AMES, IOWA – It was arguably West Virginia's biggest test, on the road at night against a plucky Iowa State team with a stifling defense and a dangerous young quarterback.
The sixth-ranked Mountaineers failed miserably.
Freshman Brock Purdy threw for 254 yards and three TDs and Iowa State throttled West Virginia 30-14 on Saturday, handing the Mountaineers their first loss.
David Montgomery had a career-high 189 yards rushing for the Cyclones (3-3, 2-2 Big 12), who beat a Top 25 team for the fifth time in seven tries.
"I thought at times that we played a lot of complete football," Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said. "We continue to grow."
West Virginia (5-1, 3-1) was the fourth top-10 team to fall Saturday, following No. 2 Georgia, No. 7 Washington and No. 8 Penn State.
Iowa State scored 20 straight points after spotting West Virginia an early touchdown off a turnover. Purdy, in his first career start, then found Deshaunte Jones through a pair of defenders on a sprawling 32-yard TD grab that put Iowa State ahead 28-14 with 12:17 to go.
The story of the game was Iowa State's defense, which dominated the high-flying Mountaineers. West Virginia gained just 152 yards, 420 below its season average, and Grier was sacked seven times. Iowa State also held the Mountaineers to 1-for-10 on third downs. The Cyclones have held all six of their opponents below their season average
Fittingly, the Cyclones sealed the win by forcing a hold in the end zone for a team safety and a 30-14 edge with 5:14 left.
Will Grier had arguably his worst game as a Mountaineer, throwing for just 100 yards on 11-for-15 passing. West Virginia, which hadn't even trailed in rolling up five straight wins, was outgained by 346 yards.
But the Mountaineers still control their destiny in the Big 12, with games against Texas and Oklahoma left.