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IOWA CITY — Quarterback competitions have become the norm in Iowa State’s recent history.
Matt Campbell gave an idea that his first season coaching the Cyclones might not be any different on that front.
Junior Joel Lanning and sophomore Jacob Park both saw snaps in a 42-3 loss at No. 11 Iowa on Saturday, but Campbell didn’t tip his hat in favor of either one moving forward. All the ISU staff knows is it’s still learning what pieces they have to work with on the team and will continue evaluations of each position, even the quarterback.
“We have to a great job of evaluating that,” Campbell said. “Joel made some things, in a positive way, happen. We didn’t sustain. Then Jacob came in and played well as well. I think we’ll sit down and figure that situation out and really make the best decision as we continue forward.”
Lanning played almost three quarters and was 8-for-20 passing for 86 yards and couldn’t sustain an offensive rhythm, save for the Cyclones’ (0-2) only scoring drive. His interception, which resulted in Iowa’s LeShun Daniels’ 43-yard touchdown run two plays later, gave way to Park coming in with 1:33 to go in the third quarter.
Park was 6-for-15 for 79 yards, but was hurt by inexcusable offensive penalties. He had three completions of 15, 17 and 16 yards, but all three were negated by ineligible receivers downfield.
“It hurts the flow of the game, but if you’re a baller, you’re a baller,” Park said. “It don’t matter. It irritates you, but it’s all about the next play. Whether you throw an interception or you throw a touchdown, it’s over and it’s all about the next play.”
The two quarterbacks present some different tools in their skill set also. Lanning tends to be more of a run-first quarterback that will occasionally stay in the pocket. He led the Cyclones in carries (13), but netted only 27 yards and took three sacks.
Park is more of a prototypical pocket passer that sits back and waits for the play to unfold. He had three carries for 19 yards, but had a long pass of 36 yards to junior wide receiver Allen Lazard, who had seven catches for 111 yards — he is one of eight players nationally to have two 100-yard receiving games in the first two weeks of the season.
“I just need to stay confident with myself,” Lanning said. “I mean whatever happens (in the quarterback competition) is going to happen. I’m a captain of the team and I’ve got to be here for these teammates no matter if I’m the starter or not. Jacob is a great kid and he can do it. So whatever happens, happens.”
Saturday was Park’s first game reps since high school. He began his career as a redshirt at Georgia before transferring to Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, where didn’t compete in football. That time away from the game doesn’t leave Park feeling rusty, though.
“I’m real confident in what I can do. I’m real confident in what Joel can do,” Park said. “I don’t see it as much of a competition. He’s one of my good friends and one of the closer guys on the team that I’m with. I have a good time getting better with him every day. It comes down to a coach’s decision and it’s not mine.”
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