AMES, Iowa — For once, there wasn’t a quarterback controversy for Iowa State.
The Cyclones excelled behind both Joel Lanning and Jacob Park, who helped deliver first-year coach Matt Campbell’s first win.
Park threw for 165 yards and three touchdowns and Iowa State thumped San Jose State 44-10 on Saturday.
Mike Warren rushed for a season-high 103 yards for Iowa State (1-3), which finally had some success rotating Lanning, the starter, and Park.
Lanning was 5 of 8 passing for 136 yards and two TDs. The pair rotated on what appeared to be a pre-planned schedule — and the Spartans couldn’t stop either one of them.
“You can call it a rotation or us competing or whatever you want. But we don’t see it as that. We’re just taking our opportunities that we get and try to execute,” Lanning said. “We just kind of fed off each other.”
The Cyclones needed just 7:51 and 24 plays to put up 23 points — a season high for a game — in the first half. Lanning’s 49-yard TD pass to Deshaunte Jones made it 30-3 early in the second half.
“It was efficient. That’s the thing we have to be to have success,” Campbell said of the offense, which finished with 503 yards.
San Jose State freshman Josh Love threw for 155 yards, but he was also picked off four times. The Spartans (1-3) sorely missed starter Kenny Potter, who was out with a right leg injury.
Iowa State: Campbell has preached about “the process” it takes to be successful from the day he arrived in Ames. The Cyclones finally got to see what he meant on Saturday. Despite some struggles containing the run, Iowa State was the better team on both sides of the ball. For a program that dropped its previous two games by a combined 60 points, that’s progress. “It wasn’t perfect. But I think you saw improvement,” Campbell said.
San Jose State: Love might be good someday for the Spartans. But his interception total didn’t include a handful of picks that Iowa State just missed out on. San Jose State desperately needs a healthy Potter if it hopes to push for a bowl bid.
PARK VS. LANNING
Though Lanning has been the starter since the middle of last season, Park has impressed the coaching staff enough to earn snaps. Park, a sophomore, played like a senior against the Spartans. Park’s pocket presence and awareness was fantastic, as was his touch on both short and deep balls. Park got himself in trouble on a few quick tosses that San Jose State’s cornerbacks nearly picked off, but overall he looked like a Big 12 quarterback.
San Jose State has lost 12 straight regular season games against non-conference FBS opponents. Its last win came at home against BYU four years ago. …Warren has rushed for 198 yards in his last two games. He had just 58 in his first two. …Cyclones kicker Cole Netten connected on a 49-yard field goal, his 12th straight dating back to 2015. That’s a new school record. …Zamore Zigler rushed for 104 yards on 24 carries for San Jose State, which had 177 yards on 47 attempts. Though that looked like a strong effort from Iowa State’s rush defense, the Cyclones allowed three different Spartans to pick up 13 or more yards on a single carry.
Iowa State hosts Baylor, its third opponent to be ranked at some point this season. Both Iowa and TCU, which beat the Cyclones by a combined score of 83-23, dropped out of the Top 25 after early losses.
San Jose State opens Mountain West play when travels to face New Mexico, a matchup of two teams expected to finish in the bottom half of the league.