Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoades announced on Monday that redshirt junior Sam Richardson would be the starting quarterback for the Cyclones’ 2014 season opener against North Dakota State.
Richardson and sophomore Grant Rohach had shared the quarterbacking duties a year ago, and the belief after spring practice this year that Rohach might get the starting nod when the new season kicked off in the fall.
Oct 26, 2013; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones Head Coach Paul Rhoads looks on during their game with the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Jack Trice Stadium. The Cowboys beat the Cyclones 58-27. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports
Rhoads announced the decision to the media following preseason practice on Monday.
Richardson started Iowa State’s first eight games last season. He had solid numbers in his first four games, completing 62 percent of his passes and throwing nine for touchdowns, despite suffering a broken ankle in the opening game.
The junior from Winter Park, Fla., reinjured his ankle in the Cyclones fifth game last year vs. Texas Tech, and was never quite the same the rest of the season. Rohach replaced him at quarterback for the final four games of the season.
Richardson presents a dual threat when he is in at quarterback. In addition to his ability to throw the football, he also rushed for 356 yards in 2013, which ranked third on the team.
For his two-year career at Iowa State, Richardson has 1,928 passing yards, 19 passing touchdowns and has run the football for 389 yards.
“I’m excited,” Richardson said after the announcement. “Obviously, going into the season this is what I wanted, so it’s a nice relief that I will be back there.”
New Cyclone offensive coordinator Mark Mangino, who previously served as head coach at Kansas from 2002 to 2009 and before that was offensive coordinator at Oklahoma, has this to say about Richardson winning the starting quarterback job heading into to 2014 season:
“Sam is a talented guy. (He) is a guy that I think learned some valuable lessons in the spring. He’s shown a much more greater sense of urgency about his play. When we (Mangino) first got here, he took his time throwing the ball. Now he takes his drops and gets rid of it. That’s a big leap for Sam.”