Notebook: Campbell talks quarterbacks, Big 12 play

Quarterback Kyle Kempt (left) and quarterback Zeb Noland (right) talk before the game against University of Akron during their game at Jack Trice Stadium on Sept. 22. Kempt didn’t place in this game due to an injury.

Aaron Marner

Following Iowa State’s 26-13 win over Akron on Saturday, Iowa State coach Matt Campbell conducted his weekly media teleconference and discussed everything from the Cyclones’ quarterbacks to their upcoming opponent, the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs.

Kempt still battling back

Iowa State has been dealing with backup quarterbacks for much of the last decade. It’s rare for the Cyclones to go a full season without playing a backup quarterback at least part of the season, due to injuries, suspensions and the team’s performance.

Redshirt senior Kyle Kempt was the latest starting quarterback at Iowa State to face the repercussions of this trend when he hurt his MCL against Iowa in the season opener.

“We got a good report from where he was on Sunday,” Campbell said. “We’ll have a better understanding of how quick we could possibly see him based on Tuesday.”

Campbell wouldn’t give a firm timeline but said Kempt could be back within two weeks.

In the meantime, redshirt sophomore Zeb Noland has performed well as a step-in. He won his second game in three career starts against Akron and was accurate, connecting on 26 of his 34 pass attempts while avoiding turnovers.

The Cyclones also mixed in freshman quarterback Brock Purdy for two plays. Purdy didn’t attempt a pass, but ran the ball one time for a 1-yard loss.

Cyclones working to avoid third down problems

Iowa State struggled on third-down situations against Akron, converting on only six of their 16 attempts.

This resulted in more punts and field goals. Sophomore kicker Connor Assalley drilled all four of his field goal attempts, but as Noland pointed out after the game, it’s not easy to score points when you’re facing third-and-long situations.

“I think a little bit too was game situation,” Campbell said. “You go back and you watch that from last week, you’re more than anything trying to get points on the board.”

Campbell also said the last field goal came when Iowa State was trying to run out the clock and was unable to pick up a first down, leaving little choice on fourth down.

“One thing that’s good to see is we are scoring points down there,” Campbell said. “I think that’s big for us right now and our confidence.”

Redshirt rule helps Iowa State newcomers

A new rule in college football this year allows players the ability to participate in up to four games per season without having that season count toward their eligibility.

While Iowa State hasn’t utilized too many players in that scenario yet, Campbell may have provided a window against Akron about who will get action in those games.

Barring injury, it seems unlikely that Purdy will play in more than four games this season, given Noland’s play as the starter and the upcoming return of Kempt. That means Purdy could still redshirt and enter next season with four years of eligibility remaining.

“I don’t know if much has changed in terms of how we go about redshirt or not redshirting,” Campbell said. “We’re in a really good spot in year three where you’ve got to earn the right to play. If you can help us, we’re gonna try to put you in a situation to do so.”

Campbell said the rule adds flexibility and helps put players and coaches in a better position to see who is ready right away and who’s not.

“I certainly like the rule, and it’s something we’ve used to our benefit already,” Campbell said.