Sam Richardson has had a fascinating run as starting quarterback for the Iowa State football team. If you looked strictly at his numbers in each game he’s taken the bulk of the snaps, you would think his team would have at least a .500 record. Really, the only games you’d assume the Cyclones flat out lost would be the Liberty Bowl, when he was weakened by the flu, and last week’s Texas Tech game. What’s more remarkable is that he’s only been truly healthy for two of those games: His spectacular off-the-bench debut at Kansas last season and the following week’s game against West Virginia. His illness before the Liberty Bowl and his ankle injury in this season’s opener against Northern Iowa have hampered his progress but he’s still managed to be a solid starter in pretty much every game he’s played. Sure, he could be better. I’m certain the coaches could tell you several ways Richardson could improve his game. However, you can’t ask for much more in the way of toughness. He’s answered the bell all season, despite getting beat up thanks to a patchwork offensive line. So why so many losses? Well, there was the lack of running game in the Cyclones first two outings. There was that whole getting-hosed-by-the-refs thing against Texas. Plus, sometimes the defense needs to step up and not give up 200+ rushing yards to a pass-happy Texas Tech. Anyway, if there’s one reason to believe the Cyclones can turn things around and get a few wins to at least make this season at least look respectable, it would be Sam Richardson. And he’s only a sophomore.