Iowa State football: Who will start at quarterback for the Cyclones?


We’re getting ever so close to a decision on the Iowa State starting quarterback, and we’re going to make our official prediction on who will be taking snaps under center on Saturdays.

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Head coach Paul Rhoads will make his official decision on Monday, two days later than his previous announcement of the day he would pick the starting quarterback. Rhoads would like to evaluate the film from the teams’ second scrimmage on Saturday before making a final selection.

The battle is between Sam Richardson and Grant Rohach. Joel Lanning is technically still a part of the race as he’s listed on the depth chart, but realistically, one of those first two will become the starter. Richardson got the job last season, but he got banged up in the season opener against UNI and was rumored to have some non-football accidents that kept him from being 100 percent the rest of the way. It got so bad that the quarterback couldn’t even throw the ball, paving the way for Rohach to become the starter.

It wasn’t pretty in the months of October and early November, but as soon as Rohach didn’t face as tough of a pass rush in the final two games against Kansas and West Virginia, the young quarterback thrived. He carried that momentum through the offseason and into the spring game.

All summer, it’s looked like Rohach would be given the keys to the offense. All the way up until the team’s first scrimmage last Saturday. Reportedly, Richardson looked very good now that he’s healthy again. It’s nearly unanimous among media members that momentum has clearly swung toward Richardson.

Nov 16, 2013; Norman, OK, USA; Iowa State Cyclones quarterback Sam Richardson (12) attempts a pass against the Oklahoma Sooners in the first half at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

So, who’s going to be the quarterback that will be starting for Iowa State? Sam Richardson. Why? Richardson is overall the better quarterback. There was a small window that the guy was healthy in 2013, but he was good when he was on. He spread the ball out to everyone in the win against Tulsa, and with the arsenal of receivers that Richardson would have to pick from, it would be ideal for the Cyclones if they had their best quarterback that would check down receivers.

That’s not a knock on Rohach; arguably, he would be a better fit for an offense that wants to pass more since he won’t take off with his legs. But he has to prove that he can do it when facing a decent pass rush, and Richardson has more experience overall at the position.

Plus, it’s generally good to have a quarterback that is a dual threat in the spread offense. What’s a concern is Richardson’s durability. The guy hasn’t played more than two consecutive decent outings in a row, and considering he is a dual threat QB, he’s going to continue getting hit.

Richardson will be as close to 100 percent as he will all season when things open up with North Dakota State, and that’s why we think he’ll have the starting job locked up. Either way, if durability is also a concern with the team, you might as well throw the better quarterback out there and see how long he lasts before putting Rohach out there.