Iowa State backup QB Tiller shines at Cyclones' scrimmage

April, 20, 2009
4/20/09
7:41
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Backup quarterback Jerome Tiller might have had the most impressive day of any Big 12 quarterback in Saturday scrimmages across the conference.

And apparently, Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said, it didn't significantly narrow the gap that starter Austen Arnaud has at the position.

Tiller completed 14 of 24 passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns and also scored on a 65-yard run in a strong performance to help lead the Gold (backups) to a 34-16 victory over the Cardinal (first string). The contest was set up where Arnaud played against the starting defense for the entire game and Tiller played against the backups.

Tiller struggled early, but bounced back after the lackluster start. He threw an interception on his second series and had two series of five plays or less before halftime.

Arnaud wasn't bad, as he completed 22 of 35 passes for 250 yards and a touchdown. And the fact he played against the starters was the reason why Rhoads still gives him the edge.

"When you pair them up athletically, Austen still has the edge right now," Rhoads said. "Still, there is no denying that there is something about a game that brings out the best in Jerome."

Other standouts included senior linebacker Jesse Smith, who returned an Arnaud interception 39 yards for a touchdown and notched a game-high nine tackles, and sophomore wide receiver Sedrick Johnson, who produced nine receptions for 100 yards for the Cardinal team.

"I was very pleased with the effort the kids expended today," Rhoads said. "I didn't see any loafing today. I never saw a lack of effort. These kids love this university and wearing the Cardinal and Gold."

About 8,000 fans turned out at Jack Trice Stadium for the scrimmage -- the first under Rhoads.

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