By Tyler Devine
IOWA CITY, Iowa – It’s possible that the 10th-ranked Iowa football team will not face as potent of a one-two punch this season than No. 9 Iowa State’s quarterback Brock Purdy and running back Breece Hall this Saturday in Ames.
Hall, a junior from Wichita, Kansas, was a consensus first-team All-American in 2020 and led the nation with 1,572 rushing yards. He also had 21 touchdowns on the ground.
The 6-foot-1, 220-pound Hall also had 23 catches for 180 yards and two touchdowns.
“Breece Hall, when he’s out in the open, he’s as good as there is in college football and we’ve got to do everything we can to keep him inside and in front of us,” linebackers coach Seth Wallace said Wednesday.
Purdy, a senior from Gilbert, Arizona, was a first-team All-Big 12 selection in 2020. The 6-foot-1, 220-pound Purdy completed 67% of his passes for 2,750 yards, 19 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Purdy also is a threat in the running game. He has just shy of 1,000 career rushing yards and 18 touchdowns in his career. He rushed for 382 yards and five touchdowns last season.
Purdy entered the 2021 season owning or sharing 25 school records and is the winningest quarterback in program history.
In Iowa State’s season-opening 16-10 win over Northern Iowa, Purdy complete 21-of-26 passes for 199 yards and added 58 yards on the ground. Hall rushed 23 times for 69 yards and touchdown and added four catches for 31 yards.
“I don’t want to say it doesn’t start with the quarterback,” Wallace said. “Because he’s a talent as well. But between those two we’ve got to be ready for a challenge there. They present us a challenge because both of them can run the ball.”
Add to the mix two-time All-American tight end Charlie Kolar, and Iowa’s defense, and at times its linebackers in particular, face a tough challenge on the road.
The 6-foot-6, 260-pound Kolar sat out the Northern Iowa game, but is expected to play on Saturday.
Kolar had five catches for 53 yards in the 2019 Cy-Hawk matchup that Iowa won 18-17.
“They’ve got a lot of moving parts over there,” Wallace said. “And on top of it, the talent at a couple positions is as good as there is in college football.”
Iowa and Iowa State kick off at 3:36 p.m. on Saturday. The game is televised on ABC.
Saturday’s game is the 68th meeting between the two schools and the first meeting in which both teams are ranked in the AP Top 25. Iowa leads the all-time series 45-22 and has won five in a row and six of the last seven.