Similar quarterbacks battle in ISU, OU game


Redshirt junior quarterback Sam Richardson passes the ball during the game in Austin on Oct. 18. The Cyclones fell to the Longhorns 48-45 in the last few seconds of the game.

Ryan Young

After taking a week off, the ISU football team is looking for a new energy.

The Cyclones, who have yet to win a game in the Big 12 conference this year, will play host to No. 19 Oklahoma Sooners (5-2 overall, 2-2 Big 12) on Nov. 1.

“They’re an outstanding football team,” said ISU coach Paul Rhoads. “I still think there is a lot of season left, and they could be a factor in our league for a championship, and whatever the post season provides.”

Trevor Knight, one of the nation’s top quarterbacks, leads this Oklahoma team. When Rhoads was asked to describe Knight earlier this week, one similarity came to mind.

“Their quarterback reminds me a lot of our own,” Rhoads said. “I think he’s throwing it with great velocity, and he’s a threat when he runs the ball; very comparable to our guy.”

The numbers back Rhoads’ comparison. Both Knight and Richardson have thrown for over 1600 yards this season, and both have completed nearly 60 percent of their passes.

However, the comparisons go beyond the numbers as well. Their playing styles are similar too, said ISU wide receiver D’Vario Montgomery.

“They both move the ball pretty well,” Montgomery said. “[Sam] is finding windows and finding people open better than I’ve ever seen him do…It is kind of a similarity, but they have good chemistry too.”

One of the reasons that Knight is having continued success is his offensive line. The Oklahoma offensive line averages 6-foot-4-inches, 327 pounds –bigger than some NFL teams. Iowa State’s offensive line averages 6-foot-6-inches, 305 pounds, significantly less than the Sooners.

“They have those big bodies up front and we are not an overly talented, NFL draft ready defensive line,” Rhoads said. “We can’t be stuck in the middle of those guys. We have to take care of gaps and our linebackers have to be in position to run fit and make tackles.”

The Sooners size up front is working for them, too. They are averaging 192 rushing yards per game, the third best in the conference. With a line that big, linebacker Luke Knott said, it makes it that much harder to slow them down.

Iowa State’s defense has let up a lot of points so far this year, much more than coaches would like. In fact, they’ve only held a team to under 30 points once all season.

In order for the Cyclones to be successful on Nov. 1, both coaches and players know that the defense needs to improve. Their main focus: just getting back to basics.

“We’re just trying to play assignment-sound football,” Knott said. “Obviously you don’t want to let up as many points as you did against Texas, but we’re learning from our mistakes.”