The Daily Texan spoke to Noah Rohlfing, sports editor of The Iowa State Daily.
Daily Texan: What did the near-comeback against Oklahoma show about this team?
Noah Rohlfing: It shows both how far Iowa State has come since (Matt) Campbell’s been the head coach and what they have to do to make the next step. The small errors — missing three interceptions and lots of missed tackles in the first half — really set them back, and they still almost won. It’s a good team, but one that has to play mistake-free to win.
DT: How has (sophomore quarterback) Brock Purdy progressed as a passer in his second season?
NR: Purdy’s really improving on making reads and finding the secondary receivers. He still takes lots of risks, but they’re more controlled now. He has also improved a lot as a runner with an ability to make people miss.
DT: What has Breece Hall done to improve as just a freshman this season in the backfield?
NR: Hall is everything Iowa State needs in a running back: consistent, a hard runner and with the ability to make cuts and make people miss in the open field. He had a slow start and barely saw the field at times, but against West Virginia he took off and showed enough ability to win the job. He’s been crucial to balancing out the offense.
DT: What problems will the Iowa State defense present to Ehlinger and the Texas offense?
NR: Ehlinger should provide some issues for Iowa State with his ability to run the ball — something that’s bothered the Cyclones all season. But Iowa State’s 3-3-5 base set lends itself to preventing big plays and keeping everything in front, which could take away a couple of Ehlinger’s reads. The biggest (question) is: How long can Iowa State’s inexperienced defensive backs cover Texas’ talented receivers?
DT: What are the game day field conditions expected to be like, and will it have any impact on the game? Does that play at all to Iowa State’s advantage?
NR: It’s supposed to be 40 on Saturday, which won’t be too cold, but it might be enough to make a difference. Jack Trice is a grass field, and, since it’s the end of the year and there’s been snow up here and a lot of rain since August, it might start to show some wear this weekend. I think it’ll be a challenge for both teams, really. It comes down to who can handle the cold better — I would guess it’s a small advantage for Iowa State.