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Players to Watch at TCU: All About The QBs

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Joel Lanning and Jacob Park are this week’s players to watch.

NCAA Football: Northern Iowa at Iowa State Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

There wasn’t a whole lot of positives coming out of the Cy-Hawk game. Allen Lazard played well. And... well, the rest was pretty brutal. But we got our first look at Jacob Park, as he replaced Joel Lanning down the stretch of a game that was already over. Let’s take a look at their stat lines:

Joel Lanning: 8-for-20, 86 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT, 12.6 QBR.

Jacob Park: 6-for-15, 79 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs, 45.6 QBR.

It’s hard to compare the two, as Park was playing in garbage time. And there are plenty of other factors. Nothing went right against Iowa, so it’s not surprising that the QB stat lines don’t look great. But Matt Campbell seemed to open up the QB competition for this week, and while Lanning is listed as the starter still, that could change and it’s likely that we’ll see both QBs against the Horned Frogs, so that’s where all the attention will be this weekend.

TCU is a heavy favorite and after last weekend’s thrashing, I think most realistic Iowa State fans just want to keep it respectable. The Matt Campbell era is off to a rough start, which we probably should’ve expected, but improvement is the name of the game this season. The Clones are in complete rebuild mode, so it only makes sense to figure out who the QB of the future is going to be.

We’re much more familiar with Lanning, as he’s been the starter before, so most eyes will be on Park, the newbie and former 4-star recruit. His 6-for-15 stat line didn’t exactly impress, but he’s grabbed plenty of interest with his big arm. He looks confident in the pocket and he’s not afraid to sling the ball around. Of course, his team was already down by a hundred (approximately), so that loosens things up a bit. It’ll be interesting to see if anything changes when he gets more meaningful snaps.

For what it’s worth, we’ve seen Lanning play well at times. His touchdown throws against UNI were things of beauty, but he also missed some big throws. His accuracy leaves a lot to be desired, but there’s something to be said about his leadership. He’s been around the team for a long time and he’s a captain. That’s worth something, especially when it comes to holding together a locker room that could be staring at an 0-3 record.

The quarterback play will be the biggest focus going into the TCU game, but will it even matter? Both guys will be playing with the same struggling offensive line and a run game that just isn’t working. TCU is a huge favorite and winning seems like too tall of a task. At this point it’s more about who can be the better playmaker with the pieces Iowa State has this season, and who’s going to put the team in the best position for wins this season and into the future.

As a positive, though, TCU’s defense has given up 40-plus to both of their opponents this season, one of which was South Dakota State. We aren’t talking about a particularly strong defense, so Lanning and Park should have some opportunities to poke some holes into the TCU defense and get some points on the board.

I don’t expect a win, but I expect a better idea of who will be the QB of the future after this weekend, and that’s why all eyes should be on Lanning and Park Saturday morning.