AMES - After a spring's worth of practice, the Iowa State quarterback competition looks a whole lot like the one the Cyclones had when they left Yankee Stadium in December.
Both Jared Barnett and Steele Jantz had middling performances in the annual ISU spring football game Saturday at Jack Trice Stadium.
Iowa State defensive end Cleyon Laing, right, tackles running back James White during the second quarter of the Cyclones’ spring game on Saturday in Ames.
Head coach Paul Rhoads had little intention of naming a starting QB after spring camp concluded, and, if this day's performance was any indication, his pair of top candidates didn't tempt him into making an early decision.
Barnett was 11-of-21 with two interceptions and 67 yards while Jantz was 16-of-28 with one pick and 194 yards.
It was those three turnovers that came late in the first half of the Cardinal team's 13-7 triumph over Gold that colored the afternoon for Rhoads' evaluation of the quarterback competition.
Cardinal 13, Gold 7
GOLD 0 7 0 0 - 7
CARDINAL 0 13 0 0 - 13
CARD - FG Arceo 24, 14:06
CARD - FG Arceo 21, 11:26.
GOLD - Klein 94 interception return (Moore kick), 3:35.
CARD - Ecby 6 pass from Richardson (Moore kick), :21.
RUSHING - GOLD: Standard 5-18, White 1-15, Nealy 2-8, Leo 3-8, Woody 3-5, Young 1-2, Gent 1-1, Barnett 1-(minus 4), Horbach 2-(minus 7), Richardson 6-(minus 15), Jantz 5-(minus 31); CARD: Barnett 10-59, Woody 5-30, Nealy 7-17, Jantz 3-8, Richardson 4-8, White 6-7, Doyle 1-(minus 10).
PASSING - GOLD: Jantz 10-14-0-100, Richardson 5-8-0-65, Gent 3-5-0-19, Barnett 1-3-1-6, Horbach 1-1-0-8; CARD: Barnett 10-18-1-61, Richardson 9-16-1-82, Jantz 6-14-1-94, Doyle 3-3-0-20.
RECEIVING - GOLD: Tiller 3-32, Daniels 3-30, Dinkins 3-22, Richardson 2-26, Medders 2-12, West 1-17, Howard 1-15, Coleman 1-14, Ecby 1-11, Young 1-8, Bundrage 1-6, White 1-5; CARD: Lenz 7-98, Young 4-44, Ecby 4-22, West 3-17, Daniels 3-16, Tiller 2-12, Leo 1-15, Brun 1-11, Nealy 1-10, Coleman 1-7, White 1-5.
TACKLES - GOLD: Stoakes 5 solo, Richardson 4 solo-1 assist, Morton 4 solo-1 assist, Miller 2 solo-3 assist; CARD: George 3 solo-2 assist.
SACKS - GOLD: Broomfield, Morrissey, Nelson, Kron; CARD: George, McCaffery, Morrissey, Goodson, Kron, Klein, Irving, Scott.
"It's largely influenced by that at the end of the first half with those turnovers," said Rhoads, who led ISU to the Pinstripe Bowl in New York in a 6-7 season last year.
"I shouldn't let those turnovers completely influence me," he added, "but (Jantz and Barnett) didn't show up like they have in probably the last four to six practices."
Jantz's highlight of the day came on a 56-yard connection with senior wideout Josh Lenz while Barnett showed some elusiveness in rushing for 55 yards.
The California native Jantz is in his second spring with ISU after transferring from community college last winter.
He won the starting job out of fall camp only to give it over to Barnett due to injury and ineffectiveness before Barnett was pulled during the bowl game to create the spring uncertainness.
"It was good to be healthy. It was fun," said Jantz. "Last year, it was hard and I was learning and this year it was a lot of fun. It went by really fast. It was a good spring ball."
Barnett and Jantz will enter August as the frontrunners for the job while redshirt freshman Sam Richardson remains a darkhorse candidate.
"Jared and Steele are clearly ahead of Sam," Rhoads said of Richardson, who scored the day's only offensive touchdown with his 6-yard pass to Tad Ecby.
Whoever ends up throwing passes for ISU in the fall looks to have an improved wide receiving corps to work with.
Lenz finished with seven catches and 98 yards to headline a group that flashed some potential.
"That group has really progressed under (wide receivers coach Todd Sturdy's) leadership," Rhoads said.
Former quarterback Jerome Tiller joins that group this year as well.
The Texas native showed some aptitude for the job with five catches on the day.
"It's a pretty smooth transition," said Tiller, who was academically ineligible last season. "Just getting off the ball, releases, maintaining position, I've gotten really (better) at. Those are the things I made strides in the most."
While the offense will garner the most attention thanks to the question at quarterback, ISU's defense looked impressive forcing four turnovers, including an interception from A.J. Klein that he returned 94 yards for a touchdown.
The senior all-Big 12 linebacker from Wisconsin is ISU's all-time leader with three touchdowns returned for interceptions in his career.
"As spring ball usually goes, it's cyclical and the defense was due for a better day and they responded," said Rhoads.
Local trio make appearance
Three former area prep players saw some action at Jack Trice Stadium.
Quarterback Brandon Horbach, a South Tama graduate, competed his only pass attempt of the day for eight yards while West Marshall grads Drake Ferch and Kody Sjoblom saw time on the defensive side of the ball.
Ferch made one solo tackle on the afternoon from his safety position.