Players to Watch: Iowa State

Peter Sblendorio

Junior QB Sam Richardson

Richardson enjoyed one of the best games of his career last season against the Longhorns, passing for 262 yards and two touchdowns while adding 83 yards on the ground. The junior will be hard pressed to replicate those numbers against an improved Texas defense this year, but he has been playing extremely well this season. In addition to passing for 1,354 yards and 10 touchdowns in his first six games, Richardson leads Iowa State with 283 rushing yards on 71 carries. He’s thrown at least two touchdown passes in each of his last four games, and, last week, he recorded a career-high 351 passing yards against Toledo. He’s passed for 412 yards and four touchdowns in two conference games this season, but the Texas defense will be his toughest challenge yet. 

Junior RB Aaron Wimberly

After turning in an impressive junior campaign in 2013, Wimberly took a step back in the first half of this season. The senior rushed for just 158 yards on 52 carries in his first five games of 2014, and he’s yet to rush for even 40 yards in a game this season. That being said, he still lead the Cyclones with three rushing touchdowns, and he’s made himself a factor in the passing game with 10 receptions already. Wimberly torched the Texas defense for 117 rushing yards last season, a game in which he scored one touchdown on the ground and another through the air. He’s struggled mightily this season, but the Longhorns know from last year that he is capable of much more.

Freshman WR Allen Lazard

Lazard has been one of the brightest spots for the Iowa State offense this season. In the absence of redshirt junior wide receiver Quenton Bundrage, who’s out for the year with a torn ACL, Lazard has stepped up to lead the Cyclone receiving corps in the first six games of the season. The true freshman has hauled in 21 passes and two touchdowns so far and leads Iowa State with 304 receiving yards. He’s coming off of the best game of his career, as he recorded a career-high eight receptions for 96 yards and a touchdown last week. At 6 feet 5 inches and 221 pounds, Lazard creates matchup issues for opposing defensive backs. 

Senior TE E.J. Bibbs

Bibbs has been one of the Cyclones’ most consistent playmakers so far this season, leading the team with four touchdown receptions while hauling in at least three passes in each of the last five games. The 6-foot-3-inch, 264-pound senior tight end is the ideal red zone target for Richardson. He turned in a solid performance against the Longhorns last year when he registered three receptions for 43 yards. Bibbs had one of the best games of his career in his last conference game, against Oklahoma State, recording a season-high six catches for 69 yards and two scores.