Sep 16, 2017; Akron, OH, USA; Iowa State Cyclones quarterback Jacob Park (10) runs away from Akron Zips linebacker Josh Ward (52) in the fourth quarter at InfoCision Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports
AMES — There’s an “or” wedged between longtime starting quarterback Jacob Park and triumphant newcomer to the starting role Kyle Kempt.
What does the “or” mean? Likely that Kempt will start in Saturday’s 11 a.m. home game against Kansas while Park continues to sort out “personal health issues.”
“it’s exactly what we said last Friday and after the game on Saturday, so that will be kind of day to day,” Cyclones coach Matt Campbell said. “Once there’s news to address it, I’ll address it. But I think we’ve made our statement on that situation.”
Kempt went 18-of-24 for 343 yards and three touchdowns in ISU’s landmark 38-31 win at then-No. 3 Oklahoma on Saturday. They were the walk-on senior’s first meaningful snaps at the Division I level — and they elevated him to ‘hero’ status.
— CycloneFanatic.com (@cyclonefanatic) October 9, 2017
“Kyle really made some headway of getting the ball where it needed to be when it needed to be there,” Campbell said. “That was huge for our success.”
Campbell said Zeb Noland — who was listed as the backup to Park prior to Saturday’s win — continues to impress coaches, despite Kempt climbing past him on the depth chart.
“I don’t think Zeb really fell other then the fact that Zeb and Kyle have kind of both been getting the two reps,” Campbell said. “Just our demeanor of where we thought Kyle was. Zeb’s still a young guy and we all have a lot of confidence in him. Zeb’s just missed some time with that injury (last season) and is still kind of coming back. He’s certainly healthy now but I think you throw in experience, you throw in what you saw Saturday, what we saw as a staff. Zeb’s a great No. 2 right now and I think he’s always a fluid two. We’ve got great confidence in Zeb and know he’s only going to continue to get better.”
Campbell reiterated that Park remains part of the program.
“I don’t to go into it any more than that,” Campbell said. “Is he still a member of our team? Yes. Is he still around us? Yes. Any more than that, I don’t think it’s fair to him or for anybody else to go into it.”
HARVEY, GARCIA ON THE MEND
Campbell said linebacker Willie Harvey suffered a hamstring injury last Sunday and by Thursday it was clear he wouldn’t be able to play at Oklahoma. He’s recovering well, however.
“I’d say he’s probable (for Kansas), if I had to put a word to that,” Campbell said.
Offensive lineman Robby Garcia was injured during the win over the Sooners — and it appeared on TV to be a scary event until he returned late in the game. There’s good news on that front, too.
“Kind of an unsung here to be honest with you, to be able to gut it out and go back in there,” Campbell said. “It’s just an ankle sprain and really fortunate because if you look at it on tape, it looked bad, but a lot of credit to him to gut it out.”