Sep 15, 2018; Arlington, TX, USA; TCU Horned Frogs quarterback Shawn Robinson (3) runs the ball in the second quarter against the Ohio State Buckeyes at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports\
Over the last two weeks, Iowa State’s defensive discipline has been tested by the mobility of quarterbacks. First, it was Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray, one of the frontrunners for the Heisman Trophy. Second, it was Akron’s Kato Nelson, who scrambled his way to a net 56 yards rushing.
Entering this week’s game against TCU, the Cyclones are preparing for another test in the form of Horned Frogs signal-caller Shawn Robinson.
Robinson, a sophomore and former four-star recruit, has already compiled 176 yards rushing and three rushing touchdowns to go along with 841 yards and six scores through the air during his team’s first four games.
“We’ve certainly gotten a really good dose of it. You watch Shawn and you watch his ability and he certainly ranks right up there with the last two that we’ve played,” head coach Matt Campbell said on Monday’s Big 12 teleconference. “I think it’s a constant game of how can you continue to get better, especially as you continue to face guys that have the ability to not only run it but throw it. Certainly has been a great challenge on our defense and it will be another great challenge again this week.”
Robinson was very good during the Horned Frogs’ first two games of the season against Southern and SMU but has looked mistake-prone during the team’s losses to Ohio State and Texas. He threw two interceptions in each of the losses, including one that allowed Texas to open up an eight-point advantage that more or less gave the Longhorns complete control of the game.
Regardless, Robinson’s ability to keep plays alive and be dynamic with his legs will be another challenge for the Cyclones’ battle-tested defense.
“We’ve got to continue to find ways to be effective,” Campbell said. “It certainly has been good that we’ve had to play these kinds of challenges and we’ll certainly face some good ones coming up.”
*** Campbell was asked about Kyle Kempt‘s availability and when he is expected to return to the field for Iowa State. The Cyclones’ head coach said it should be sooner rather than later, but they’ll know more as the week goes along.
“Got a good report from where he was on Sunday. We’ll have a better understanding of how quick we could possibly see him based on Tuesday and we’ll kind of go from there once we get back out to practice… I think he’s a lot closer than (two or three weeks). But the validity of is it this week is it next week, when is it, is probably too hard to tell without us practicing. We’ll know a lot more on Tuesday.”
*** Campbell said Iowa State’s lack of success with finding the end zone after reaching the red zone can largely be attributed to game situations and lack of execution on second downs.
“I think a little bit too was the game situation. Even as you go back and you watch that from last week where you’re more than anything trying to get points on the board,” Campbell said. “The last one comes when you’re just trying to run the clock out. I think a little bit of it is what’s the game type? Obviously, some of those early in the game where we were able to get down there we did a great job of putting it in the end zone. The two where we end up kicking field goals, I think you are right. It’s doing a better job on second down putting ourselves in a better situation. I think that one thing that’s good to see is we are scoring points down there. I think that’s big for us right now and our confidence.”