One legendary receiver to another

Allen Lazard reaches for a diving catch in the first half against TCU. The play resulted in a first down.

Aaron Marner

Over the last four football seasons, senior wide receiver Allen Lazard has slowly carved up the Iowa State record books.

It started with the first game of his career. In that game he caught a 48-yard pass against North Dakota State, the first catch of over 200 in his college career and the beginning of a school-record 40-plus consecutive games with a reception.

As the games and seasons went by, Lazard started flying to the top of the charts.

He passed teammates and former teammates. He passed former Cyclones that went on to play professional football. And, lately, he has passed Todd Blythe (2003-07), the owner of almost every major Iowa State receiving record entering this season.

“I’m a big fan of his,” Blythe told reporters prior to the spring game in April. “He can do some things I couldn’t do, that’s for sure. He’s a special player and he’s a great kid.

“If he was an idiot I wouldn’t want him to break my records, but he’s a good kid so he can have them.”

Before Iowa State’s upcoming trip to the AutoZone Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tennessee, Blythe gave his thoughts on Lazard, the records and the relationship between the two.

Blythe and Lazard have a unique relationship. Both are physically gifted receivers from central Iowa — the same Iowa high school athletic conference, the CIML, as Blythe is quick to point out — and they have each served as No. 1 targets for Iowa State quarterbacks.

“I think just all the hard work and training that I put into this year [has helped],” Lazard said. “I just go out there and compete my best and help the quarterbacks have a level of comfortability with me and knowing that they can trust me.”

Blythe caught most of his 176 passes from Bret Meyer, which is the main distinction between the two top receivers in Cyclone football history; while Blythe had great chemistry with his quarterback, Lazard has had to deal with half-a-dozen quarterbacks in his time in Ames. This year alone, Lazard has caught touchdowns from Jacob Park, Kyle Kempt, Joel Lanning and Zeb Noland.

“The fact that he’s done what he’s done, catching the ball from three, four, five different guys is even more impressive,” Blythe said. “I just caught the ball from Bret for four years. He wasn’t very good, but we were able to make some things happen.”

Blythe, who still follows the team and keeps in touch with Lazard, said he doesn’t mind watching his records get broken.

“For me it’s cool because we’re both from Iowa, we both actually played in the same conference in high school,” Blythe said. “So it’s been really special for me to see someone from the same area be able to go through and get his name on the board like I was able to do.”

Blythe, however, did say he’s happy to still have the career touchdown record. Lazard’s 25 touchdowns still fall short of Blythe’s 31.

To match that, Lazard would need to have the best receiving performance in school history. Coincidentally, that would mean breaking another Blythe record — he scored four touchdowns in one game at Texas A&M as a sophomore.

So if Lazard doesn’t break the career receiving touchdown record, which he likely won’t, that wouldn’t be the end of the world. That way, both Lazard and Blythe can sit atop the record books together.

“Yeah, that’s about the only one I’ve got left,” Blythe said. “He’s taken me off the board on everything else. I like to remind him every once in awhile that he’s gonna have to have a pretty unbelievable, historic bowl game in order to take that one down.”