Chuba Hubbard, No. 6 Oklahoma State remain perfect in win over No. 17 Iowa State

Photo courtesy: Peter Casey

The Canadian Cowboy rode tall for Oklahoma State in a key victory over a Big 12 rival.

Photo courtesy: Peter Casey

Running back Chuba Hubbard recorded 25 carries for 140 yards and one touchdown on Saturday, extending his streak of 100-yard games to three. He also made his first long reception of the year, catching a 21-yard pass on the first play from scrimmage.

The native of Sherwood Park, Alta. had his best carry of the season early in the second quarter. Hubbard fought off tacklers at the point of attack before planting his hand, finding his balance, and reversing field for a 32-yard touchdown.

Iowa State entered Saturday’s contest with the No. 13-ranked rushing defence in the FBS, allowing 97.3 yards per game. That average put the Cyclones ahead of powerhouses such as Notre Dame (No. 19), LSU (No. 20), and Alabama (No. 37).

Oklahoma State’s offence was invigorated by the return of quarterback Spencer Sanders. The 2019 Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year suffered a high-ankle sprain early in the team’s season-opener against Tulsa and missed the next two games.

True freshman Sean Illingworth started in Sanders’ absence, completing 36-of-49 attempts for 483 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. The pocket passer guided the Cowboys to three consecutive victories, but his presence allowed teams to key in on Hubbard.

Sanders is a dual-threat passer who ran for 628 yards and two touchdowns on 139 carries a season ago. His rushing ability was on full display against Iowa State, recording 15 carries for 71 yards and one score.

Having Sanders in the backfield alongside Hubbard forces the opposition to account for both rushing threats, which helps open running lanes for the star running back.

CFL fans may see more of Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy in the future as he is on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ negotiation list. The native of Gilbert, Arizona was second-team All-Big 12 in 2019, passing for 3,982 yards, 27 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

Purdy struggled at times against Oklahoma State’s elite defence, finishing the game 19-of-34 for 162 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

The six-foot-one, 212-pound passer projects as a mid-round NFL draft pick, but there’s still a chance he could eventually end up in the CFL. Purdy doesn’t have an elite arm, but he shows poise, toughness, and above-average athleticism.

Oklahoma State entered Saturday’s game as the No. 6-ranked team in the NCAA, its highest ranking since 2017. The team finished 10-3 that season, defeating No. 22 Virginia Tech in the Camping World Bowl.

Saturday was the Cowboys’ first game since a 47-7 victory over Kansas on October 3. Last week’s contest against Baylor was postponed due to positive tests on the Bears and has since been rescheduled for December 12.

Oklahoma State (4-0) hosts Texas (2-2) next Saturday with kickoff slated for 3:00 p.m. ET.

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.