Sophomore quarterback Jaran Roste dropped back to pass during the third quarter in a 13-point game on Tuesday night and scanned the field in front of him.
Everything was playing out perfectly. The offensive line gave him a clean pocket to throw from as the play developed down field. Roste released a deep ball down the right sideline that fell over the fingertips of a stretched out defender and into the arms of junior wide receiver Brayden Amundson.
Amundson knew what to do with it from there as he coasted 58 yards to the end zone. It was the third touchdown pass of the night for Roste and a ball that seemed to indicate the kind of confidence he is playing with right now through nine games as this team’s starting quarterback.
“I have a great offensive line,” Roste said. “They’re giving me protection and time in the run game. They’re giving me time in the passing game, so it’s hard to not be confident with those guys plowing the way up front. I think it’s them and then the wide receivers.”
Roste is a part of an offensive unit that was clicking in both phases against the Tigers. He threw for 142 yards and added touchdown throws to running back Justin Cumberbatch (15 yards) and tight end Travis Krueger (eight yards).
The Cardinals also controlled the ball on the ground with a combination of power and elusiveness. The line helped pave the way for 211 yards rushing against the Tigers as Cumberbatch powered his way to 130. Roste added 77 yards with touchdown runs of nine and 13 yards.
“Obviously, Justin, the threat of him running the ball,” Roste said of the ground success. “It’s easy to have some quarterback powers where I can keep it up the middle because the defense thinks it’s going to him. It opens up some big holes.”
The Cardinal coaches knew they had a lot of potential in Roste when they put him out there as a sophomore this season. It was a matter of getting comfortable on the varsity level, which is what he seems to be doing at the end of his first year as a starter.
“By the time it’s all said and done, he’s going to be a very good quarterback in our system here,” head coach Mike Empting said. “He’s really growing into the position. He’s growing into a leadership role out there, as well. We knew when we put him there that he had the physical tools. As he gains more confidence and develops that leadership role, he’s going to be more and more effective. I think that’s what we’re seeing him develop right now.”