Amidst the beginning wave of early departures for the NFL, Iowa State has staved of attrition on that front.
In a missive posted to his personal Twitter account, Allen Lazard announced that, “after discussing my options with my family and coaching staff, I have decided to return for my senior year.” His reasoning for eschewing the NFL for another year? “”I feel we’re on the verge of something special here and I want to be along for the ride.”
The move doesn’t come as too much of a surprise as the 6-5, 233-pound wide receiver had indicated earlier in the season that he was leaning toward returning.
After finishing second his freshman season, Lazard has led the Cyclones in receiving each of the past two seasons. This past season in particular, Lazard was the primary focus of ISU’s passing attack. Lazard’s 69 receptions for 1,018 yards was far and away tops on the team. Next up? The 37 catches from Deshaunte Jones and Trever Ryen, and Jones’ 536 yards.
ISU went 3-9 in Matt Campbell‘s first season in Ames. This marks the fourth consecutive season in which the Cyclones have failed to reach a bowl game.
Not surprisingly, the revival of the the Big 12 championship game will take place in a Lone Star State football palace.
Friday morning, the Big 12 announced that AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, has won the bid to host the league’s title game beginning in 2017. The home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys will also host the game from 2018-2021.
Kansas City and San Antonio had bid on hosting the game.
“There is great anticipation with the return of the Big 12 Football Championship and we look forward to hosting the event in AT&T Stadium for the next five years,” said commissioner Bob Bowlsby. “The building is a state of the art facility and offers many amenities that will be enjoyed by our institutions and fans.”
The same stadium had played host to the last two Big 12 championship games in 2009 and 2010 before it was abandoned amidst conference expansion. Kansas City was the host five times (2008, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2000) and San Antonio three times (2007, 1999, 1997).
It was announced in June of this year that the title game would return for the 2017 season. Last month, it was confirmed that he teams with the best and second-best record in conference play will square off in the championship game instead of splitting the league into two divisions.
Winds from the hurricane that swept Tim Beckman out of town at Illinois have blown onto campus at Iowa State.
Former Illini assistant coach and current Iowa State tight ends coach Alex Golesh has been accused of forcing former offensive lineman Anthony Durkin to play through a known shoulder injury, eventually leading to a dislocated shoulder in August of 2014, and eventually forcing Durkin to sign a waiver releasing himself from his scholarship — which would absolve Illinois from paying for Durkin’s ensuing shoulder surgery.
Durkin has filed a lawsuit stating Beckman and Golesh were negligent in knowingly forcing him to play injured, which will lead to shoulder issues that will “occur for the rest of his life.”
Golesh’s current boss says he knows all about the supposed issues at his former employer and says there’s nothing to them.
“Any of that information is not new information to my knowledge,” Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell told the Iowa State Daily. “All I mean by that is when we hired coach Golesh, all of those situations had been vetted the University of Illinois — the entire staff, all the team doctors, everybody had been vetted in a thorough investigation.
“We had detailed everything before we hired coach Golesh to make sure we were doing the right thing there. Our information back from the University of Illinois is they never would’ve kept him on staff and he would not have been retain had he been involved with any investigation or any issues there.”
Beckman was fired shortly before the 2015 season. Golesh worked at Illinois from 2012-15 before reuniting with Campbell in Ames, for whom he worked under at Toledo from 2009-11.
Oklahoma entered Thursday night with a 17 game win streak against Iowa State and had never lost at Jack Trice Stadium.
The Cyclones, meanwhile, had been one of the more dangerous teams late in the season — despite their record — and had a habit of upsetting highly ranked teams in Ames late in the year.
While it looked at times like the home team was threatening to pull a wild Big 12 upset, they ended up becoming the latest victim of Baker Mayfield and a potent Sooners offense 34-24.
The quarterback threw for 328 yards and four touchdowns (along with an interception) in yet another efficient performance to keep Oklahoma’s record perfect in conference play. There was a lot resting on the shoulders of the signal-caller as the result of the team’s top two tailbacks both being out (Joe Mixon because of a suspension, Samaje Perine due to injury) but he did more than enough through the air with his arm and by using his feet to escape some constant defensive pressure.
Receiver Dede Westbrook had yet another big outing, continuing his stellar play with a 131 yard, one touchdown night. Fullback Dimitri Flowers led Oklahoma in rushing with 115 tough yards while freshman tailback Abdul Adams chipped in with 54 yards in limited work.
Iowa State knew what it was like to be without their starting running back as Mike Warren did not play after dealing with an injury. Backup quarterback Joel Lanning was the team’s only big rushing threat (61 yards, one score) while quarterback Jacob Park threw two touchdown passes but couldn’t find the end zone enough to pull off the upset.
The win wasn’t the most impressive of the year by Oklahoma by any stretch but better teams have fallen to ISU in similar spots. The victory keeps them atop the Big 12 standings and gives them a little extra rest as the prepare to host Baylor in a big game next week.
Iowa State has been known to surprise ranked Big 12 teams at home when the weather starts to get a little chilly and the Cyclones are at least hanging around against a big time opponent in the first half.
No. 14 Oklahoma jumped out to an early lead and held onto it against a pesky Cyclones offense to head to the locker room up 28-17 after two quarters.
Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield was naturally the focal point of his offense with tailbacks Joe Mixon (suspension) and Samaje Perine (injury) both not playing in the game, throwing four touchdowns and 244 yards to balance out an interception. Freshman Abdul Adams led the team in rushing with 54 yards on five carries after getting the start in the backfield.
Wideout Dede Westbrook was having a pretty quiet night until the final few minutes of the second quarter when he did what he has been doing to every Big 12 defense this season by hauling in a 65 yard touchdown pass to keep Oklahoma in the lead.
The Iowa State offense did take advantage of solid starting field position most of the half and were able to move the ball behind starting signal-caller Jacob Park. Receiver Allen Lazard is already up to 66 yards and a touchdown on the game while backup quarterback Joel Lanning briefly gave the team a lead with a 41 yard run that came on fourth down.
It should make for a fun second half with Oklahoma a little short-handed but needing style points for the College Football Playoff Selection Committee and Iowa State focused on another late season upset as they get the ball to start the third quarter.