- Associated Press - Saturday, October 11, 2014

AMES, Iowa (AP) - A break from Big 12 play was just what Iowa State needed.

That and a career day from quarterback Sam Richardson.

Richardson threw for a career-high 351 yards and three second-half touchdowns Saturday, rallying Iowa State to a 37-30 victory over Toledo - just the second victory for the Cyclones in their last 12 home games.

Unable to finish drives in the first half, Richardson and the offense got rolling in the second and gave the Cyclones (2-4) a much needed victory after opening conference play with losses to three ranked teams.

“It was long overdue,” Richardson said. “I’m not satisfied, though. We definitely left some points out there. Going 0-for-3 in the red zone and kicking field goals, we’ve got to work on that.”

Toledo (4-2), which had a three-game winning streak broken, rushed for 236 yards and pulled into a 23-23 tie in the fourth quarter. But the Cyclones took the lead on Richardson’s 5-yard TD pass to E.J. Bibbs, who powered his way through three defenders, and secured the victory with a 16-play, 85-yard drive that Richardson finished with a 14-yard scoring pass to Alan Lazard, making it 37-23.

Richardson finished with a school-record 37 completions in 53 attempts and connected with nine different receivers, including a lineman.

“Sam made a lot of plays,” Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said. “He was very productive. When you start to mature like he is now, you do that. You make smart plays.”

Toledo drew to within a touchdown on Logan Woodside’s 4-yard TD pass to Marc Remy with 56 seconds left. But Iowa State’s Luke Knott recovered an onside kick and the Cyclones ran out the clock.

The back-and-forth game wasn’t unexpected. Toledo came in averaging 516 yards a game - 17th nationally - but the Rockets were giving up 326 yards a game passing, and Richardson’s receivers found plenty of space in the secondary.

Lazard, a freshman, had season bests of eight catches for 96 yards. D’Vario Montgomery caught nine balls for 90 yards, both career bests. Montgomery, a sophomore, caught only three passes in the first five games.

“Anytime you get a win, you’re happy,” Lazard said. “But knowing that we made plays to help us win makes it even better.”

Richardson’s previous best had been 262 yards against Texas last year. The old school record for completions was 36, shared by Austen Arnaud and Steele Jantz.

Toledo played its third straight game without running back Kareem Hunt, who leads the nation with 8.9 yards a carry. The Rockets got 124 yards in 17 carries and two touchdowns from freshman Terry Swanson, but he was held to 18 yards on five second-half rushes.

“We have to learn how to finish,” said Toledo’s Corey Jones, who caught a career-best 12 passes for 118 yards. “There were some plays in the red zone where we kicked field goals and I believe that we should have scored. That was it right there, just finishing in the red zone.”

Swanson’s 1-yard touchdown dive and Jeremiah Detmer’s 41-yard field goal, his third of the game, pulled Toledo into the tie at 23 early in the fourth quarter after Iowa State had built a 10-point lead with two crisp drives to open the second half, when the Cyclones changed to a faster tempo.

With the Cyclones trailing 13-9, Richardson hit Tad Ecby with a perfectly thrown 23-yard pass to the end zone. Iowa State’s defense forced a quick three-and-out and the offense responded again, moving 65 yards in 10 plays to go up 23-13.

The officials ruled Richardson had scored on a 3-yard run, but the call was reversed on review, the replay showing his knee was down just inside the 1. It became moot when Martinez Syria stormed into the end zone on the next play.

“The first half we were getting in places where we were waiting for them to set up on defense,” Richardson said. “I told the coaches, ‘We need to go. We need to go fast, not give them time to set up.’ That paid off.”

Iowa State put together good drives on three of its four first-half possessions, but couldn’t finish any of them and had to settle for Cole Netten field goals of 32, 36 and 37 yards.

The 36-yarder put ISU up 6-3 and came after the Cyclones marched to a first-and-goal at the 3, only to be set back by Richardson’s 3-yard loss on a keeper, an incompletion and a pass that guard Daniel Burton caught, resulting in a 12-yard loss.

Toledo answered with its best drive of the half. The Rockets went 4-for-4 on third-down conversions during a 14-play, 75-yard drive that ended when Swanson weaved 14 yards through the defense and leaped into the end zone.

“They gave us our running game,” Toledo coach Matt Campbell said. “In a game like that, you really have to take what they give you. I thought we did that really well. I don’t think we ever panicked in the game. I don’t think we allowed many big plays, so I think we did a good job of taking what they gave us.”

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