The Cyclones have stated a desire to create more big plays on offense in each of Coach Paul Rhoads’ seasons in Ames.
Through 7 games, ISU has registered six plays of at least 50 yards. That’s the good news.
Sophomore Quenton Bundrage is the acknowledged big-play specialist on offense. He has TD catches of 97 (longest pass play in ISU history) and 65 yards this season. Bundrage, who leads the team with 6 touchdowns, has also been the healthiest of the big-play guys.
The bad news is how the injury bug keeps hitting the players, who created the long plays.
Quarterback Sam Richardson has brought big-play skills to the offense with both his arm and feet. Of the six plays longer than 50 yards this fall, Sam has been involved in four of them (one run, three passes). Richardson, of course, also leads the team in injuries. Several weeks ago, Rhoads noted he was on the injury list for four different ailments. After a crunching hit which folded him over on Saturday, Richardson sat out the second half.
Aaron Wimberly has a 78-yard kickoff return and both a run and reception longer than 30 yards in his rookie season at ISU. He also emerged from a crowded backfield this season and registered a pair of 100-yard games consecutively to earn the starting spot at tailback. Wimberly didn’t play Saturday after tweaking a hamstring in practice late last week.
Jarvis West, the third-leading punt returner in the Big 12 and author of a 95-yard kickoff return vs. Texas Tech, recently started making an impact on special teams. Baylor, in fact, kicked away from him all evening. West, unfortunately, suffered a MCL injury Saturday and never returned to action. He is likely out for four weeks.
Although he has not registered a play of 50 yards yet, tight end E.J. Bibbs did get loose for a 38 yarder vs. Oklahoma State and is becoming another big-play option. Bibbs, of course, also had to get treated on field Saturday and will be nursing an injury in the coming games.
While Rhoads is getting his wish with the development of some playmakers, it sure would be a nice twist if the Cyclones could get all of them on the field at the same time for a spell.