Richardson wasn't nearly so spectacular in losses to West Virginia and Tulsa to close out the season. But Iowa State's loss to the Mountaineers came on a day when extremely gusty wind made any type of pass a risk, and Richardson succumbed to the flu after completing six of his first seven passes in a 31-17 Liberty Bowl loss to the Golden Hurricane.
Richardson threw for eight TDs against just one pick and also ran for 233 yards, averaging a healthy 5.7 yards per carry.
'He was too scared to worry about anything other than the snap count. He's come a long ways, I'll just say it that way. And the biggest area of improvement, I think, is his leadership and his grasp and his understanding of what we're doing," Rhoads said.
Richardson's hold on the starting job was further solidified when Barnett transferred to Illinois State. He's now had a spring and fall camp working with the rest of the starters after watching Jantz and Barnett split those opportunities for two years.
Though Richardson is a rather soft-spoken underclassman, he said he's embraced the leadership role that every quarterback has to take.
"I've always been taught growing up to lead by example at first. And then, when you're leading, people kind of take that along with your words," Richardson said. "Being more vocal has just come naturally."
Rhoads, now in his fifth season, said earlier this month that the Cyclones feel as good about the quarterback position as they ever have heading into the season.
That's all because of Richardson, who has won over his teammates and coaches with his calm demeanor and ability to make plays.
"He's relaxed, he's poised out there, and a quarterback needs to be that type of guy. If you're going to throw accurate passes, if you're going to throw things on time, you're going to do it in that state. You're not going to do that tense," Rhoads said.
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