By Rob Gray
Iowa State’s offensive line will likely be without its top leader on Sept. 14 when Iowa comes to Ames for the annual Cy-Hawk Series rivalry game.
Cyclone coach Paul Rhoads said on Monday’s Big 12 teleconference that Farniok — who has started 27 consecutive games — suffered an MCL strain in the second quarter of Saturday’s 28-20 loss to Northern Iowa.
“Tom will probably be out for the Iowa game,” Rhoads said. “We’re hopeful to have him back for conference play and quite possibly could have him back before conference play begins.”
It could have been far worse — and ISU did allow five sacks.
Initial fears centered around Farniok’s ACL, but those were assuaged Saturday night.
When Farniok left the game, new starting guard Jamison Lalk slid to his spot and, in Rhoads’ estimation, “performed well.”
Veteran Ethan Tuftee played similarly at Lalk’s strong guard spot.
Tuftee, a senior, saw a string of 13 straight starts snapped Saturday, largely because of ongoing health issues that limited his snaps in training camp.
“(He’s) looked at as a starter by us, so him coming in was — no drop off there,” Rhoads said.
The kicking spot remains in flux, too.
Returning starter Edwin Arceo missed two longer field goals (48, 54), then redshirt freshman Cole Netten made two shorter ones (23, 38).
Arceo maintained his hold on kickoff duties in the second half as Netten handled field goals and PATs.
“I’d say (Netten) probably has a leg up on field goal duties heading into the Iowa game and Edwin probably has a leg up on kickoff duties,” Rhoads said.
The Cyclones were one of eight FBS teams to fall to FCS foes in college football’s opening weekend.
Rhoads was asked if the difference in scholarships (85 FBS, 63 FCS) was equalized somewhat by it being early in the season, where essentially it was 1s and 2s against 1s and 2s.
“There’s a lot of great FCS teams out there,” Rhoads said. “And there’s a number of FBS teams sitting here today that will agree with that, even those that beat FCS teams. That’s one way to spin it, to look at it when you come down to an opener — the two deeps against the two deeps. It certainly is.”
Rhoads also fielded a question about tight end Ernst Brun’s health.
Brun — who caught six touchdown passes last season — started the game, but didn’t appear in the later stages.
“Had to leave late in the second quarter, he cramped up,” Rhoads said. “We gave him a bag and a half of IV to try to get fluids back in his body but didn’t respond in time to get back on the field.”
ISU is beginning its first of two bye weeks this month.
The dual focus: Fundamentals and the Hawkeyes.
“The first way to put away a tough loss is to get right back to work and that’s what we’re able to do,” Rhoads said. “And hopefully recover our bodies a little bit after the grind that is training camp.”