By Rob Gray
AMES — Coaches implore their players to stay on an even keel, never too high, never too low.
Last week, that was impossible for Iowa State wide receiver Albert Gary.
On Monday, Nov. 15, he spent some time in jail — Gary’s alleged to have committed first-degree robbery during a June 19 incident involving pellet guns — until being bonded out.
On Friday, he made the biggest catch of his life in what Cyclone coach Paul Rhoads termed a “monumental win” in double overtime over then-No. 2 Oklahoma State.
“I just give all the thanks to God. I pray to him every night about the situation,” Gary, who already has served a three-game suspension, said after the game. “I want to thank my mom, my parents, the coaches. They’re backing me up 100 percent.”
Gary’s sliding seven-yard touchdown catch courtesy of ISU quarterback Jared Barnett positioned his team for a tie with the Cowboys, 24-24, with 5:30 left.
He led the Cyclones with seven grabs for 109 yards and the best may yet be on the horizon for the sophomore from Ocala, Fla. — legal issues aside.
“In a scenario like that, you expect a guy to fail,” Rhoads said. “You really do. What can a young man of that age — how much can he handle on his shoulders — and what can he go out and do? For him to have the number of catches he did and the big catch at the end, I think, says a lot about his character and who he is. I’ll just leave it at that.”
Rhoads informed the media of Gary’s legal situation earlier on Nov. 15.
He said the three-game suspension had already occurred and that Gary would play on Friday, which he did.
“We will continue to allow the legal process to work and continue to cooperate fully as we move forward,” Rhoads said that Monday.
Gary’s first chance to contribute against the Cowboys came on the Cyclones’ first play from scrimmage.
Barnett found him about 20 yards downfield.
Gary dropped the pass.
From there on, he shined.
“I was excited for him,” said fellow receiver Aaron Horne, who made five catches for 65 yards. “It’s kind of crazy seeing all the adversity he was going through that week and to come back and play a great game on top of that? I was proud of him.”
Gary’s catch of the late fourth quarter touchdown pass from Barnett, snared inches from the turf, also earned high marks.
“I knew there was only one spot I could put it because the linebacker was there,” Barnett said. “I had full faith that he would go down and get it. It was a great catch.”
RECRUIT: ISU netted its first post-Oklahoma State buzz win commitment Tuesday. It’s 6-3, 175-pound wide receiver Dondre Daley of Tarpon Springs, Fla.