The history between Kansas and Iowa State goes way back. They are both long-time members of what is now the Big 12. Kansas was a founding member of the Big 8 back in 1907, and Iowa State joined shortly after in 1908. For quite a while these schools have despised each other, but not because of football. Both of these schools have been known as schools that had tended to look forward to basketball season more than football season. That has changed more for Iowa State as they just became bowl eligible for the third consecutive season and will be looking to finish in the top-3 of the conference for the second consecutive year, whereas Kansas has not qualified for a bowl since 2008.
The Cyclones come into this game off of a not-so-pretty but fun win over Texas last week. They took a 20-7 lead in the third quarter and made it look as though the game was not going to take five years off of their fans’ lives, but Texas scored 14 unanswered points to take a 1-point lead. It stayed that way until Connor Assalley nailed a 36-yard field goal as time expired. Iowa State gets a close win after losing so many close ones, 23-21.
The Jayhawks come into this game off of back-to-back losses in games that weren’t too close. These losses being preceded by their thrilling win over the Red Raiders on a last-second field goal. This season has gone better than the past few seasons. They may only have 3 wins so far, but they went 2-1 in the non-conference with a definitive 48-24 road win over a now 5-5 Boston College team. They had Texas on the ropes before falling 48-50 to the Longhorns in Austin. A win here would be a good one to hang their hat on going into the second year of the Les Miles era.
- When: Sat, November 23rd, 11:00 AM CT
- Where: Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, Iowa
- Forecast: Partly Cloudy, High of 44°F
- Stream: None
- Betting Line: Iowa State -24.5, O/U 58.0
Kansas Jayhawks (3-7)
By Andy Mitts
The Kansas Jayhawks were riding high off their win over Texas Tech. Brent Dearmon had brought a new offense to town. It was working about as perfectly as possible. When they got shut down against Kansas State, there was a plausible excuse. The lines were completely dominated all game long, and Carter Stanley didn’t have time to read the defense and react after the snap.
Last week’s loss to Oklahoma State was inexplicable. The offense never got going until it was too late. Stanley got benched coming out of halftime. Mistakes creeped up everywhere. The playcalling was disjointed at best, incompetent at worst. The offense that Brent Dearmon brought seems nonexistent right now.
And the defense isn’t much better. They don’t have the athletes to compete right now. While many of their players are getting valuable experience right now, it is tough to count on them to make enough big plays to stay in games.
With all that being said, these last two games are simply a chance to find some sort of optimism going into the offseason. The offense needs to find some sort of competence. The defense has multiple players in the front seven to develop. Brent Dearmon needs to reassert control over the offensive playcalling. Les Miles needs to let go of the reins and let his coordinators do their jobs. There isn’t a lot of optimism surrounding this team right now, but it’s still hard to feel like this season has been a disappointment.
Kansas has a chance for a statement win Saturday. The Cyclones are not the behemoth that many thought they would be coming into the year. The defense has some issues, and while the running game is humming along, the passing game still hits plenty of hiccups throughout the course of a game.
Jayhawk’s Keys To The Game
Open Up The Playbook – It seems like Les Miles has wrested control of the playbook back from Brent Dearmon. The edge runs and quick intermediate passing game that helped Kansas to explosive performances has been missing the last two weeks. Jet sweeps and running back screens are not the strength of this defense, so they need to get back to the wide open offense they had before.
Stop The Run – Breece Hall is the biggest weapon for this Cyclone offense, especially when you consider where the Jayhawks are fairly weak. Yes, Purdy can still do plenty to beat them. But if Kansas is going to win, they have to find a way to contain Hall.
No Turnovers – This seems self-explanatory, but Kansas has been unable to avoid turning the ball over in the last few games. Carter Stanley has been particularly susceptible, and poor passes have led to multiple short fields for the opponent. If the Jayhawks can avoid turning it over, they will give themselves plenty of opportunities to take control of the game.
Andy’s Game Prediction
Both teams have had plenty of problems starting quickly, and I don’t see that changing much. Kansas will stay in this game simply because both offenses will start slow. By halftime, Iowa State will have it figured out, and Kansas will take a bit longer. I see the Cyclones winning by a couple touchdowns, but they won’t pull away until late, as the Jayhawks claw one back at the end of the game to comfortably cover the line.
22 Iowa State Cyclones (6-4)
By Matt Workman
Iowa State was able to edge past Texas last week on a game-winning field goal. With that win, Matt Campbell became the first coach in Iowa State history to beat every other member of the Big 12. Quite a feat considering this is only his fourth season in Ames. Although this is a great feat, he has much bigger goals in mind for him and his Cyclones.
After last week’s win, Iowa State jumped into the College Football Playoff Rankings for the first time this season. They made it as high as #15 in 2017. They are the highest and only ranked 6-win team. Some people are saying they are ranked too high, but many that watch the Cyclones know why they are ranked.
The Cyclones have fell victim to so many close games, which is why getting that close win over the Longhorns was a valuable one. They lost to three ranked teams, #9 Oklahoma, #14 Baylor, and #17 Iowa, by a combined 4 points. The other was a 7-point loss to #21 Oklahoma State. This team was so close to having an amazing season, which has left many fans feeling horrible, but many are excited for next year. Many of them expect the team to be significantly better than this year.
That being said, the Cyclone faithful know that there is still plenty to play for this season. Making the Big 12 Championship is out of the question, but they can still make a great bowl game. Many ISU fans wouldn’t mind going back to the Alamo Bowl, but many want somewhere new and are hoping for Orlando for the Camping World Bowl. To get there, they are going to have to beat Kansas this week. Matt Campbell has yet to lose to the Jayhawks, and he plans on keeping it that way.
Cyclone’s Keys To The Game
Get Breece Going – Brock Purdy is a great quarterback, but this team can really run up the score when their ground game gets going. Not only because Breece Hall is a great running back, but because Brock Purdy is the kind of quarterback that can extend plays and just wants to pick you apart. If they have to respect the run more, the coverage is going to suffer a little, and with that ability to extend plays, he will find someone open.
No Slow Start – This has been a point many have made this season, but Iowa State has had a bad tendency to start slow in games. This past week against Texas, they played well at the start but were unable to turn it into a huge lead as they only led by 3 points after a dominant first half. Putting this game out of reach early would go a long way for the Cyclones. This would be a great opportunity to see some of the younger guys/backups and get that Kolar-to-Kolar touchdown that many are hoping for.
Stay Focused – Kansas is still at the bottom of the conference standings, but they have shown the ability to play well. They gave Texas a scare in Austin and beat up on a possible bowl team on the road. With a rival who has won ten of the last eleven meetings up next week, there is the possibility that some are looking ahead. That’s where you can get into trouble.
Colton’s Game Prediction
Iowa State should win this game comfortably. Expect them to get off to a strong start on the ground and extend the lead to a decent amount by halftime. Kansas doesn’t let it turn into a big blowout, but some of the backups for the Cyclones may make some eye-popping plays. Final Score: ISU 45-20