Sam's The Man In Getting Iowa State's Sixth Win
By Rob Gray, Reporter
LAWRENCE, Kan. Don't call it a quarterback controversy.
For Iowa State, it's been more of a convention.
And Saturday at Kansas, Sam Richardson became the third Cyclone play-caller this season to see significant snaps.
He may be the last.
The redshirt freshman from Winter Park, Fla., looked crisp, smooth and savvy, throwing three touchdown passes and rushing for one more in the first half alone as now-bowl eligible ISU rocked the Jayhawks, 51-23, before a forlorn crowd of 41,608 at Memorial Stadium.
"He had great composure," Cyclone coach Paul Rhoads said. "To be here basically two full years and really only get a mop up role in one game prior to this and probably feel like you weren't really ever part of the true competition when it came to switching up and so forth, but not a surprise coming from the young man. He's just that quality of a kid."
The Cyclones (6-5, 3-5 Big 12) won at Memorial Stadium for the first time since 2001, snapping a four-game skid in Lawrence while scoring their most points in the series, which dates back to 1898.
They'll play in a bowl game for the third time in Rhoads' four seasons and seek their first four-win conference campaign since 2005 against West Virginia Friday at Jack Trice Stadium.
"Now we have other things we need to go get," Rhoads said.
Kansas (1-10, 0-8) lost its 20th consecutive conference game and 31st in a row against current Big 12 teams.
ISU starting quarterback Steele Jantz was erratic, going 2-for-4 passing and fumbling at the Kansas 7-yard line on the game's opening drive.
Speculation after the game centered on whether he might have come out because of an injury.
"I'm not sure," Rhoads said. "I haven't got the post-game medical report yet."
Enter Richardson, who apparently had clawed past backup Jared Barnett, who's resume includes last season's landmark win over Oklahoma State.
"No matter what the situation was, I just had to be ready," Richardson said.
Case in point: His first set of downs, which included a 30-yard pass to Josh Lenz and culminated in Jeff Woody's 11-yard waltz to the end zone to make the score 10-7 with 36 seconds left in the first quarter.
He rolled from there, completing 18 of his first 21 passes and ending up 23-of-27 for 250 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions or fumbles.
"Sam does a nice job of going through his progressions ad when you have an arm like he has, you can do that," Rhoads said.
He also rushed for a touchdown as ISU racked up 241 yards on the ground.
"Very impressive," Rhoads said.
Woody led the charge to daylight, rushing for a single-game career high 86 yards in the first half and adding three more in light second half duty.
His 43-yard sprint also a new personal standard late in the second quarter set up Richardson's plunge and a 31-14 lead.
The Cyclones weren't done.
Following a defensive stop, RIchardson fueled another scoring drive with a pair of nine-yard option runs.
He then connected with tight end Ernst Brun for a 20-yard touchdown pass to make the score 38-14 with 1:01 left in the first half.
"He's a very composed kid," Center Tom Farniok said.
Richardson also zipped a 14-yard strike to Lenz who had played in one of the previous four games because of a quad injury for a game-sealing touchdown with 12:12 left.
"We've missed Josh Lenz," Rhoads said. "It was very, very important to have him back."
As for Richardson, the phrase "biding time" is history.
"I was just waiting for my opportunity, like I have been all year," he said. "Getting to six wins was a team effort."