AMES — Quenton Bundrage would love to tell you the key to his game, why he was able to make play after play against the Iowa defense in the second half in last Saturday’s 27-21 loss.
But he can’t. There is nothing to it. Nothing at all.
When Bundrage plays at his best, he reacts, there isn’t a single thought going through his head.
“I wasn’t thinking about anything,” Bundrage said. “I was just running.”
Bundrage hauled in seven receptions for 146 yards and three touchdowns against Iowa. One way for an ISU offense that’s waiting for a breakout is to keep letting Bundrage do nothing.
“He is the No. 1 guy there at outside receiver,” quarterback Sam Richardson said.
To the coaching staff, it was only a matter of time before Bundrage, a redshirt sophomore, put together this type of performance. His 6-foot-2, 189-pound frame, athleticism, hands and jumping ability give him a skill set most ISU receivers don’t possess.
When coach Paul Rhoads saw Bundrage’s stat line, he commented that it was something he could get used to seeing.
So could Bundrage.
“I have to be consistent with my play,” Bundrage said. “I just can’t have one good game and the next game I drop a pass. I have to bring the same ‘A’ game every time we play.”
Bundrage’s mind wasn’t so quiet a year ago. He was still learning the playbook. At times, he was trying to figure out what he was doing while running a route.
“I second-guessed myself a lot,” Bundrage said. “Sometimes I ran the wrong routes and messed plays up.”
With his mind clear, he’s able to do more. Just take the 67-yard curl he turned into a touchdown against Iowa. Bundrage ran the route in practice last week. Rhoads took him aside and passed on a tip for refining the technique. Rhoads thought it helped Bundrage get to the end zone. Breaking a tackle when he caught the football was also a big factor in the play.
But for Rhoads, making the adjustment was just as important.
“At this point, he’s taking that coaching and he applies it as opposed to a guy looking at you, hearing what you are saying and walking away and not being able to go out and apply it because they don’t have the maturity yet,” Rhoads said. “That is where Quenton has progressed.”
The Cyclones know Bundrage will try to contain him going forward. It’s the nature of the game. It’s also on ISU to adjust.
After all, Rhoads wants those gaudy stat lines to keep coming in.
“If you are going to have 22 completions like we did on Saturday night and (22) in the first game, you are going to spread it out, but somebody is going to have more than other folks,” Rhoads said. “We’d like it to be him, and by playcalling and with him being the route that is targeted, you up those numbers.”
For more from Bobby La Gesse, especially on Iowa State football, check out his blog, The Blind-Side Blitz, on the Ames Tribune website at http://amestrib.com/blog/the-blind-side-blitz
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