Bundrage uses injury as motivation


Wide receiver Quenton Bundrage poses at football media day

Luke Manderfeld

Redshirt senior Quenton Bundrage jumped on the field against North Dakota State on Aug. 30 last season, ready to follow up his previous season at Iowa State in which he led the team in receptions, touchdowns and receiving yards.

But in an instant, all of it was gone.

Bundrage tore his ACL on the first offensive series of the new season, ending it completely. All the hours he put in during the offseason were pulled out from under him in a flash.

At least for one year.

Bundrage will return to the lineup for his last season donning an ISU jersey, bringing a new mentality and perspective to his entire team.

“[The injury] just made me look at life differently,” Bundrage said. “Anything can be taken away from you at any moment. I appreciate that I can go out there for my last season and play in front on the fans one last time.”

During his injury and the offseason, Bundrage adapted to life on the sidelines. He grew profoundly in the leadership department, becoming a role model for some younger receivers.

Bundrage’s determination isn’t a new attribute, however. In fact, it’s been one of his more profound traits. He has always been a regular at breakfast before two-a-days in the fall, routinely showing up before anyone else and has been vocal on the field. 

But this season seems different.

Redshirt senior quarterback Sam Richardson has seen a different drive from Bundrage. A fire he hadn’t noticed from him in the past.

“This is his last opportunity as a guy to go to the NFL and be successful in that league,” Richardson said. “He understands to do that he has to perform on a weekly basis. And he’s just being serious about his job right now.”

The hard-working mentality has rubbed off on his teammates, particularly the younger ones.

“You just see him working every day,” said sophomore receiver Allen Lazard. “Just by him showing up and being there, you know you have to raise your game a little bit more. Because if he’s going to bring it, that means you have to bring it as well.”

In Bundrage’s first taste of game action in more than a year, the offense wants to get him going early.

“We won’t necessarily go into it with a layup like a hot pass or a screen pass or something like that to get his hands on the ball and get him going,” Rhoads said. “But certainly he’ll be a target. He’ll be a target early in the game and hopefully often throughout the game.”

Bundrage won’t necessarily be the main target in the offense, however. An impressive surrounding cast of receivers that includes Lazard and redshirt junior D’Vario Montgomery will assist Bundrage in his last ISU season.

Richardson has worked with the receivers during the offseason, but the group still impresses him on a weekly basis. 

“They continue to impress me,” he said. “You know they are going to perform every Saturday and if a guy is having an off day, which shouldn’t happen, but there are plenty of weapons out there to fill in. It’s a great skill group and we are excited to get out there and throw the ball around.”