Last home game for Kansas should result in victory.
By Dylan Gehlbach
On Saturday, the University of Kansas football team let a tough one slip away against a good, Top 25 Texas Tech squad. It was a heartbreaker for Kansas fans, but there have been clear signs of growth that show that this team is ready to take its first victory at home this coming Saturday from the Cyclones.
That’s right, I said it. Kansas will get their first Big 12 victory in two years over Iowa State.
There are plenty of reasons that you can point at to tell me that Kansas won’t win this game. But for the first time in two seasons, there are five solid points that lead to a Jayhawk victory.
1) Home field advantage
This is the obvious one, but it is an advantage. Any college athlete will tell you that is more difficult to travel to a new stadium packed with people rooting against you than to play on a familiar field with the crowd on your side. It’s just one of those things.
It also helps that this is the last home game of the season for the Jaybirds. Fans have been more encouraged by the football team’s performance against good teams as of late. Odds are, there will be a good cheering section willing Kansas to a victory. If the Jayhawks are able to stay competitive through the whole game, the fans will be there. Kansas fans proved that in the crushing defeat to Texas a few weeks ago.
2) Iowa state has had its share of troubles
The three games that are the most encouraging to Kansas fans have been against Oklahoma State, Texas, and Texas Tech. Kansas had a good chance to win each of these games against Top 25 opponents, but was not able to come through with the victory. The hope is that they have learned how to finish games against good Big 12 teams that won’t go away late.
The question is, how has Iowa State faired against these three Top 25 teams. Oklahoma State crushed Iowa State 31-10. Texas demolished the Cyclones 33-7. Iowa State kept it competitive with the Red Raiders, but ultimately suffered a 24-13 defeat.
Now these are numbers picked out specifically that favor Kansas as of late. You could easily pick out other circumstances against other opponents that favor Iowa State, but looking at Iowa State’s two Big 12 wins are encouraging for Kansas fans hoping for a win on Saturday.
3) Iowa State’s Big 12 wins not so impressive
At the surface, it is intimidating that Iowa State has already proved themselves a strong part of the Big 12 with two conference wins and one win from a potential bowl berth. But when you look at the details behind these two wins, they are a lot less impressive than they seem.
ISU’s first Big 12 win came against TCU. Though TCU is new to the conference, most college football fans know that they have been a very successful program over the last ten years. When the Cyclones went down to Texas to topple TCU, TCU was ranked 15th in the nation.
This is all very impressive, but TCU was not able to start their proven quarterback, Casey Pachall, due to a five-game suspension. Instead, Jared Barnett made his first start. TCU had five turnovers in the game and lost by two touchdowns.
A win over Baylor doesn’t mean much this year. This is a team that is off and on and has spent much of the season ranked last in the nation in overall defense. It should be noted that Kansas got thumped 14-41 by Baylor in Waco, but that was Baylor’s first and only Big 12 victory.
4) Matchup favors KU’s offense
If you are looking for something to be weak to give KU any chance of winning a ball game, you look for a weakness in rush defense.
The Cyclones are not too shabby at defending against the run. They are ranked 52nd in the nation. But they have not shown that they are a defensive stalwart as of late. Last week, Iowa State faced Texas, who has the 35th best rushing offense in the nation. Texas rushed for 222 in a decisive defeat mentioned earlier.
Kansas’ rushing offense is ranked 15 spots ahead at 20th. Tony Pierson and James Sims have proved that they may be THE best running backs in the conference; they’re game changers. If the Jayhawks can get about 250 rushing yards, they will be more than in this game.
5) It’s about time
The biggest reason that I think that KU will take out the Cyclones this Saturday is the timing. The last few weeks, a feeling has been building that KU is ready to beat a Big 12 team. Fans thought they had a chance to come back against Oklahoma State. Fans thought that Texas was going to be able to hold off Texas in the waning moments of that heartbreaker. Fans were sure that the Jayhawks were going to carry their momentum into overtime and defeat Texas Tech at home.
Even fans who have doubted Kansas football since the Rice loss sense that there is some undeniable feeling of hope leading up to the last home game of Kansas’ 2012 season.
I’m not offering concrete evidence here. Heck, I’m not asking you to throw a bet down on Kansas this weekend. All I’m asking is that Kansas fans believe, and that they show up to support this team on Saturday.
After all, anything can happen on Senior Night.