Inside Slant

The Sports Xchange

October 09, 2018 at 7:49 pm.

Iowa State has plenty of QB options

If you thought an upset of No. 21 Oklahoma State would finally bring some stability to the quarterback position at Iowa State this season … think again.

True freshman Brock Purdy came in off the bench in the first quarter for Zeb Noland and led the Cyclones to the 48-42 victory over the Cowboys. Early indications are that he’ll start on Saturday against No. 6 West Virginia. But senior Kyle Kempt is getting closer to being ready to return, and if he’s judged able to handle the starter’s workload, the coaching staff indicated on Monday that he would get the nod instead.

Regardless, it shows just how fleeting the “quarterback of the future” tag is in Ames.

Sophomore Zeb Noland was that guy entering the week, but Purdy entered on the game’s second possession last week and threw for 318 yards and four touchdowns, while running for 84 yards and another score. Kempt entered the season as the starter only after unexpectedly winning the job from Jacob Park last year, who in turn took the job from Joel Lanning as Lanning transitioned to linebacker.

Not exactly a position of stability, but — with brief hiccups, like the one the team experienced early this season — a productive one.

Remarkably, this doesn’t appear to be affecting the relationships between the quarterbacks. Kempt and Purdy walked off the field together last Saturday, and Noland has been publicly supportive of the freshman as well. Considering the Cyclones started the season 0-3, it’s remarkable to have avoided friction at such a key spot.

There’s no rest for the weary, however — or at least none until after this weekend when the Cyclones have their bye week. West Virginia will present an even tougher challenge than Oklahoma State did, led by its Heisman hopeful quarterback Will Grier.

But October may be a charmed month for the Cyclones. The team now is 5-0 in October games over the past two seasons, and three of the wins have come against ranked opponents. And Grier is coming off a week where he threw three interceptions in the red zone and didn’t have a ton of time to throw. For an opportunistic defense, and a team that tends to play its best against top opponents, this may be a recipe for another upset.

Assuming Purdy can do it again, that is.