ISU QB Arnaud expected to start against Texas Tech

Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads acknowledged Monday that he expects

senior quarterback Austen Arnaud to start the Big 12 home opener

against Texas Tech this weekend.

Arnaud aggravated an injury to his non-throwing shoulder in the

first quarter of last week’s 27-0 win over Northern Iowa and was

replaced by sophomore backup Jerome Tiller.

Arnaud went through a full practice on Sunday, according to

Rhoads, and was listed as the starter on a depth chart released

Monday.

”I anticipate that Austen will be out there with the first team

when we take the field. Jerome did a nice job leading of leading

our team to victory, and I don’t look past that,” Rhoads said.

”Does that mean both will play? Does that mean I’ll split time?

That’s what I don’t know.”

Arnaud fell hard on his shoulder during the third quarter of a

27-20 loss to Kansas State on Sept. 18. The three-year starter

returned after missing just one series against the Wildcats, and he

insisted during the week before the Northern Iowa game that he’d be

fine.

On the first series against the Panthers, though, Arnaud got

popped on his injured shoulder and couldn’t continue. Tiller, a

sophomore, was 11 of 22 passing in relief and could play against

Texas Tech (2-1, 0-1 Big 12).

”Whoever is taking the center snaps needs to be making accurate

throws and good decisions on the field,” Rhoads said.

That’s been a problem for both of Iowa State’s quarterbacks.

Iowa State (2-2, 0-1) ranks 97th in the nation with just 169.3

passing yards a game, which is a major reason why the Cyclones are

last in the Big 12 with just over 20 points a game.

Arnaud got off to a shaky start, which included five

interceptions and just two TD passes in three games. But even

though Tiller was behind center for the win over the Panthers, he

didn’t exactly light up the scoreboard.

Tiller, who got into seven games as a freshman in 2009 and

completed 56.2 percent of his passes, had just 87 yards passing

against Northern Iowa and was sacked four times. The Cyclones

offense managed just one touchdown and a pair of field goals, and

many of the 11 balls Tiller managed to complete were a lot tougher

than they needed to be.

”Health is what put us in this situation,” Rhoads said. ”It’s

not like Jerome went out there and looked like Terry Bradshaw and

completed every pass and led us to 50 points.”

Instead, it was Iowa State’s defense that led the way, forcing

five Northern Iowa turnovers and returning two interceptions for

scores in registering its first shutout since 2004. Sophomore

linebacker Jake Knott had 11 tackles and his third pick of the

season, earning Big 12 defensive player of the week honors.

Still, Iowa State was outgained 320-210 by the FCS Panthers.

Arnaud wasn’t made available to reporters Monday because of an

academic conflict, according to Iowa State spokesman Tom

Kroeschell. But even though Arnaud hasn’t played that well this

season, he still looks like the best option as long as he’s

healthy.

According to Rhoads, Arnaud’s shoulder isn’t limiting him as

much as it did a week ago.

”Austen’s been out there, he’s played a lot of games in this

conference,” running back Alexander Robinson said. ”That

experience, what you’re going to see on game night, the speed of

it, I think that’s big. That really helps you out a lot. That’s

something that you can’t replace.”