Grading the Cyclones: Quarterbacks

This post is part of a series of posts in which I review the Cyclones position groups based on their play in the 2011 season. I assign a letter grade and give you a chance to have your say by leaving a comment at the end.

In 2011, the year ESPN dubbed “The Year of the Quarterback”, Iowa State’s success depended heavily on how well Steele Jantz and Jared Barnett played.

It was a much-talked about position coming into the season.  The battle for the starting job was between Steele Jantz and Jerome Tiller and they fought for it throughout the spring and the summer.  Before the season started, it was announced that Jerome Tiller was academically ineligble for the season.  Enter Steele Jantz.

The JUCO transfer barely escaped Week 1 against Northern Iowa.  He struggled mightily for the first three quarters but then turned it on in the fourth.  This would become the trend for Jantz throughout the year.  With fans doubting him and Hawkeye fans mocking him outside Jack Trice Stadium, Jantz became legendary with his performance against Iowa.  Jantz made big play after big play and undoubtedly was the reason for the first victory against the Hawkeyes in a while.  Jantz will always be remembered by Cyclone fans for that game.  He put on another heroic performance the next week against UCONN on the road.  The Cyclones were 3-0 and fans were ready to build a statue of him outside of JTS.

After the UCONN game, Cyclone fans never saw Jantz’s magic again.  After a bye week, Jantz and the Clones entered Big 12 play.  He lost all four games he started in the Big 12.  He struggled taking care of the ball and just wasn’t making the plays (although, he played decent against Baylor).  When he struggled early against Texas A&M, Rhoads benched him.  Enter Jared Barnett.

Jared Barnett started spring ball as the fourth-string QB.  With help from others (Tiller’s grades and James Capello’s transfer), he was put in for action against A&M.  Although ISU lost the game, Barnett did a decent job.  Nobody could expect what would happen next.  On a four-game losing streak, the Clones led by Jared Barnett shocked Texas Tech at home.  Tech was fresh off of beating Oklahoma in Norman and was ranked.  Barnett played an almost flawless game.  He controlled the offense and was a threat on the ground too.  He went on to win the next two Big 12 games including getting national attention after ISU knocked off Oklahoma State.  There was help from other players, but Barnett saved the season for the Clones.

As you know, both QBs played in Pinstripe Bowl against Rutgers.  Both did not play a good game and now many fans are questioning both Barnett and Jantz.  Sometimes Barnett and Jantz played like All Big-12 caliber QBs and then sometimes, fans began questioning whether they were good enough to play in this league.  I think both Barnett and Jantz can be described in one word this year: inconsistent.

My Final Grade: C

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Topics: Iowa State Cyclones, Jared Barnett, Quarterbacks, Steele Jantz

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