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AMES — There wasn’t much doubt of the outcome when Joel Lanning and Jacob Park took a minute to pause on the sideline.
Iowa State was running away to its first win of the season when quarterbacks coach Jim Hofher approached the pair. His question wasn’t necessarily football related, but within his point he had given his assessment of the two.
“(He) came over to us and said, ‘You ever seen WWE?’” Lanning said. “He was like, ‘We have a tag-team going on here.’”
The Iowa State football team bullied its way to its first win of the season, beating San Jose State 44-10 behind the tandem quarterbacks. It was the largest margin of victory for the Cyclones (1-3) since 2013 and the most points scored since 2014.
Park was 15-for-19 passing for 165 yards and three touchdowns while Lanning was 5-for-8 for 136 yards and two scores. It was the most touchdown passes Iowa State has produced in a game since it had five against Baylor on Oct. 27, 2012.
Both Lanning and Park quickly dispel any notion that they are adversaries in this quarterback rotation. On the contrary, it’s the fact they are able to work well together that led to Saturday’s rout of the Spartans (1-3).
“We’re both competitors, we’re both quarterbacks, but at the end of the day friends are longer than football,” Park said. “(He and I) have become good friends and I think it’s a good example to set for the team. We’re probably in the toughest competition on the team right now and to show that (he and I) are close kind of brings the team together.”
Lanning’s fourth career multi-touchdown game, Park’s first and their ability to combine for a 74 percent completion rate with zero interceptions was a model of efficiency.
That efficiency started with the help of Allen Lazard, who led the team with four catches for 47 yards and a score, on the first ISU drive. Lanning found Lazard on the edge of the end zone where he made a 17-yard grab for a touchdown — the play was overturned on a review after initially being ruled incomplete.
After San Jose State made it 7-3 on a 22-yard field goal, kicker Cole Netten drilled a 49-yard field goal and running back Mike Warren had a two-yard score to make it 17-3. Then the passing onslaught began.
Park and Lanning traded touchdown throws with the former hitting Dondre Daley for a 23-yard strike. Lanning found freshman Deshaunte Jones for a 49-yard bomb down the middle before Park ended with a one-yard score (Jones) and a 16-yard touchdown to Trever Ryen.
It’s safe to say the rotation won’t be stopping any time soon.
“I think it just takes the right people to have success with both (quarterbacks),” said Iowa State Coach Matt Campbell, who picked up his first win. “They have to be the right character and the right people and I really believe we’ve got that.
“I think we’re really fortunate to have two guys we trust and they trust each other and I think they trust us.”
Iowa State surpassed 500 total yards (503) for just the 14th time in the last 10 years, but it was the defense that staved off any threat of a San Jose State win.
Quarterback Josh Love was picked off four times while going 13-for-27 passing for 155 yards and a score. The Cyclones’ four interceptions were the most they have forced since Aug. 28, 2008 (five) against South Dakota State.
“That was certainly a momentum-changer in the football game at some really critical times,” Campbell said. “A lot of improvement in that area. And was it anything special? No, I think it was our ability to get out there and play with some confidence.”
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