The biggest question facing Iowa State throughout spring practice was who would emerge in the race for the starting quarterback job. After 15 practices, the answer to that question won't come until sometime during fall camp which was exactly what Iowa State's staff expected going in.
When Paul Rhoads was asked whether much had changed in terms of the quarterback competition throughout spring practice during his postgame press conference, his answer, "No I think we're right where we started off. I think Jared and Steele are clearly ahead of Sam just because of age and experience, but she's a race. I'm not going to say Sam is out of it. We'll just continue to groom him because a lot changes when you get to August."
The contenders are senior Steele Jantz who started the first seven games for Iowa State last season before giving way to now sophomore Jared Barnett. Jantz also saw the bulk of the action in Iowa State's bowl loss to Rutgers replacing the ineffective Barnett
As for Barnett, he led the Cyclones on a three game winning streak after replacing Jantz against Texas A&M which included a victory over second ranked Oklahoma State when he threw for 376 yards and rushed for another 84 yards in the biggest win in the history of ISU football.
The third candidate for the job is redshirt freshman Sam Richardson, although as Rhoads said, he still remains option number three heading into fall camp.
Both Jantz and Barnett struggled with interceptions a season ago, a problem that rose once again during Saturday's spring game. During a five play stretch at the end of the second quarter, ISU's quarterbacks threw three interceptions, one that was returned 94 yards for a touchdown by linebacker, A.J. Klein.
Iowa State Quarterback Stats in Spring Game:
It's tough to garner much from the statistics in a spring game, but none of the three quarterbacks looked particularly impressive on Saturday which saw the Cardinal team beat the Gold by a score of 13-7.
Was that reflective of how the quarterbacks looked throughout the spring? "No, it was probably - and I shouldn't say this without seeing the film and it's largely influenced by the end of the first half turnovers - but they didn't show up like they have in probably the last four to six practices," Rhoads said.
Converted wide receiver and former quarterback himself, Jerome Tiller agreed. “They had their mistakes,” Tiller said, “but they’ve done really well up until this point. The future is really bright for them.”
It wasn't all bad for the three signal callers, however. Barnett rushed for 55 yards on 11 carries while Jantz completed the longest play of the day, a 56 yard pass to wide receiver Josh Lenz.
Even though no one has yet taken hold of the starting job, the good news for the Cyclones is that they have two guys that have already proven they can win games in the Big 12. Doing it on a consistent basis is another story, however, and is something Rhoads and his staff will be looking to find when fall camp gets underway in August.