Kansas enters their first Big 12 road contest of 2017 on a 4 game losing streak. They’ll take on a team that has long been considered one of KU’s cellar mates at the bottom of the conference. That’s not the case anymore.
With just three wins, Iowa State at a glance would pose as no power house, but after last week, the Cyclones are a big challenge.
Matt Campbell, in just his second season as the head coach in Ames, lead the Cyclones to perhaps their biggest win in program history, beating Oklahoma in Norman. The win over then #3 OU snapped a 14-game losing streak to the Sooners.
Kansas will be coming in on the opposite end of the spectrum. The Jayhawks were dismantled last weekend by Texas Tech, losing 65-19 on homecoming.
Iowa State will be looking or their 43rd consecutive game with an attendance of 50,000 or more. The Kansas/Iowa State series is even in Jack Trice Stadium at 20-20-3, but Kansas has the overall advantage at 50-40-6.
David Beaty will be looking to get his first win over Iowa State while at KU. He is 0-for-2 thus far after falling last season in Lawrence31-24, and in Ames back in 2015 38-13.
Iowa State comes in riding high after their big win over Oklahoma, sporting a 3-2 record and a 1-1 mark in Big 12 play. The big story for ISU was their quarterback play in the upset win over Oklahoma. Redshirt Senior Kyle Kempt took his first ever college snaps in relief of Jacob Park who took a leave of absence for personal health concerns.
Kempt was an astounding 18/24 passing for 343 yards and 3 touchdowns. He’ll look to continue his hot start to his Iowa State career against a struggling Kansas defense.
Iowa State’s defense looked porous at times, giving up a few big plays to a dangerous OU offense last week, but tightened up and made key stops down the stretch. The biggest being a 4th down stop to seal the victory away from the conference leaders.
The keys for Iowa State will be leading at halftime, as they are undefeated when leading at the break. Their lone win when trailing at the half came last week in Norman. As well as scoring more than 30 points. Iowa State has yet to record a win while scoring under the 30 mark in 2017.
Kansas comes into this weekend’s game ranking last in points per game allowed. Opponents are averaging 44.8 points against the Clint Bowen defense.
KU’s secondary will be challenged by Iowa State’s talented wideout Allen Lazard, who ranks second all-time in Cyclone history in receiving yardage, as well as Hakeem Butler who is the leading receiver statistically for ISU this season in terms of yardage (20 catches, 350 yards, 3 TDs).
This passing game could create issues for the youth in Kansas’ back half, so the key defensive line members will be needed to create havoc in the ISU backfield. Daniel Wise and Dorance Armstrong have combined for just three sacks all season. If they’re unable to get to Kempt, we could see long touchdowns for the ISU air raid.
Offensively, the Jayhawks put up just under 30 per game, which also slots them at 10th in the conference.
The Jayhawks returned an all too familiar scenario at quarterback, playing musical chairs with Peyton Bender and Carter Stanley. The two combined for just 23/43 for 256 yards, 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions.
P. Bender – 12/24, 146 yards, 1 TD/ 1 INT
C. Stanley – 11/19, 119 yards, 0 TD/ 1 INT
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Allen Lazard, WR (6-5, 221, SR) – 27 receptions, 310 yards, 4 touchdowns
Kyle Kempt, QB (6-5, 210, R-SR) – 18/24, 343 yards, 3 touchdowns
Khalil Herbert, RB (5-9, 200, SO) – 68 rushes, 503 yards, 4 touchdowns
Joe Dineen , LB (6-2, 230, R-JR) – 61 tackles, 39 solo, 22 assisted, 1 sack
Iowa State -22.5, over/under 65 points
Iowa State pulls away late, defeats Kansas 37-27.
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featured image courtesy of the Lawrence Journal-World