Nov 19, 2016; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones quarterback Joel Lanning (7) reacts after scoring one of his five touchdowns against the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Jack Trice Stadium. The Cyclones beat the Red Raiders 66-10. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports
AMES, Ia. — Joel Lanning had never had a day like this one.
Not in pee-wee, junior high or high school. Never had Iowa State’s redshirt junior quarterback rushed for five touchdowns in a single game — until Saturday at Jack Trice Stadium.
It didn’t matter if Texas Tech brought blitzes or loaded the box. The Ankeny native found holes all afternoon to the tune of five scores and 171 yards on 17 carries in a 66-10 win over the Red Raiders.
“All the glory goes to my offensive line and those guys blocking for me,” Lanning said after the game. “They were making holes for me all night. Sam Seonbuchner and some of those guys coming in there making huge plays. Their only role is to go in there and block or something like that. Huge night for us rushing, which was awesome, and offensively we were just on everything tonight.”
Lanning is just the third Cyclone ever (joining greats Troy Davis and Joe Henderson) to score five rushing touchdowns in a game. He increased his season total for running scores to 11, which broke Sage Rosenfels’ school record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback.
The performance was the highlight of a game that saw Iowa State run for 275 yards and put up 608 yards of total offense. The output was the highest total since Nov. 22, 2008 — the last game of the Gene Chizik era at Iowa State (that somehow Iowa State managed to lose).
“For them to stack the box and go zero coverage and have eight guys inside the box and we have six, seven guys blocking,” said star wide receiver Allen Lazard. “And him still pull off those runs is an unbelievable job by not only our offensive line and tight ends but him as well.”
This game was almost made for Lanning. The Red Raiders entered with the Big 12’s worst rushing defense. It was cold and windy. This was a game that required toughness — something Lanning isn’t short on.
After being replaced by sophomore Jacob Park, who passed for 285 yards and two scores on 14-of-18, as the starter and seeing his role diminish slightly, this was a chance for Lanning to make his biggest mark yet on Iowa State football.
“It’s rewarding to me anytime I see Joel Lanning have success because Joel Lanning’s a really hard worker,” Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell said. “I don’t know if in terms of Joel’s role diminishing at all within our offense because I certainly don’t think it has. I just think what we continue to find is the niche that gives us the best opportunity to be successful and Joel’s a captain here. He’s as well-respected as any player on our football team and Joel has success because he works really hard at it. So I am really proud of Joel Lanning for sure.”
The Cyclones had a 14-3 lead when Park led the offense onto the field to start the second quarter. They were knocking on the door to the end zone at the Texas Tech 34-yard line and looking to push the lead to three scores.
He dropped back to pass and looked downfield to his left. He rocked back to throw and released a pass towards the goal line. The ball found Lazard, between two Texas Tech defenders.
The junior wide receiver jumped, extended one hand, tipped the ball to himself and pushed his way into the end zone. It is a play that’s nearly impossible to describe, so I’ll put it this way.
It was probably the best play Lazard’s made in his great college career.
“They went like Tampa 2 so they had a guy outside and inside of me,” Lazard said. “I was kind of running up the seam and only Park would throw that ball so I kind of just tried to jump up and make some kind of a play so he wouldn’t get yelled at. So I could bail him out, but it ended up falling right in my lap.”
The touchdown reception, the 16th of his career, moved Lazard into sole possession of second place all-time in career receiving scores. It was one of seven catches — good enough to move him into second all-time in career receptions — for 137 yards.
The game was Lazard’s fifth of the season with 100-yards receiving — tying the school record set by Tracy Henderson in 1983. It was all in another day’s work for No. 5.
“We ran that play quite a few times this week and I kind of just trust No. 5 to get up there and make the plays,” Park said. “They ran cover two, I think it was two Tampa look. We saw all week how when they drop into Tampa they keep their eyes inside so Allen could kind of just sneak in right in his blind spot. I just put the ball in there and let 5 make a play.”
They said it
*** Campbell on Lazard…
“Obviously, Allen is a go-to guy for us. He’s a guy that you expect to make critical plays and have success doing that. I think he’s continued to get better at that as the season’s gone on. He continues to be strong-handed, continues to be efficient in what he does. Has worked hard to really start to perfect his craft. I think he’s played some of his best football here the last couple weeks. I look forward to seeing him cap off what could be a great junior year.”
*** Park on changing culture…
“We’re trying to change a culture here. I, personally, want the expectations from (the media) and the fans and everyone for us to win. I don’t want it to be a surprise for us to win. I want to make it a common occurrence of we win and we don’t accept losing around here. That’s how it is where I come from and it’s what I want to bring here.”
*** Campbell on the fragility of winning…
“I just think winning’s really hard. It’s hard in Division I football. Unfortunately for us, we’ve been on the short end of it, but to be honest with you I feel we’ve deserved to be on the short end of it, because you’ve got to be disciplined and that’s why I talk about the process so much. Your Sunday’s got to be really good. Your Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday and Friday have got to be really good if you want to be successful because it’s really hard to win football games. When you’re dealing with 18 and 22 year old who have a million things going on in their lives and the culture here says, well, it hasn’t consistently won. That’s really hard so I think that’s one of the things I really like about what I’ve see and have seen for, maybe, the last six or seven weeks, is we’re progress in those areas. Obviously, today we win the game and play well and that’s great, but why we won the game and why we played well that’s, to me and the coaching staff, that’s what’s really important. Because that gives you a chance now to take that fragile and those inches that go one way or another and swings in your favor. I’ve always said, you’re never lucky to win football games. You’ve got to work really hard to do it and I thought our kids worked really hard this week and deserved the right to feel confident they’d win the football game.”
*** Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury on if he had a feeling this was coming…
“I think that they are a very good football team after watching them and the way they have competed, especially at home. They play it tough. They have had a bunch of teams beat. They put it together tonight, and we never responded.”