45-21: ISU’s risk-taking start ends with familiar finish

AMES — The smallest crowd of the season at Jack Trice Stadium enjoyed one heck of a first quarter.

Iowa State was gambling, taking risks, rolling up a 21-14 lead and then …Poof.

 Few of the 52,480 fans who attended Saturday night’s game against No. 3 TCU remained after the Trevone Boykin-led Horned Frogs racked up 31 unanswered points to turn that seven-point first quarter deficit into a 45-21 Big 12 romp.

 “We had to keep up with them and we couldn’t do that,” said Cyclones quarterback Sam Richardson, who completed 22 of 36 passes for 251 yards. “We couldn’t score when we needed to and they kind of just ran with it. That’s really what it came down to today.”

 ISU tumbled to 2-4 overall and 1-2 in Big 12 play. TCU (7-0, 4-0) smothered the Cyclones’ offense after yielding 262 yards in the first quarter.

 The Horned Frogs pounced on ISU’s defense throughout, piling up 621 yards of offense — with quarterback Trevone Boykin accounting for 510 of that by himself, both passing and rushing.

 “The accuracy of today’s quarterback is phenomenal,” said Cyclones coach Paul Rhoads, whose team has been outscored 49-10 in the second half of both conference losses. “He put a number of those deep balls on (Kolby Listenbee) and (Josh Doctson) exactly where they needed to be for them to make plays. And if your kids not right there with vision and an opportunity to finish they’re going to hit those balls and Boykin is very capable of doing that and he’s very capable of making plays out of nothing, which you saw him do on several occasions, as well.”

 That was inevitable, but ISU’s red-hot, roll-the-dice start came as somewhat of a surprise.

 On the Cyclones’ first drive, Rhoads dialed up a fake punt on fourth and two. Holden Kramer lofted a 21-yard pass to Mitchell Harger that set ISU up first and 10 at the Horned Frogs’ 15-yard line.

 “It had everybody excited on the sideline,” said receiver Quenton Bundrage, who matched a career high with seven catches for a season-high 86 yards. 

 Three running plays later, Joshua Thomas trudged two yards for a touchdown that gave the Cyclones a 7-0 lead.

 ISU’s other early offensive heroics included an onside kick attempt that Trever Ryen nearly recovered, and plenty of downfield shots — including a 74-yard scoring strike from backup quarterback Joel Lanning to Allen Lazard.

 Lanning delivered that pass roughly 30 yards down the sideline with 6:01 left in the first quarter.

 He didn’t play after that. Why not?

 Rhoads offered this answer to that question: “That will be a part of our Sunday analysis.”

 Lanning’s answer to the same question: “I don’t know why.”

 What’s certain is the strong-armed sophomore from Ankeny would like more snaps — as any football player not in a starting role would. He also ran once for one yard in Saturday’s loss.

 “Oh yeah, for sure,” Lanning said. “I mean, it’s not my call how many snaps I get or anything, but it is what it is. I was just in there for what I’m supposed to do and I executed the play, so hopefully it was good enough for them.”

 It was good enough for a 14-7 lead.

 Then after ISU cornerback Nigel Tribune forced and recovered a fumble at the Cyclones’ nine-yard line, Richardson led a 91-yard touchdown drive. 

 He hit Jauan Wesley twice on short passes and found Lazard — who had a career-high 147 yards — on a 38-yarder that set up Mike Warren’s four-yard touchdown.

 21-14. Good times. They wouldn’t last.

 The Cyclones finished with 461 yards of offense, but only 199 of that came in the final three quarters.

 “There’s a reason why they’re ranked third in the country and you saw it tonight as they backed it up by a 60-minute effort,” Rhoads said. “I’m proud of our guys for what they did in the first 30, we needed a little bit more out of them to finish it off to have an opportunity.”


 Rhoads said Warren and fellow back Joshua Thomas should be OK for next week’s game at No. 2 Baylor. He’s less sure about starting guard Daniel Burton, who he said tweaked the same MCL that bothered him earlier in the season. 

 “He was ready to battle if needed to but we’ll see,” Rhoads said of Burton. “He’ll probably be day to day this week.”


Rob Gray


Rob, an Ames native, joined Cyclone Fanatic in August, 2014 after nearly a decade and a half of working at Iowa's two largest newspapers. He spent 10 years at the Des Moines Register and, after a brief stint in public relations, joined the Cedar Rapids Gazette as an Iowa State correspondent three years ago. Rob specializes in feature stories for CF.