AMES, IOWA — From the standpoint that matters most, Joel Lanning’s starting debut Saturday couldn’t have gone any better.
The redshirt sophomore quarterback is 1-0 as a starter in the Big 12 following Iowa State's 24-0 victory against Texas. That 1-0 feat is one that hasn’t come easy to past Iowa State quarterbacks, so from that perspective there’s little to look back on and critique.
Yet after going 19-of-37 for 188 yards and a touchdown, there were some critiques to be had Monday after reviewing film.
“Certainly he made plays, both running and throwing, but there were a number of underthrown balls, fixable things,” coach Paul Rhoads said. “He was on his front foot too soon or he was on his back foot too long and tried to muscle it, things of that nature. Those were all fixable things. Overall he graded out well, and anytime you win that’s the ultimate grade you want to achieve.”
Lanning shared the same viewpoint as his coach Monday after he watch film alone at the Bergstrom Football Complex on Sunday. The sophomore completed 51 percent of his passes, a number that ideally would be closer to 65 percent.
Lanning underthrew some receivers, which was his main focus afterward.
“[I] was throwing off my back foot a little too much,” Lanning said. “There were a few throws that I could’ve made a little better. I was trying to muscle up a little too much and put too much on the ball. That’s my main problem right now.”
Certainly, the underthrows weren’t from a lack of arm strength as teammates have raved about Lanning’s “rocket” and accuracy. He showed his deep-ball threat again Saturday with a precision pass into the corner of the end zone.
Meanwhile, Lanning’s feet opened up Iowa State’s offense. He rushed 13 times for 64 yards on the ground, making Texas guess on read-options.
One other noticeable asset? Lanning’s ramming ability as a ball-carrier.
“We’ve practiced sliding before. [Coach would] rather us get down than try to do that, but it’s part of the game,” Lanning said. “I think growing up in wrestling kind of made me a more physical person, so that’s just how I play the game.”
Lanning rammed one linebacker Saturday and multiple times scrambled for first downs on third-and-long. Iowa State hopes that's a demension — along with his accuracy — that continues to evolve.
“I don’t get hit all week, so this is my one chance to get hit,” Lanning said. “I do enjoy the physical game of football.”