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Three Things Matt Campbell Said Entering the Cyclones’ Game against OSU

On Sanders, Gundy and OSU’s stingy defense.



[Liz Parke/Big 12]

Matt Campbell’s Cyclones have lost only two games in October since 2017, but both have come against the Pokes.

Oklahoma State and Iowa State play at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in Ames where Campbell will look to improve upon his 1-4 record against the Cowboys. Campbell met with reporters Tuesday. Here are three things he hit on.

1. Sanders playing with ‘great consistency’

Consistency is a tricky thing to nail down with OSU quarterback Spencer Sanders.

On one hand, Sanders had the exact number of pass attempts and completions (155-for-247) the past two seasons — consistent. On the other, Sanders threw for 344 yards, two touchdowns and no INTs against K-State in Week 4, but he threw for 182 yards, one touchdown and three INTs against Baylor in Week 5 — inconsistent.

Depending on what part of the game you check Twitter, Sanders is either the correct man for the job in the view of vocal OSU fans or needs to hit the pine.

In Campbell’s eye, though, Sanders provides OSU with consistency and an exceptional level of playmaking.

“I think, very similar to (Brock Purdy), there is great consistency in the way he’s playing right now,” Campbell said. “He has got a great understanding of the system. Elite athlete — he can make you pay fast with his feet. And maybe he’s got the quickest release of any college quarterback in the country right now. The ability for him to get the ball out of his hand and know where that ball is going is exceptional. Certainly presents an unbelievable challenge in what we’re doing.”

2. Respect to Gundy

Matt Campbell is the Big 12’s third-longest tenured head coach behind Gary Patterson (including pre-Big 12 TCU) and Mike Gundy, but there is a big gap between Campbell and those two.

Campbell got to Iowa State 11 seasons after Gundy took over the reigns in Stillwater, and Campbell said he has respect for what Gundy has been able to build.

“I enjoy his meetings before the game,” Campbell said. “To me, I got a lot of respect for Coach Gundy. I think what he’s done, the consistency he’s done it with and I really think what he has stood for in terms of building a program, it’s awesome. He’s got a great feel for this conference, and he’s also got great wit. I appreciate what he stands for.”

3. On OSU’s defense

It’s no secret the Cowboys have been a defensive football team this season, something Campbell is aware of.

In Big 12 games this season, OSU and ISU are tied atop the league having allowed only 19.3 points a game. OSU’s defense ranks first in yards allowed per game, rushing yards allowed per game, opponent first downs and opponent third-down conversion percentage. The Pokes rank second (behind Iowa State) in passing yards allowed a game.

“There’s so many guys on this defense,” Campbell said. “I feel like they’ve been there 15 years on this defense. It’s like names and numbers, that it’s like, ‘Geez.’ … I feel like there’s a great sense of mastery of knowing exactly where they need to fit, where they need to be. I think it allows them to have a ton of success.”

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