Northern Iowa Panthers vs. Iowa State Cyclones: Five players to watch


Nov 23, 2012; Ames, Iowa, USA; Iowa State Cyclones quarterback Sam Richardson (12) rushes against West Virginia Mountaineers linebacker Jared Barber (33) during the second half at Jack Trice Stadium. West Virginia defeated Iowa State 31-24. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

We’ll keep it pretty straight forward in the five players to watch in opening week. This is a key moment for the skill players to get off to a good start for their respective teams. North Dakota State has given all the confidence in the world to Northern Iowa that it can come out of Ames with an upset, and Iowa State can’t afford to lose any games they should win if they want to make it to another bowl game.

Sam Richardson – Quarterback, Iowa State (So, #12)

Opposing teams will be ready for Richardson despite him only playing a handful of games last season. A benefit will be that Richardson doesn’t have much on tape yet, but he’ll have to prove that he can maintain the spotlight on him and make smart decisions under center when the pressure comes.

David Johnson – Running back, Northern Iowa (Jr, #7) 

Johnson was more of a threat catching the ball in their last meeting in 2011 with 83 yards and a touchdown. The Cyclones will need to keep that from happening.

Shontrelle Johnson – Running back, Iowa State (Sr, #21)

This is Shontrelle’s moment to shine after finding is rhythm again late last season. He’ll be battling with James White for touches.

Sawyer Kollmorgen – Quarterback, Northern Iowa (So, #17)

Iowa State’s secondary will need to be prepared for a quarterback that will be throwing often. If he finds his rhythm, it’s going to be a long night at Jack Trice for the Cyclone defense.

Quenton Bundrage – Wide receiver, Iowa State (So, #9)

Despite three leading wide receivers leaving the team from a season ago, Bundrage showed the most potential with glimpses of greatness. He could be the Cyclones’ most breakout player.