Sports | January 25, 2023 1:46 pm

NFC Championship Game Will Be Round Two of Jalen Hurts Vs. Brock Purdy

Hurts and Purdy faced off in Week 11 of the 2019 college football season

Jalen Hurts of the Eagles passes the ball.
Jalen Hurts is set to lead the Eagles against the 49ers.
Mitchell Leff/Getty

When the San Francisco 49ers and the Philadelphia Eagles do battle for the first time this season in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday, it will actually be the second time starting quarterbacks Brock Purdy and Jalen Hurts have faced each other on the field of play.

In Week 11 of the 2019 college football season while Hurts was playing for Oklahoma and Purdy was playing for Iowa State, the 24-year-old Eagle led the Sooners to a 48-41 win over the Cyclones and the 24-year-old 49er in what turned out to be a fairly epic game. Hurts accounted for 341 yards and five touchdowns in the contest while Purdy had 337 yards and six touchdowns.

Trailing 42-21 going into the fourth quarter, Purdy led Iowa State to a 20-0 fourth quarter and could have won the game had it not been for a questionable non-call in the end zone on a two-point conversion pass attempt when Iowa State coach Matt Campbell decided to roll the dice instead of tying the game with an extra point. During the furious comeback attempt, Purdy completed 5-of-9 passes for 90 yards and rushed seven times for 36 more.

“He’s always looking downfield,” Campbell told The Des Moines Register. “He’s always trying to extend plays. You’ve got the guy one-on-one, and he makes you miss. All of a sudden, it’s a critical throw, and he throws the ball on the money. Some people just have that, and he does. He’s going to get better and better.”

San Fran’s third-string QB to start the season after being the last player selected in the draft, Purdy stepped in as the starter for the Niners after injuries to Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo and led his team to a 7-0 record down the stretch, including two playoff wins. If he leads the 49ers to a win in the NFC championship game at Philadelphia, Purdy will become the first rookie to make it to the Super Bowl. The only other rookie quarterbacks to make it to the conference title game — Shaun King (1999), Ben Roethlisberger (2004), Joe Flacco (2008) and Mark Sanchez (2009) — all lost and had a combined 51.8 passer rating in their title games with nine interceptions and just four TD passes combined, according to The Associated Press.

No matter who is victorious on Sunday, the losing quarterback may still emerge as a winner, as Hurts is a finalist for NFL MVP while Purdy is one of the final possible selections for Offensive Rookie of the Year.