AKRON, Ohio (AP) — With his long hair, full beard and lanky build, Jacob Park looks more like a rock star than a quarterback. He was both on Saturday afternoon.
Park passed for 317 yards and two touchdowns, including a 43-yarder to Marchie Murdock, as Iowa State pulled away in the second half for a 41-14 victory over Akron.
The 6-foot-4, 210-pound junior completed 24 of 33 throws without an interception and also scored on a 14-yard run for the Cyclones (2-1), who equaled a school record by topping 40 points for the third straight game to start the season.
“Jacob is just so wild out there, but that’s his way of playing,” said wide receiver Allen Lazard, who caught a 7-yard TD from Park. “Even when he’s running around and is off-balance, he just throws the ball around and is having fun.”
Park offered no excuses for his freewheeling style, which allowed him to make the key play of the game after Akron (1-2) had trimmed Iowa State’s lead to 20-14. He used a spin-move to elude a defender then sprinted to his right before hitting Murdock in stride over the middle for the TD that deflated the Zips’ dreams of an upset.
“Jacob is a different cat,” Murdock said, chuckling. “It shocked me when I got the ball because I was on the back side of the play and he was still running, but he put it right on the money. That was a tough play, and to his credit, he made it easy for me.”
Sophomore David Montgomery rushed for 127 yards and a score as the Cyclones set a school mark by gaining 400 yards for the sixth game in a row.
The Cyclones outgained Akron 170-45 in the first quarter, but lost their mojo after taking a 14-0 lead. Once the third period began, they rode Park and Montgomery, who combined for nine consecutive touches totaling 87 yards. The strategy was sound and kept the Zips guessing. “I thought it was great the way we fought back after halftime, but we must get better,” Campbell said.
Linebacker Joel Lanning, who started 14 games at quarterback over the last three seasons before being replaced by Park to start this season, recorded his first career interception and sack. He had a team-high eight tackles.
Park has thrown for more than 200 yards in the last six games and over 300 in three of the last four but insists that his team can be better.
“We should be scoring 50 or 60 a game because we’ve left points on the table by shooting ourselves in the foot a lot,” Park said. “If we play like this against Texas, we lose. That was (coach Matt) Campbell’s point to everyone.
“But that’s why I love this place. You’ve got to earn everything. It was fun today.”
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