Iowa State Stymies Will Grier, Potent West Virginia Offense in Shocking Upset

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 14, 2018

Iowa State running back David Montgomery (32) runs from West Virginia cornerback Derrek Pitts Jr., right, during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

The Iowa State Cyclones upset the undefeated No. 6 West Virginia Mountaineers on Saturday night at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa.

The Cyclones defense suffocated a West Virginia offense that was averaging 526.8 yards per game entering the contest. The Mountaineers finished with 147 total yards, and Will Grier had a game to forget. The senior quarterback threw for 100 yards, one touchdown and an interception.

Saturday was essentially a role reversal between the two teams, as West Virginia couldn't stop the Iowa State offense.

Brock Purdy threw for 254 yards, three touchdowns and one interception, and David Montgomery ran for 189 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries.

Defensively, Iowa State found the perfect way to limit Grier's impact: hit him before he released the ball. Iowa State sacked Grier seven times. The final sack resulted in a safety with five minutes, 14 seconds left that sealed the upset.

Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is the clear favorite for the Heisman Trophy, and Saturday's performance may have been a fatal blow to Grier's already slim Heisman hopes.

West Virginia still has plenty to play for, though. The Mountaineers would likely position themselves for a College Football Playoff berth if they run the table and win a Big 12 title. Wins against the ninth-ranked Texas Longhorns and 11th-ranked Oklahoma Sooners would do wonders toward repairing their credibility as a national title contender.

Iowa State, meanwhile, inches toward gaining bowl eligibility. Making back-to-back bowl games would be a nice achievement for a program that had three bowl appearances between 2006 and 2016.

Many identified the Cyclones as a team on the rise after they won eight games under head coach Matt Campbell in 2017. Having registered wins over back-to-back Top 25 opponents, they're on their way toward another promising campaign.

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