NORMAN, Okla. | One quarterback seemed surprisingly confident after a 38-point loss.
The other, the one who scored his team’s sole touchdown, appeared worn down.
The two-quarterback system Iowa State used in a 48-10 loss on Saturday to No. 22 Oklahoma provided different looks on the field — and different tones off of it after the clock expired at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.
Iowa State starter Grant Rohach showed first-half flashes of the team’s most solid quarterback play of the season as the Cyclones grabbed an early lead.
“That two-quarterback system obviously worked (early),” said Rohach, a redshirt freshman. “Sam came in at a crucial time and scored. Nothing’s really bothering me with that … system.”
In the opening drives of the game, Rohach appeared calm and comfortable.
“With every rep, you gain confidence,” he said. “With every series, you gain even more confidence.”
Iowa State took the field with Rohach at quarterback, but used the former starter Richardson to finish the first scoring drive — a 4-yard run in the opening minute of the second quarter.
The season began with Richardson firmly entrenched under center.
After playing sparingly against the Sooners (three rushes, three passes), however, Richardson sounded as deflated as any point in his young Cyclone career.
“It’s frustrating standing on the sideline, to be honest,” said Richardson, a redshirt sophomore. “It’s definitely not something I want to do. That’s the option they think what’s going to give us the best opportunity to win — and that’s how it’s going right now.”
Quarterback shuffles are hardly rare in the Big 12 this season. When Kansas placed freshman Montell Cozart under center Saturday, it was the 19th different starter in the conference this fall.
Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said the combination of Rohach working most of the field and Richardson running near the goal line was part of the game plan.
Richardson was asked for thoughts about a multi-quarterback system as an option the rest of this season and beyond. Rhoads praised the arm strength of freshman quarterback Joel Lanning before the season — adding another potential 2014 contender.
“Got to be ready for any situation, I guess,” said Richardson, who continues to work through an injury to his throwing thumb. “It’s frustrating. Obviously, we want to be out there.
“Especially when we’re struggling, you feel like you can make a difference if you’re out there.”