QB Lanning leads Iowa State past Texas in his first start
AMES, Iowa — Joel Lanning gave Iowa State and coach Paul Rhoads just the spark they needed.
Lanning threw a touchdown pass in his first start and freshman Mike Warren carved out another 100-yard rushing game, leading Iowa State to a much-needed 24-0 victory over Texas on Saturday night.
Though Lanning struggled at times with his passing, he did enough with his feet for the Cyclones (3-5, 2-3 Big 12) to break a three-game losing streak.
And it came as no surprise at all to Rhoads and Lanning’s teammates.
"I would say that it was very accurate to what I sort of expected to some degree," Rhoads said. "He is a competitive, competitive kid. He likes the ball in his hands. He stood in there under pressure.
"He ran for productive yards whether it was scrambles or designed quarterback runs. He took some hits and got up and the team knew who was tough and who was in charge."
Added wide receiver Allen Lazard, "Seeing him making plays and throwing his body around just gives you more juice."
Lanning, a sophomore from nearby Ankeny, led a 66-yard scoring drive that gave the Cyclones a quick early lead and floated a perfectly thrown pass to Dondre Daley in the left corner of the end zone to make it 17-0 in the third quarter. Joshua Thomas plunged in from 1 yard out late in the game to finish off the Longhorns.
Texas (3-5, 2-3) had upset Oklahoma and dominated Kansas State in its two previous outings with an improved running game. But the Longhorns struggled to get anything going in this one and never advanced past the Iowa State 47 until the final 90 seconds.
The victory should ease some of the pressure on Rhoads, whose team won for just the second time in its last 13 Big 12 games. And it came after Rhoads shook things up during an eventful week.
His promotion of Lanning to the starting job ahead of senior Sam Richardson was followed by the departure of offensive coordinator Mark Mangino. Assistant Todd Sturdy took over that job and Rhoads brought former Washington State coach Paul Wulff onto the staff as a volunteer assistant.
Warren carried 32 times for 157 yards and a 3-yard touchdown in the first quarter, the fifth time in the last six games he has run for at least 126. Lanning added 64 yards on the ground and completed 19 of 37 passes for 188 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions.
While the offense was impressive, the defense was even better in handing Rhoads the third shutout in his seven seasons.
"We’ve got kids that play with an unbelievable work ethic and passion and tonight, they made more plays," Rhoads said. "They tackled better, pursued and put pressure on the quarterback and they got what they deserved coming to them — a shutout."
Texas didn’t have a chance to use its 18-wheeler package for backup quarterback Tyrone Swoopes because the Longhorns never got close to the end zone until a final desperation drive that ended with an incomplete pass on the game’s final play. They managed only 119 yards in the first three quarters and were outgained 426-204 for the game.
Swoopes and starter Jerrod Heard combined for only 85 yards passing, completing 12 of 22 throws.
"We can get in sync, but there were breakdowns at every position," Texas coach Charlie Strong said. "When you look at it, it is not just at the quarterback position; we have to get better all across the board. It is not just on the quarterback position, it is all of them."
Lazard, who missed ISU’s loss at Baylor a week ago because of a shoulder injury, returned to catch six passes for 66 yards. But that wasn’t the highlight for him.
"I was more impressed with the defense holding them to zero points," he said. "They played great."