Quarterback Questions Face ISU, Campbell
Purdy led upset of Okla. State
AMES, IOWA — Another weekend and another quarterback query for No. 6 West Virginia (5-0, 3-0 Big 12) as it travels to Ames, Iowa, to take on the Cyclones from Iowa State (2-3, 1-2).
“We will be continuously watching for the next 12 hours,” WVU coach Dana Holgorsen said of ISU’s freshman quarterback Brock Purdy. “Purdy playing was unexpected on our part. We still have to worry about Kyle Kempt coming back; they say he is coming back for this game. (Zeb) Noland is an experienced guy as well.”
Kempt, who threw for 249 yards and one touchdown in last year’s 20-16 defeat in Morgantown, has been missing from the Cyclones attack since Iowa game, but is 5-4 as a starter (4-3 in Big 12 play).
In his absence sophomore Zeb Noland took over and was completing 63.6 percent of his passes for 722 yards until head coach Matt Campbell lifted him against last Saturday’s 48-42 victory over then-No 25 Oklahoma State.
Enter Purdy, who entered on the second series against the Cowboys, who proceeded to produce 402 yards of total offense (318 passing, 84 rushing) with four passing TDs and one rushing TD.
“I thought he (Purdy) played well,” OSU coach Mike Gundy explained. “He was certainly a very good player against us.”
But, when asked if Purdy would get the starting nod against WVU and veteran defensive coordinator Tony Gibson, Campbell paused.
“As of right now going into it,” Campbell said during Monday’s Big 12 Teleconference. “We’re just waiting to see where Kyle (Kempt) is at. We’ll know more by the end of the week so it’s a little bit unsettled right now.
“Bottom line is if he (Purdy) can help our football team win then we will play the best player.”
And, that could be Purdy, who was selected as CBS Sports National Freshman of the Week for his efforts against OSU.
“Brock is a very mature kid,” Campbell said. “He has the ability to use his feet to slow the defense down. He played in that kind of offense in high school and he had success.”
But can that success continue against a Mountaineers defense which utilizes a 3-3-5 alignment?
“I really enjoy watching their (WVU) defense play,” Campbell said. “I think they are playing like you expect a West Virginia defense to play.”
Kempt isn’t the only injured player Campbell may get back this week. Junior running back David Montgomery, who leads the team in rushing with 334 yards, could also be in the backfield when the Cyclones take the field for the 7 p.m. kickoff.
“I think the thing with David (Montgomery) is that it’s a day-to-day situation,” Campbell said. “But, we are not going to rush him back. We are going to do what is best for him and our team. If the trainers clear him then he will play.”
Montgomery carried the football 26 times a year ago against the Mountaineers for 115 yards. The Cincinnati native ranks fourth in the Big 12 in rushing yards per game at 83.5.
In other game notes:
∫ ISU and WVU will meet for the seventh time this weekend with the Mountaineers holding the series lead at 5-1.
∫ WVU has won all three games played in Ames.
∫ ISU’s lone victory was a 52-44 triple overtime win in 2013.
∫ ISU running back David Montgomery has rushed for more than 100 yards in each game over the past two seasons — 141 in 2016 and 115 last year.
∫ ISU is 1-1 versus ranked opponents this season and 4-2 versus ranked opponents in the last two seasons.