Iowa State continues to be hampered by injuries in loss to Iowa


Center Ben Loth sets up to hike the ball to quarterback Sam Richardson. Richardson had 260 passing yards over Iowa’s 160 passing yards.

Dylan Montz

The injury bug bit Iowa State for the second consecutive game.

The ISU offensive line suffered another injury to its starting center, redshirt Jamison Lalk, who left in the first quarter due to an MCL strain in Iowa State’s 27-21 loss to in-state rival Iowa on Saturday. First-string center Tom Farniok suffered the same injury in the Cyclones’ (0-2) loss to Northern Iowa on Aug. 31.

“I did not expect to be playing with our third-team center for the length of this football game,” said ISU coach Paul Rhoads on the loss of Lalk. “I have not heard any diagnosis on time frame. We’re hopeful Tom will be back for Tulsa based on his progress thus far.”

Redshirt senior guard Ethan Tuftee also left the game due to an injury, bringing redshirt sophomore Oni Omoile to fill in at that guard spot. Iowa State was short three starting offensive linemen through much of the game, allowing Iowa to rush for 218 yards as a team.

The Cyclones face another bye next week and what Rhoads wants to see is simple: his second- and third-string players gaining more experience after seeing time in a competitive game and developing a mature mindset. He wants his team to “play its way into being better.”

“We have to prepare and practice at a level that steers us in that direction,” Rhoads said of trying to gain that experience. “I’m pleased with what took place in the two weeks leading up to [the Iowa game]. We’ve got to add to that and make sure we’re a better football team before we go to Tulsa.

“We’re a better football team today, for sure, than we were on Aug. 31.”

ISU quarterback Sam Richardson was also affected by a lingering ankle injury suffered in the UNI game. Despite passing 22-of-39 for 260 yards and three touchdowns, Richardson was restricted in the run game and was not able to run basic read option attacks Iowa State utilizes.

ISU receiver Quenton Bundrage tried to make himself available to Richardson through the air with seven receptions for 146 yards and three touchdowns. Bundrage said whether it is him, the offensive line backups or anyone else on the team, they have to be ready for the moment in which they are needed.

“It would hurt any team if your starters get hurt, but we have guys who are always ready and willing to step up any time,” Bundrage said. “We’ll get those guys back as soon as we can and just move forward with it.”

When a player goes down with an injury, running back Jeff Woody said the philosophy of Iowa State has been to adopt a “next man in” attitude and continue to adapt to how the game changes and not use the injury as a crutch.

With Iowa State facing its second bye in three weeks, the Cyclones will focus on getting healthy across the board but specifically with the offensive line.

“We scored 21 points in the second half, so the adjustment was made,” Woody said of the second half adaptations to injuries. “Whether it was at center or whether it was in the mindsets of Sam and Quenton, who decided to really put their foot down and go, something happened in the second half.

“It’s not a moral victory, but you can at least highlight a positive in this game.”