Instant analysis: Yet again, self-inflicted wounds doom Iowa State football vs. Iowa in another Cy-Hawk loss
AMES, Ia. — It was the popular stat all week.
Iowa had, it was noted over and over again, not turned the ball over against Iowa State since 2015. The Cyclones, conventional wisdom held, had to at least get a stalemate in the turnover margin to stop their five-game slide against the Hawkeyes.
That turned out to be true, but not in the way the 10th-ranked Cyclones were hoping.
Four Iowa State turnovers translated to 20 Hawkeye points as No. 12 Iowa continued its dominance over the Matt Campbell-led Cyclones with a 27-17 victory Saturday at Jack Trice Stadium.
Iowa State's Brock Purdy, the winningest quarterback in program history, threw three interceptions and was replaced by sophomore Hunter Dekkers in the fourth quarter.
The most immediately damaging turnover for the Cyclones came when Breece Hall, Iowa State's Heisman hopeful running back, fumbled the ball away on his own 6-yard line, where Jack Campbell picked it up and ran it into the endzone to put Iowa up 21-10 in the third quarter.
Iowa turned Purdy's three interceptions into a touchdown and two field goals. The Cyclones turned the ball over on three straight possessions in a woeful third quarter to sink their hopes of winning what had been billed as the biggest Cy-Hawk game in history, with both teams ranked heading into the game for the first time.
The day marked the second straight game Iowa State's offense proved inefficient. And it seemingly marked the start of the sixth straight September in which the Cyclones have struggled under Campbell.
Iowa State has shown year after year that its slow starts don't necessarily portend a disappointing season, but the home loss to the Hawkeyes does strike a significant blow to the Cyclones' highest aspirations: a spot in the College Football Playoff.
The loss, obviously, does nothing to their more modest goal of winning a conference championship, if "modest" can describe a goal for a program that hasn't won a league title since 1912.
Still, after a lackluster showing against Northern Iowa of the FCS and falling to 0-5 against the Hawkeyes under Campbell, there's reason enough to be concerned about Iowa State. Especially when the offense, which features the best quarterback in school history, All-Americans at tight end and running back, and all-conference players dotting the rest of the field, has looked inept through eight quarters.
Now there may be questions at quarterback, a position that Purdy has owned for Iowa State since taking over the job as a true freshman in 2018.
Beyond Purdy's three interceptions — two of which came on deflected balls — the offense has generated just three touchdowns through two games, and blame can certainly be spread around, with plenty of credit also going to an extremely strong Iowa defense.
But the fact remains that Iowa State has once again lost to Iowa, and the Cyclones' dream season has taken on water in Week 2.
Travis Hines covers Iowa State University sports for the Des Moines Register and Ames Tribune. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (515) 284-8000. Follow him at @TravisHines21.