AMES, Iowa --- Iowa State offensive coordinator Courtney Messingham and Cyclone head coach Paul Rhoads talked glowingly about the depth the Cyclones had at wide receiver during the preseason.
Rhoads was so confident in his team’s depth at receiver, he said expected eight or more players would play significant snaps during the 2012 season.
“We have more dynamic receivers and playmakers at that position than we ever had,” added Messingham in August.
Those predications are finally starting to be seen on field for the Cyclones and it was no more evident than in ISU’s 35-21 win over Baylor last Saturday.
With leading receiver Aaron Horne suffering through an off day with numerous drops and senior Josh Lenz sidelined because of injury, third-string sophomore Jarvis West caught seven passes for 99 yards and three scores.
Tight end Ernst Brun had six catches for 76 yards, and Albert Gary hauled in five for 76 yards and a touchdown.
“We were happy for Jarvis. He kind of got down on himself in the middle of the year because he thought he wasn’t helping the team so much. He came through big today,” Young said of West after the Baylor victory.
“I think a lot of guys (receivers) have stepped up their play and it showed today,” added Young.
West, Brun and Gary were all either second or third-string at the start of the season.
That kind of production from back-ups was important to an ISU offense that ran a school record 102 plays against the Bears, gaining 557 yards.
“You got a chance with guys having an off day like Aaron was to still step and achieve as an offense,” Rhoads said. “That is exactly what happened.
“Jarvis had a career day with not only his first touchdown, but three altogether. Getting Josh Lenz back this week will be a shot in the arm for us and Quenton Bundrage starting to mature and improve and starting to show up is welcomed.”
While West had his first three touchdown catches of his career, it was the first of the season for Gary, as well.
Against Baylor, ISU’s starting wide receivers — Chris Young, Horne and Bundrage (Bundrage was starting in place of Lenz) had 12 catches for 94 yards, while the back-ups, including Brun at tight end, combined for 20 catches for 261 yards and four scores.
“We’re a confident group,” Bundrage said.
Despite his sub-par day against Baylor, Horne still leads ISU with 34 catches for 316 yards and two scores. Six other Cyclone receivers have 10 or more catches and six different receivers have at least one touchdown catch.
“We have a lot of weapons,” Bundrage said. “We have a lot of plays where we can switch different guys in and put them in for this play or that play. We don’t always have to go with a certain scheme because we have a lot of guys who can go out and make plays.”