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Player to Watch: Kyle Kempt

Let’s see how his second start goes.

Iowa State v Oklahoma Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images

Last week, I picked Joel Lanning as the player to watch. As you may have heard, Mr. Lanning played offense, defense, and special teams, en route to a Walter Camp Player of the Week award and even a few third place Heisman trophy votes. This Player of the Week article had been starting to build some momentum as its own version of the “Madden Curse,” so I’m glad that’s out of the way.

Kyle Kempt

Last week, the walk-on senior quarterback stepped in for Jacob Park and performed extremely well, much better than most expected. He looked calm and collected, and consistently made good decisions. Frankly, he flat-out outplayed Heisman front-runner Baker Mayfield. Kempt consistently made the right throw, never testing double coverage or forcing tight windows. Even given his first career collegiate start, he was unafraid of either the hostile environment or Sooner defense, throwing a handful of downfield passes to Allen Lazard, Hakeem Butler, and Trever Ryen.

This week, Kempt is facing a Kansas defense which allows the 5th most passing yards per game at 305.6. Given that the same Kansas defense also allows 200 yards per game on the ground, expect David Montgomery and Mike Warren to both get a heavy dose of carries. Even with a similar offensive load to last week (24 pass attempts), Kempt will have tons of opportunities to grab large chunks of yardage against the soft Jayhawk secondary through play action, underneath routes, and fly routes from Lazard and Butler. I would also expect to see more of the wide screen passes to Ryen and Deshaunte Jones to utilize Iowa State’s exceptional blocking ability at the wide receiver position. All of this adds up to another efficient day from Kyle Kempt, building more momentum and confidence for him, the offense, and the entire program.