Iowa State football notes: Joel Lanning coming 'into his own' at linebacker

Sean Foster, Bryce Meeker rotate at right tackle against Akron

Iowa State Cyclones linebacker Joel Lanning celebrates after an interception Saturday against the Akron Zips at InfoCision Stadium in Akron, Ohio. (David Dermer/USA TODAY Sports)
Iowa State Cyclones linebacker Joel Lanning celebrates after an interception Saturday against the Akron Zips at InfoCision Stadium in Akron, Ohio. (David Dermer/USA TODAY Sports)

AKRON, Ohio — The scrapes up and down his arm and across the side of his neck are a sign things are different.

Iowa State senior Joel Lanning really is a linebacker.

“I felt a lot more comfortable with what I was doing and what I was seeing,” Lanning said after Iowa State’s 41-14 win Saturday at Akron. “Out here it definitely slowed down a lot for me too. I’m just kind of locked in and things aren’t going so fast for me anymore.

“I’m just kind of chilling and doing my thing.”

Coach Matt Campbell wasn’t satisfied overall with his team’s performance against the Zips (1-2). The Cyclones (2-1) left plenty of plays, and points, on the field, but the second-year ISU coach gave kudos to his middle linebacker.

Lanning had a team-high eight tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, one pass breakup and his first career interception, which he returned 19 yards. The pick set up running back David Montgomery’s nine-yard touchdown run to help pull Iowa State ahead 34-14.

“The quarterback clearly didn’t see me right there and just threw it right to me,” Lanning said. “The first one was right to me. The second one (on the pass breakup) I had to jump a little bit. It was kind of embarrassing.”

“It’s the third time he’s playing his position. You see a kid that’s really just starting to go into his own,” Campbell said of Lanning. “I challenged our football team, I don’t know what else you can do, but our leaders have to stand up. And there’s a guy that’s leading our football program every single day.

“I think he’s a guy that’s only going to get better and I know he’s a catalyst for what we do in our football program.”


Lanning helped the Iowa State defense hold Akron to 331 total yards and 4.9 yards per play while collecting 11 tackles for loss, three turnovers and six sacks for a total of 33 yards.

“He’s doing a good job with the transition and being a leader on the defense,” said senior wide receiver Allen Lazard. “Obviously he’s not perfect, no one on this team is, but he keeps improving every single game and seeing him out there making plays makes it more exciting for us.”

Foster gets start at right tackle, rotates with Meeker

Iowa State’s offensive line, which has given up just one sack and five quarterback hurries through three games, had a new face starting against Akron.

Redshirt freshman Sean Foster got the nod over sophomore Bryce Meeker after playing between 50 and 60 snaps last week against Iowa. Coach Matt Campbell said they’ve been rotating the two and are feeling out that spot still.

“We went two series, two series, two series and then how we settled, I’d be lying to you if I knew how we settled it. I’ve got to look at the film,” Campbell said. “I think those guys rotated, and again, some inconsistency there. Hopefully one of those guys takes a stake to it and claims the position.”

Injury update

• Senior Kamari Cotton-Moya wasn’t in uniform against Akron after sustaining an elbow injury against Iowa. Iowa State has an open week next, followed by a Thursday night game against Texas. Coach Matt Campbell said he thinks Cotton-Moya will be back for that.

• Junior cornerback D’Andre Payne suffered a hamstring injury in the first half, Campbell said, and was unable to go the rest of the game. Campbell said he doesn’t expect it to be a long-term issue, but Payne will be evaluated in the coming days.

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