AMES – Iowa State linebacker Joel Lanning saw a loose football on his own five-yard line after a bad handoff exchange between Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield and running back Trey Sermons.
He pounced on it, recovering the fumble, and changing the momentum of the game to Iowa State’s favor.
Lanning had one of the best and most unique days in college football history on Saturday when Iowa State upset No. 3 Oklahoma, 38-31, in Norman, Okla.
When it was announced that Jacob Park was going to miss some time due to some personal health problems, it was assumed that Lanning would play both ways. But no one knew to what extent and how well.
Lanning played all last season as a quarterback, passing for 1,290 yards and rushing for 518. He also ran for five touchdowns against Texas Tech last season.
In the offseason, Joel made the switch to middle linebacker, a position he hadn’t played since middle school.
The Ankeny native played 78 total snaps according to Iowa State football’s Twitter account – 57 on defense, 13 on offense and eight on special teams.
In those 13 offensive snaps, Lanning passed for 25 yards and rushed 35 yards, averaging 5.4 yards per play on offense. The senior also got a couple third-down conversions late in the game using a wildcat-type of formation.
On defense, the quarterback/linebacker hybrid had eight tackles, one sack and had the key fumble recovery to top it all off.
“I don’t know the right adjective to say about Joel Lanning,” Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said after the game. “I absolutely love him. I have two sons, I hope they both learn to love and play the game like Joel does. He’s a powerful, powerful young man in terms of his passion for both football and Iowa State.
“I can’t say enough about him.”
Lanning acted as a spy on Oklahoma’s Heisman candidate quarterback, Baker Mayfield throughout the game on defense. Mayfield still passed for 306 yards and two touchdowns, but down the stretch Lanning and the defense held him in check.
With Park’s timetable unclear, Iowa State will likely use Lanning as a two-way football player for the foreseeable future.
“Yeah, I mean definitely,” Lanning said when asked if he’ll continue to play both ways.
“They’re not asking much of me.”
Yeah, okay Joel.