OU Gameweek: Cyclones Roundup

How'd Rohach grade out? What's up with David Irving? Why is DeVondrick Nealy not returning punts?

Grant Rohach learned Monday he'd be the starting quarterback for Saturday's tilt at Oklahoma, putting an end to a weeklong quarterback controversy before it could begin.

Although Rohach's performance against TCU was, in the words of head coach Paul Rhoads, "not very good," he gives Iowa State its best chance in the passing game as Sam Richardson deals with a thumb injury on his throwing (right) hand.

Richardson had an incompletion against the Horned Frogs and saw most of his game action in running situations, keeping a speed option on a third-and-one and scrambling 15 yards for a touchdown in the first half.

Rohach threw for 148 yards in his first career start against TCU on 18-for-38 passing. The redshirt freshman saw his first action of the year in relief of Richardson at Baylor, throwing a garbage-time touchdown. On the season Rohach is 49-for-98 (50 percent) for two touchdowns, three interceptions and 398 yards.

Medical concerns for David Irving

David Irving did not play Saturday because of an unspecified medical injury, head coach Paul Rhoads said Monday. The Cyclones are waiting on medical tests to determine if Irving, a junior defensive tackle from California, will be able to play again this season.

Rhoads did not disclose the specifics of Irving's medical concerns, citing confidentiality.

Irving has 16 total tackles, 3.5 for loss, a forced fumble, two sacks and two passes broken up.

ISU not considering Nealy at PR

The Cyclones have found an impact player in DeVondrick Nealy, whose 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown lit a fire under the Cyclones at the beginning of the second half against TCU.

But while the team struggles to get any production from its punt returners after Jarvis West's injury — Albert Gary was finally benched Saturday, the culmination of a few weeks of drops and poor fielding decisions — Nealy is not viewed as a stopgap. Not right now, anyway.

"The rotations of the ball is different on a punt than a kick, the angles of the defenders are different, you've got more pressure on you to catch the ball," Nealy said.

The running back will continue to get reps returning punts in practice, but with the learning curve so steep, the Cyclones will roll with Justin Coleman, the sure-handed wide receiver. Coleman returned one punt for four yards against TCU.

Richardson working way into DB rotation

A strong week of practice earned Sam E. Richardson playing time in Iowa State's defensive backfield Saturday against TCU.

"It elevated him to get back on the field," Cyclones coach Paul Rhoads said.

Richardson has started six games this season but none since the Oklahoma State game, when Jansen Watson's full return from injury allowed him to share the field with Nigel Tribune, a true freshman.

A 5-foot-7 sophomore, Richardson has struggled this season defending passes but is a phenomenal tackler in space, with 41 of his 46 tackles being solo. He's listed as an "or" starter with Watson for this week's game at Oklahoma but Watson, a senior, will likely get the nod.

Surgery will sideline Knott for spring

Redshirt freshman linebacker Luke Knott had successful hip surgery Thursday and will be kept out of spring football, Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads said.

The Cyclones are hopeful Knott can be ready for summer workouts.

"It will be a long road to recovery," Rhoads said.

Knott hasn't played since Oct. 26. He claimed the starting job at weakside lineabacker after the season opener and recorded 45 tackles, including back-to-back 10-plus tackle games against Texas and Texas Tech.

Iowa State has been very pleased with the improvement of Jevohn Miller, whose underwhelming performance against Northern Iowa led to his benching. Miller recorded eight total tackles against TCU.

More injury updates

  • Rhoads hopes offensive lineman Daniel Burton will be able to play Saturday but that'll be something to track as the week plays on.

  • Rhoads does not think Kyle Lichtenberg will return this year (Tommy John surgery), meaning the offensive lineman has played his last game as a Cyclone.

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