Notebook: Sam Ehlinger, the Cyclones’ David Montgomery strategy and a Datrone Young update

Iowa State defensive back Datrone Young will be one of Iowa State’s corners, who are tasked with replacing the graduated Brian Peavy and D’Andre Payne.

Noah Rohlfing

The Cyclones are preparing for a clash with No. 13 Texas which will help decide whether or not Iowa State has a chance at making the Big 12 Championship. 

Here are some notes from Tuesday’s press availability. 

Ehlinger strategy

Texas’ quarterback reminds Campbell of the last signal-caller Iowa State faced, Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer.

“His growth has been a lot of what you hope to see in a guy like Brock [Purdy],” Campbell said of Ehlinger. “He’s owning the offense, he knows where to go with the football.”

In reality, though, Ehlinger is a much more physical presence than Brewer. Ehlinger is third on the Longhorns in rushing with 343 net yards, and over the season Texas has become more comfortable when using him in the passing game. In his most recent outing, he threw for 312 yards and four touchdowns — including the game winner to All-Name candidate Lil’Jordan Humphrey — against Texas Tech.

Ehlingers numbers sit at 20 touchdowns and two interceptions on 2,483 yards passing with a 64.26 percent completion percentage. In the past two games, Ehlinger has thrown for 666 yards, seven touchdowns and no turnovers. In fact, Ehlinger hasn’t thrown a pick since the Longhorns’ season-opening loss to Maryland.

Iowa State’s defense was gashed for 300-plus passing yards by the Bears last weekend, so the Cyclone defense will have to be at the top of its game to slow down the Longhorns’ rising star at QB.

Playing without David

As everyone knows by now, junior running back David Montgomery has been suspended for the first half of the Texas game following his ejection for fighting in the third quarter of the Baylor game.

The Cyclones will not appeal the suspension, as Campbell said “we’re not going to appeal something that happened.”

The question then becomes, how does Iowa State cope offensively? Redshirt sophomore Kene Nwuangwu said the whole offense has to step up for Montgomery.

“Just like how our team leans on [David], I feel like, as a group, they can lean on us, because we’re going to do what we have to do to win the game,” Nwuangwu said.

A possible solution would be running the ball more with Brock Purdy, as many outlets have pointed out. His running ability has complicated things for opposing defenses since his arrival on the scene in the Oklahoma State game, and he added 65 yards on the ground against Baylor. Texas gives up 144 rush yards per contest.

Datrone Young’s health

The redshirt freshman defensive back has played a big role in the Cyclones being able to mix up their secondary personnel. He missed the Baylor game with a shoulder injury sustained against Kansas, and Campbell said Young was “doing better” Tuesday.

“He certainly has improved drastically from where he was last week at this time,” Campbell said. “I think we’ll all have a better idea starting today at practice.”

In place of Young, true freshman Anthony Johnson started opposite Brian Peavy against Baylor, with Arnold Azunna and De’Monte Ruth also taking snaps at the position. D’Andre Payne, Greg Eisworth, Lawrence White and Braxton Lewis handled the snaps at safety.

If Young isn’t healthy enough to come back in Austin, then expect the same rotation.