The Iowa State Cyclones have come close to pulling off some major upsets this season but have fallen short each time and sit at just 1-6 on the season and winless in Big 12 play. Watching the Cyclones play, however, they don’t look like a 1-6 team and have plenty of quality players who are difference makers on the field. None more so, perhaps, than quarterback Sam Richardson who needs to shoulder even more of the offensive load down the stretch to get Iowa State back into the win column.
Richardson has been one of the most consistent presences on the Iowa State offense all season long. He ranks No. 3 in the Big 12 in total offense, averaging 237.3 yards every game. He’s had to work hard for that yardage and is completing just 55.9 percent of his passes this season, but he’s found a way to get it done for the most part. He’s struggled a bit in the last two weeks, however, against the Baylor Bears and Oklahoma State Cowboys, completing a combined 13 of 28 passes for just 163 yards with a touchdown and an interception through the air and rushing for just 68 yards combined.
Not surprisingly, Richardson’s drop in production resulted in very non-competitive efforts from Iowa State. He needs to be making plays for this offense to have a shot. When he’s on, Iowa State can control the pace of a game and work their way down the field methodically. While they haven’t shown they can finish games out under Richardson, he’s been one of the biggest reasons they have been in any of the contests so far this season. The Cyclones go as Richardson does and he’ll need to bring his best the rest of the way.
It’s a lot to put on the plate of a sophomore quarterback, but the fate of the Iowa State team the rest of the way rests on Richardson’s shoulders. How far can he take them in the final five games?