Game-saver Runk focused on OSU

Emily Arthur

With roughly seven seconds remaining in the Missouri game, ISU defensive back Adam Runk made the play of his career.

“I saw my guy kind of curl underneath … I just broke. The quarterback threw it. I got both hands on it,” he said.

Runk’s play on the ball came with Iowa State up 20-14 and Missouri threatening to score from the four-yard line.

Missouri’s quarterback Kirk Farmer dropped back to pass looking for tight end Dwayne Blakley, but Runk made the play knocking down the pass.

“I thought that was a tremendous play by Adam,” teammate and fellow defensive back Johnny Smith III said. “He’s a senior, he’s been here for a while, and he’s the backbone of our secondary. For him to make that play is just fitting for Adam.”

Smith said he’s used to big plays from Runk, so the knockdown in the end zone didn’t surprise him.

“That’s something that I would expect out of him. I don’t think it would be a surprise,” he said. “Adam is a leader. Coming from being a corner and playing the free safety position earlier in my career, I know that’s a big task. I think he’s doing a wonderful job.”

Runk is proud of the defensive stop, but laughs when he hears people say it’s the play that saved the season.

“It’s just one play out of so many. It just happened to be at the end of the game. “I think our team coming back from what we went through down in Nebraska, I think that is the thing that saved our season.”

Runk said the atmosphere in the locker room after the Missouri game was “almost a complete opposite feeling” than what was experienced after the 48-14 loss to Nebraska a week before.

“It was almost indescribable. Everybody was so pumped up, and yet, exhausted at the same time, because it was an exhausting game, both physically and emotionally,” he said. “I was actually almost in tears a little bit in the locker room, just because, it just kind of hit me at once with what happened and all that.”

As a team captain this season, Runk said he’s had to take a different approach than he’s used to.

“I never used to be vocal at all, and that’s one thing I’m trying to do this season,” he said. “I’ve always tried to lead by example, but it doesn’t always work especially at this level. Sometimes, you have to get after some people. I’ve tried to play that role a little bit more, but I think I’m still more a lead-by-example type of guy.”

Although Runk is more well-known for the way he plays on the football field, he produces in the classroom as well with three First-Team Academic All-Big 12 honors to his credit.

Smith said the team is aware of Runk’s accomplishments off the field and that it’s something that may help Runk on the field as well.

“It helps that he’s Big 12 All-Academic, so he’s already very smart,” he said.

“He’s just a very smart person. He knows the game. It’s 90 percent mental and only 10 percent physical, and he has that 90 percent that you really need to be a success.”

As far as what the future holds, Runk said that the perfect ending to his football career at Iowa State would be “not losing another game.”

“That would be absolutely ideal if we could do that, but obviously, the biggest game right now is Oklahoma State,” he said. “That’s all we’re focused on and all I’m worried about.”