As he’s been doing all spring long, Joel Lanning stole the headline for Saturday’s sun-drenched Iowa State spring game in Ames.
Lanning’s 37-yard pick-six interception return for a touchdown was the signature play of the annual public scrimmage in front of 10,000+ fans at Jack Trice Stadium. The ISU offense beat the defense, 50-44, using a custom scoring system devised for the game.
Mike Warren rushed for two touchdowns for the Cyclone offense while his competition for ISU’s feature running back position, David Montgomery, did not play.
But it was Lanning, the senior from Ankeny, who had the game’s biggest moment. Lanning’s quarterback-to-linebacker conversion has been the low-hanging fruit among I-State spring football storylines. And he capped off his ascension to the No. 1 MIKE linebacker position by snagging a deflected pass and sprinting to the north end zone at JTS, where he was mobbed by most of his white-jerseyed defensive teammates after the play.
Warren, a junior from Lawton, Oklahoma, found the end zone on a pair of runs for the red-clad offense. The first was a freelance effort where Warren started left, found no daylight, then doubled back to the right side of the field to improvise a 20-yard scoring jaunt. Later in the game, Warren plowed across the goal line on a three-yard run. He finished the game with 28 yards on four carries.
Quarterback Kyle Kempt scored the other offensive touchdown of the game on a two-yard touchdown run. The Iowa State offense did not have any touchdown passes in the scrimmage.
Sheldon Croney was the leading rusher for the Cyclone offense, netting 39 yards on 10 carries.
Jacob Park completed 7-of-12 passes for 97 yards and Kempt hit on 11-of-17 throws for 109 yards. They were the only two Iowa State quarterbacks to play in the game.
Denver Johnson was the leading receiver in the game for the I-State offense, catching four passes for 39 yards. Landen Akers caught three passes for 33 yards and Trever Ryen grabbed a pair of receptions for 30 yards. Carson Epps had two catches, including a nifty back shoulder grab for 23 yards, and Hakeem Butler also caught two passes on the day.
Defensively, linebackers Marcel Spears and Tymar Sutton and defensive back Mackenro Alexander were credited with six tackles each to lead the way in that department. Spears also registered a pair of touch sacks on protected QBs. Lanning had four tackles in the game.
Three Iowa State kickers were perfect in light duty on the day. Garrett Owens, a senior transfer from Oregon State, made a 42-yard field goal and hit 2-of-2 PATs. Chris Francis made a PAT and Connor Assalley hit a 45-yard field goal on the final play of the spring game.
Tim Heitman USA Today