ISU QB Rohach solidifies hold on backup job
Apr. 11, 2015
AMES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa State senior quarterback Sam Richardson has the starting job for 2015 locked up.
Grant Rohach solidified his place as Richardson's backup with a stellar finish to spring practice.
Rohach, who started the final four games two years ago, was 13 of 18 passing for 186 yards Saturday in Iowa State's spring game. Sophomore Joel Lanning was just 11 of 27 for 125 yards, and he got sacked twice.
Richardson didn't play great either, completing just 11 of 23 passes, but that performance won't matter by August.
"Grant had his best day of the spring by far. I thought he was sharp," Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said. "Sam is our guy."
Here were some of the other developments from Saturday's intrasquad scrimmage.
RUNNING ON EMPTY? Iowa State lost backs Aaron Wimberly and DeVondrick Nealy in the offseason, and sophomore Martinez Syria was inactive Saturday. So the Cyclones were left to lean on inexperienced players like Tyler Brown and Mike Warren. Warren ran for 41 yards, but he was the only back to average over 5 yards a carry. "These guys are strong in the weight room, and they've got to continue to learn how that applies on the football field," Rhoads said.
COTTON-MOYA: One of the most encouraging sights for the Cyclones was the return of defensive back Kamari Cotton-Moya, who had an interception in the first quarter. Cotton-Moya, who was hospitalized last month following a head injury in practice, was one of three players who participated but weren't allowed to be touched. Cotton-Moya was the Big 12's defensive freshman of the year in 2014 and will be a key to Iowa State's hopes for a turnaround in 2015.
TUCKER: Junior college transfer Demond Tucker, a defensive tackle, had been the talk of spring camp — and he didn't disappoint in the spring game. Though he finished with just one tackle for loss, Tucker seemingly spent much of the afternoon in the opposing backfield. "He's a guy that finally on our defensive front that can make plays," Rhoads said.
WHO'S THAT GUY? Wide receiver Trever Ryen, who had been unfamiliar to all but the most die-hard Iowa State fans, caught six passes for 146 yards— including a 49-yard TD reception from Rohach. Ryen even outpaced starters Allen Lazard and Quenton Bundrage, who each caught four passes. Rhoads said after the game that Ryen would have been the MVP of the game if the Cyclones handed out such an award.
SAFETY BALL: The rules for the game were tailored toward keeping the Cyclones healthy. There was no punting. The game's initial drives started at the 25 yard line, and the ball was simply moved 35 yards up field following third down stops. Rhoads personally handled the whistle for the quarterbacks, who weren't allowed to be hit — though the ball remained live for turnovers. Still, not all the precautions were followed. Bundrage, who is coming off an ACL tear, was drilled in the first quarter despite wearing a green jersey designed to let opponents know he was off limits.
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