Iowa State quarterback Steele Jantz has led the Cyclones to the team’s first 3-0 start since 2005. His stats would make you
Jantz has completed 57.5 percent of his passes, with six touchdowns and six interceptions.
“They’re good things, obviously, winning three games,” Jantz said. “But beyond that, I’ve got to minimize a lot of mistakes and, speaking for the offense, we’ve got a long way to go.”
The junior competed for the starting job at Iowa State with Jerome Tiller and Jared Barnett throughout the summer and was given the job two weeks before the season. Jantz can play with his feet and is known for keeping plays, and his team, alive in games.
“You can talk leadership, moxie, you can talk all those thing, but his production when those games have been on the line?” said Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads. “He’s delivered throwing the ball and he’s delivered running the ball.”
Rhoads believes that Jantz has turned the ball over too many times and that consistency is something he needs to work on.
But, he said Jantz is only getting better.
“He’s made a higher number than we would like of poor decisions,” Rhoads said. “He’s made great decisions and he’s made some spectacular plays. I would say at this point he’s inconsistent. Certainly not unusual for a first-time starter at this level, coming off a successful junior college career.”
Jantz is a transfer from San Francisco Community College. According to Mack Brown, he has been compared to a young Aaron Rodgers, who transferred to Berkeley from Butte Community College.
Texas linebacker Jordan Hicks said in order to win the game, the Longhorns must stop Jantz.
“He’s good at extending the play,” Hicks said. “We have to get after him a little bit and be able to contain him and stop him.”
Jantz’s own teammates are impressed with his ability to move.
“I can’t put my finger on it, but there’s something about him, he just makes plays and finds a way,” said Iowa State running back Shontrelle Johnson after the Cyclone’s 44-41 triple-overtime win over Iowa.
Iowa State linebacker Jake Knott said Jantz is deceptively fast and he is smooth in his playmaking.
In all three games this season, Jantz has led fourth-quarter comebacks. He had a quarterback sneak in the final seconds against Northern Iowa and two fourth-down conversions in the Cyclone’s overtime win over Iowa. Iowa State has always had trouble beating rival, Iowa.
Although Jantz has struggled with consistency, he has thrown for 666 yards this season and run for 112 yards. Mack Brown has been impressed with Jantz’s ability to lead the Cyclones to victory despite adversity.
“Not only did he bring them back [against Iowa], but the play he made on the goal line where he runs up inside and bounces back out and sprints to the right and hits the guy to win the game in overtime was just an amazing play,” Brown said.
Jantz was named Big 12 offensive player of the week after the team’s comeback win over Iowa. In the game, Jantz threw for 279 yards and four touchdowns. He led the team to three-straight touchdown drives. This was only his second game at Iowa State.
But in the Cyclone’s win over 24-20 win over Connecticut, Jantz had three interceptions on his first four pass attempts. In that game, he suffered a sprained foot.
Although he limped off the field and it appeared that he was finished for the game, he led the team to a comeback victory over the Huskies with his fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Darius Reynolds.
“I haven’t missed anything,” Jantz said. “In practice I haven’t been running as much but not really missing anything.”
He said by Saturday, he will be 100 percent, and for the Longhorns, that could be a bad thing.
Published on September 30, 2011 as: Dual-threat Jantz leading Cyclone charge