Aerial attack impressed, run game improved after Northern Iowa


Josh Newell

Iowa State’s sophomore Wide Receiver Allen Lazard (5) jumps for the catch against Northern Iowa’s senior Defensive Back Deiondre’ Hall (1) during a play Saturday September 6, 2015 in Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa. The Cyclones triumphed over the Panthers 31 to 7, scoring three of their four touchdowns in the second half.

Ryan Young

A large amount of culture change talk surrounded the ISU football team this year from both players and coaches.

But it was just talk. After winning five games in two seasons, no proof existed to back up the team’s claim of change.

That is until now.

After Iowa State’s 31-7 win against Northern Iowa, fans can finally see firsthand the differences surrounding this year’s team.

“There’s really no excuse to lose to them, honestly,” said ISU quarterback Sam Richardson. “We expected to be 1-0, we expected to come in and get the job done and that’s what we did.”

Richardson finished the game with 233 yards and two touchdowns, completing 21-of-29 passes. But he really seemed to find his rhythm in the third quarter, when he completed 6-of-6 passes with two scores.

Wide receiver Dondre Daley scored first on a 36-yard screen play, and then Richardson found Allen Lazard in the back corner of the end zone from 13 yards out.

“I think we just called those kind of plays at the right time,” Richardson said. “I think we threw some good balls and [Daley] made a big play with that screen in the second half. We made some plays when we needed to.”

Daley finished the game with four catches for 70 yards and a touchdown. Senior Quenton Bundrage caught five passes for 53 yards, and sophomore Allen Lazard had four receptions for 43 yards and a touchdown.

But fans knew about the strong aerial attack that the Cyclones boast – one that will challenge for the best in the Big 12. It was the run game, though, that proved more interesting to watch.

Before the game, only one running back had any previous game experience at the position, causing this to be one of the more pressing concerns surrounding the offense. But redshirt sophomore Tyler Brown, who had just 24 career carries before Saturday’s game, carried the ball 11 times for 68 yards, averaging just more than six yards per carry.

“They gave us some looks that we knew we were going to get, and they saw the blitzes when they came,” Richardson said. “I think they played a great game for the young group that they are, coming in on really their first start for all of them.”

Brown started strong, rushing for 50 yards during the opening drive, including a 34-yard breakaway run. He didn’t carry the ball again, though, until the first series in the second half.

Overall, the Cyclones finished with just 77 net rushing yards. While they had good stretches, Lazard said some work still needs to be done.

“I saw moments where we could be really great, and sometimes we didn’t execute to our liking,” Lazard said. “We still have a lot to improve on that, but I still think we did a great job … It’s great to see the success build off of last year.”