Sam Richardson impresses, the run defense still concerns, and why Iowa State needs to play more teams like Toledo in five takeaways from the Cyclones’ 37-30 victory over the Rockets.
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1. Sam Richardson delivered a much-needed performance in a must-win game.
This week, I wasn’t shy in admitting that if Richardson couldn’t get it done against Toledo, it may be time to bring in Grant Rohach. He delivered, and even stepped up in the second half to aid in four touchdowns for the offense. He was efficient all day despite the offense producing just nine total points in the first half, and he finally got Allen Lazard involved in the second half.
2. Hopefully this is the start of a great season for Lazard.
With multiple wide receivers getting injured, Lazard is needed more than ever. The combination of him, D’Vario Montgomery, and E.J. Bibbs could be a great threat against Big 12 defenses because of their build. Lazard didn’t look like a true freshman on Saturday, and hopefully that will be the case going forward.
3. It’s comfortable knowing Iowa State has a reliable kicker.
The crazy field goal adventures against Tulsa a season ago are a distant memory. Cole Netten is lights out at kicking field goals from anywhere. Iowa State doesn’t want to rely on them, but it’s helpful to know that they can get them when necessary.
4. Run defense is still a concern.
At the halfway mark, Iowa State is ranked 106th nationally in run defense, and it really showed against Toledo. That helped the Rockets’ young quarterback, Logan Woodside, tremendously by having the pressure taken off him. That run defense must improve if the Cyclones defense ever wants to get off the field.
5. It would help if Iowa State scheduled teams like Toledo more.
Confidence and momentum play a big role in college sports, and Iowa State would benefit themselves by scheduling some easier non-conference opponents. There are now nine conference games, and the Big 12 is very deep. Keep the game against Iowa, but it’s time to drop the tough FCS schools that don’t do anything but make the team look bad. Adding Directional Michigans or even other Big Ten teams like Indiana and Illinois would benefit Iowa State far more than UNI or North Dakota State.