded while ISU (2-1) scored on 11 consecutive possessions.
“Brock has got great poise,” ISU coach Matt Campbell said. “That’s the thing I do appreciate about him is his ability to just continue to navigate the present and not get wrapped up in what happened in the past or what’s coming in the future.
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“You say, ‘What makes Brock a really talented football player?’ Those are the qualities that probably embody him the best is his ability to be present in the moment.”
When Campbell walks the halls of the Bergstrom Football Complex, he feels like he sees Purdy as much as some of the assistant coaches.
Less than a year since he became the full-time starter, Purdy has shown an ability to diagnose coverages correctly, and generate big plays off them. Two of his touchdown throws went for 73 and 84 yards to Tarique Milton and Jones, respectively.
When Purdy ran off the field for the last time early in the fourth quarter — and was briefed by athletic trainer Mark Coberley about his laundry list of broken records — his two early turnovers on the first couple possessions were essentially a hazy memory. Miscommunication doomed both plays but didn’t shake Purdy’s confidence.
“I was a little frustrated, I’m not going to lie,” he said. “But I knew it’s a long game and that we’re going to bounce back. We’ve been in situations where we don’t start off great and I feel like we all knew we’d be fine after that.”
That might be what separates Purdy from his peers. Adversity, even in the handful of losses he’s suffered, don’t seem to rattle him the way it would most 19 year olds. He’s analytical in his evaluation of his play, but cool under pressure, and will usually make the play that makes sense — he’s now had at least a 70 percent completion rate in eight of 12 career games.
“He’s going to get better and better and better,” Jones said. “He’s still young. He’s still a sophomore. The talent is through the roof with that guy.
“He controls his destiny, really.”