ISU football loses lead against TCU late for 6-straight loss, rotates QBs


Redshirt freshman quarterback Grant RohachCQ scrambles through defenders during the Homecoming game on Nov. 9 at Jack Trice Stadium. Rohach rushed for 26 yards in the 17-21 loss.

Dylan Montz

Just one more first down.

That alone could have been one of the factors that turned the tide for the ISU football team in a way that it has been looking for all season. Instead, the Cyclones (1-8, 0-6) suffered their sixth-straight loss.

This time, Iowa State’s loss was a 21-17 defeat coming at the hands of Texas Christian on Saturday at Jack Trice Stadium. If the Cyclones could have gotten just one more first down late in the game, they could have been looking at a different game-management strategy.

“One more first down and extend the clock by about another minute-plus and pinning an offense that doesn’t get a chance to run it out,” said ISU coach Paul Rhoads regarding what one more play would do. “If you don’t, you’ve got 10 more yards on your punt and so forth, and really make it hard on them and put a lot of pressure on them to have to operate with great precision.”

With less than three minutes remaining in the game, ISU quarterback Sam Richardson and the offense faced a third and 5 situation from the ISU 41-yard line. He fired an incomplete pass, his only pass attempt of the game, forcing an ISU punt.

On the succeeding punt, Kirby Van Der Kamp’s punt into the wind went sharply off his foot for just 17 yards. The Horned Frogs offense responded by going 58 yards for the game-winning touchdown on a 1-yard run by Trevone Boykin with 38 seconds remaining in the game.

The missed connection on Richardson’s third-down pass was a microcosm of the day offensively for the Cyclones. Iowa State went three-and-out six times on offense while rotating quarterbacks in between drives, with freshman Grant Rohach getting the start over Richardson.

“Yeah, we knew it was going to be a two-quarterback system,” Rohach said of the rotations. “I knew I was going to get the start and that Sam could come in at any time and to be prepared for it and I think we were. That was our mindset going into the game.”

Rohach finished the game at 18-of-38 passing for 148 yards, but it was Richardson who got the first score. On his first snap of the game at quarterback, Richardson rushed to the right on a scramble for a 15-yard touchdown, which was set up by a 25-yard pass from Van Der Kamp on a fourth down fake punt to Justin Coleman.

It would be the only offensive touchdown of the day for the Cyclones, however, as they once again could not finish drives with scores late in the game.

In his postgame news conference, Rhoads said it was hard to put into words the pain associated with Saturday’s loss for himself and his players, but noted the continuing support he feels for his team despite its record.

“For all our fans, you show up being 1-7, haven’t won a game in your stadium all season long and have a crowd like that and support like that, there’s only one Cyclone Nation,” Rhoads said. “There’s only one program in the country that can do that at 1-7 and that’s ours with a fantastic, loyal fan base that I can’t thank enough.”