Quenton Bundrage’s big receptions provide opportunities for ISU offense


ISU redshirt sophomore receiver Quenton Bundrage makes a leaping catch in between two Texas defenders during the Cyclones 31-30 loss to the Longhorns on Oct. 3 at Jack Trice Stadium.

Dylan Montz

Grant Rohach didn’t get to see it unfold.

Nearing halftime and down 28-14 Saturday against Oklahoma State, Iowa State was looking for a spark on offense. The quarterback’s next play gave the Cyclones just that on a 20-yard touchdown pass to Quenton Bundrage in the end zone at Jack Trice Stadium.

Rohach delivered a back-shoulder throw to Bundrage, who was draped by an OSU defender, caught it over the corner back, bobbled the ball in mid-air and came down with it on his back getting Iowa State to within 8 points of the Cowboys.

“I didn’t even see him come down with it,” Rohach said of the play. “I thought it had been batted away, but I saw in the stands all of our fans jump up and cheer, and I knew he caught it, and I was like, ‘Wow.’ And then I started going nuts.”

Bundrage has been making big plays for the Cyclones throughout the year, though. He caught two touchdowns on Saturday, a 22-yard connection from Sam Richardson and the play from Rohach, for his second game this season with multiple touchdowns this season after recording three against Texas.

The redshirt sophomore feels a certain confidence this year that wasn’t necessarily part of his skill-set last year. Being a more aggressive receiver and attacking the ball for receptions are something he has learned to do with the reps he gained between last season and this season.

“I’m a lot more confident this year than I was last year and those two touchdowns I scored on; they weren’t really pressed; they were kind of off,” Bundrage said. “That’s how he was able to cover me how he did and I just made a play. That’s what you’ve got to do if you get the opportunity.”

Bundrage has racked up 29 receptions through seven games this season compared to 20 all of last year while earning 441 yards on those catches this year. He also has six touchdowns this season, which ties him for 10th in school history for touchdowns in a single season.

What the Cyclones need to improve upon in the mind of ISU coach Paul Rhoads regarding Bundrage is simple: get him the ball more.

“We lost to Miami Hurricanes for the Big East championship [in 2003] …  and we didn’t throw the ball to Larry Fitzgerald,” Rhoads said, who was formerly the defensive coordinator at Pittsburgh during 2000-07. “You throw it to Larry Fitzgerald whether he’s covered or not. I’m not saying Quenton’s that, but both of those touchdown passes, he was completely covered. There was no space. They threw it and gave him a chance to make a play.”