Kempt injury salt in wound for Cyclones

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON - Iowa State quarterback Kyle Kempt (17) is brought down by a host of Iowa defenders during the third quarter of Saturday’s Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series showdown at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City. Kempt was injured on the play.

IOWA CITY — Iowa State football knows what it means to add insult to injury. If it wasn’t enough for the Cyclones to start the season with a rain cancellation against South Dakota State and a 13-3 loss to Iowa, starting quarterback Kyle Kempt was also injured in the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series.

Kempt went out late in the third quarter from a knee injury. He injured his medial collateral ligament (MCL) and they’re uncertain of time of recovery, head coach Matt Campbell said after the game.

“I don’t think it’s season ending by any stretch of the imagination,” Campbell said. “I think more of it is a little bit here of a day-to-day, we will know more of it as we go forward on his availability.”

Facing a tough Hawkeye defense, Kempt was sacked three times and faced pressure the entire game. He was being looked at on the sideline before going back to the locker room.

Before the injury, Kempt had 126 yards passing. The Iowa State offense had a good opening drive to start the game, but that field goal ended up being the only points of the game for the Cyclones.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON - Iowa State running back Sheldon Croney Jr. (25) is brought down for a 1-yard gain during Saturday’s game in Iowa City. The Cyclones’ rushing attack was bottled up to the tune of 19 yards by the Hawkeye defense.

Because of the South Dakota State cancellation, the Iowa game was the season opener for the Cyclones. It was a highly anticipated season, especially for Kempt. He’d gained national attention last year as he first came onto the college football radar when he led the team to the win over Oklahoma on the road.

Kempt is a sixth-year senior, now playing at his third school. After a Liberty Bowl win for the Cyclones in December, the anticipation of whether the NCAA would approve a sixth year of eligibility was the talk of the off-season. That’s what made the injury sting even more for the team.

With Kempt out, backup quarterback Zeb Noland filled in. It’s a role he said he was prepared for because coaches told him he never knew when his time would come. It wasn’t the first time he’d gotten reps in though.

Noland has 43 yards passing and was sacked once during the fourth quarter.

“Since we’ve been here we’ve played a lot of quarterbacks, and fortunately for us Zeb came in and I thought did a really good job, to be quite honest with you,” Campbell said. “He’s already started so if Zeb has to start for us going forward I know this team is confident in him.”

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON

He played during the Oklahoma State and Baylor games last season.

“It’s what you live for as a kid,” Noland said about getting playing time. “I didn’t grow up in this state, but I saw the rivalry the last three years … I was ready for it. It was fun and enjoyable. I wish the outcome was different.”

Kempt has played a strong role in Noland’s development. Campbell said Kempt’s leadership ability is one of the best things about getting him back this season. Noland said he’s been under his wing since January.

“He’ll be down for a little bit, but he’ll bounce back – that’s who he is,” Noland said about Kempt’s spirits.

The Cyclones’ offensive line allowed pressure all throughout the game.

“We have to get better,” Campbell said of the line. “It is out first game going against a very senior-led excellent defensive front. They need to get out and get that experience and play.”

Despite the tough circumstances, the team is trying to remain optimistic. Because he said he always prepares as if he’s going to play, Noland said his mindset isn’t going to change this week.

“We’ll come back next week ready to work and we’ll see what happens,” Noland said.