Kansas (2-6) at Iowa State (4-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 5th, 12:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Jack Trice Stadium (55,000) -- Ames, Iowa. Television: FCS. Home Record: KU 2-3, ISU 2-2. Away Record: KU 0-3, ISU 2-2. Neutral Record: KU 0-0, ISU 0-0. Conference Record: KU 0-5, ISU 1-4. Series Record: KU leads, 49-35-6.
GAME NOTES: Still in search of their first Big 12 victory of the season, the Kansas Jayhawks visit Jack Trice Stadium to take on the Cyclones of Iowa State.
That will be easier said than done against an Iowa State squad coming off a 41-7 thrashing of 19th-ranked Texas Tech on the road, the program's first-ever win in Lubbock. The 34-point triumph marked the Cyclones' largest margin of victory over a ranked opponent and seemingly came out of nowhere, as they had lost four straight entering that game. In fact, it was the team's largest margin of victory over any opponent since 2002 (58-6 vs. Tennessee Tech).
The Cyclones now turn their attention to a Kansas team that is winless in three road games this year. Last week, the Jayhawks lost their sixth straight game overall in a 43-0 rout at Texas. Following this weekend's tilt, they'll return home to host Baylor next week.
Iowa State beat Kansas in last year's meeting 28-16 in Ames, but the Jayhawks own a 49-35-6 advantage in the all-time series.
The Jayhawks' offense will try to rebound from a historically poor performance in their last outing. They ran 36 plays on offense and registered a mere three first downs and 46 yards of total offense, the second-fewest yards gained by a KU offense in the program's history. Sophomore Jordan Webb completed only 7- of-16 passes for 48 yards, 20 of which came on a screen pass to freshman running back Brandon Bourbon. Fellow freshmen running backs Darrian Miller and Tony Pierson combined for 11 yards rushing, as the team actually went backwards on the ground and finished with a season-low -2 rushing yards. KU converted only 1-of-10 third downs and possessed the ball for 15:53. In fact, the offense crossed midfield only once -- late in the fourth quarter -- on a drive that covered a grand total of 28 yards to the Texas 40. On the season, Webb has been serviceable, completing 65.1 percent of his passes with 12 touchdowns and only six interceptions. However, he does not take many shots down the field (182.0 ypg) and defenses have adjusted accordingly in pass coverage. If the offense is to take a step forward this week, Webb will have to pick his spots to challenge the Cyclones vertically.
While the Jayhawk offense was stuck in neutral for 60 minutes, the defense did not fare much better as KU surrendered 40-plus points for the seventh straight game dating back to the second week of the season. In fact, the team ranks dead-last out of 120 Football Bowl Subdivision schools in both total defense (555.8 ypg) and scoring defense (49.5 ppg). The Longhorns became the latest opponent to move the ball up and down the field with ease, finishing with 35 first downs and 590 total yards. But in the first quarter, KU's defense at least showed resilience in thwarting the Longhorns on back-to-back drives. The first came when senior linebacker Steven Johnson and sophomore linebacker Prinz Kande stopped UT quarterback David Ash short of the goal line on 4th- and-goal to force a turnover on downs. The second came when junior corner Greg Brown intercepted a pass in the end zone. However, the floodgates opened soon after that. Senior linebacker Steven Johnson had a busy day, collecting a career-high 18 tackles, which was the most since Justin Spring notched 17 against Colorado in 2009. Freshman safety Keaston Terry (15 tackles), junior safety Bradley McDougald (11 tackles) and junior linebacker Isaac Wright (12 tackles) all recorded career-highs in tackles.
As thrilling as last weekend's victory was for the Cyclones, perhaps even more thrilling was the fact that they may have found their long-term answer at quarterback. Redshirt freshman Jared Barnett spent the spring behind veterans Jerome Tiller and junior college transfer Steele Jantz on the depth chart. Two weeks ago against Texas A&M, he replaced Jantz and completed 16-of-26 passes for 180 yards and also ran for 66 yards. That performance earned him his first career start against Texas Tech, and the youngster took full advantage, throwing for 144 yards and a touchdown while running for another 92 yards and a score. Of course, he also got some help from teammates James White and Duran Hollis in the backfield. White (138 yards, TD) and Hollis (101, TD) both went over 100 yards on the ground to help ISU to its best rushing day since 1999. The Cyclones' 368 rushing yards were their most in a conference game since 1996 (407 vs. Missouri). For White, it was his second career 100-yard game, and the sophomore has now scored seven rushing touchdowns on the year. He is averaging a healthy 4.8 yards per carry and, along with Hollis and now Barnett, gives opposing defensive coordinators plenty to gameplan for.
It wasn't just Iowa State's offense that enjoyed a record-setting day in last week's win. The defense also put forth an incredible effort against a high- octane offense, as the Cyclones snapped Texas Tech's streak of 69 straight games with a touchdown pass. They also held the Red Raiders to a mere 71 total yards in the second half, ensuring a 24-7 halftime lead would not dissipate. TTU entered the game boasting the nation's third-ranked passing attack with an average of 384 yards. But on this day, the Cyclones bottled up Seth Doege to just 171 yards and two interceptions on 16-of-32 passing. It was a standout performance by a unit that entered the game ranked 112th in total defense and 115th in points allowed. Now, the challenge is to try and repeat that effort against a Kansas offense that is coming off a brutal shutout loss. Playing in front of a large home crowd should help the Cyclones avoid any kind of emotional letdown. On the field, junior linebacker Jake Knott has emerged as the team's defensive leader and can usually be found near the ball carrier. On the season, he ranks second in the Big 12 with 8.8 tackles per game.
Coming off such a thrilling victory on the road, the atmosphere at Jack Trice Stadium is sure to be charged up as the campus is looking to draw a crowd of 50,000-plus for a fifth straight game, which has never happened before in school history. KU could really use an early score or two to quiet the home crowd, but they have made a habit of falling behind early this season. Look for Iowa State to continue riding the momentum with another victory in this one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Iowa State 42, Kansas 17
11/02 10:34:11 ET