In October 2009, the Kansas football team mounted an impressive 21-point comeback in Boulder against the Buffaloes but failed to convert a last-minute drive into points, eventually falling 34-30. Including that loss, KU has lost all but six of the last 36 games with exactly one conference victory and despite a 40-point loss in Manhattan, brutal remaining schedule, and question marks in all three phases of the game, there remains optimism.
After playing the most encouraging half of football since arguably the second half of their upset over Georgia Tech in 2010, Jayhawk fans finally saw a glimmer of hope and improvement for the first time since that September victory two years ago.
As the Oklahoma State Cowboys and their No. 1 ranked offense prepare to roll into Lawrence for Saturday's matchup, the sting from a demoralizing second half collapse last week remains but it might present one of only a couple opportunities to pick up their first Big 12 win in two seasons.
Oklahoma State - Saturday
Mike Gundy's Dez Bryant and Brandon Weeden-less Cowboys enter the week 2-2, with both losses coming to ranked opponents (Arizona and Texas) and cannot afford another early-season loss if they expect to remain in Big 12 contention with Kansas State, West Virginia, and a mass of 1-loss teams.
Kansas did nothing on Saturday to prove they can stop a powerful running attack, allowing K-State to amass 346 rush yards, almost all of which came without a single Jayhawk hand on the Wildcat ball-carrier. The good news? Oklahoma State also cannot stop non-Savannah State opposing teams from lighting up the scoreboard.
Look for Weis to unleash further offensive creativity and Dave Campo to dial up significantly more pressure on defense in attempt to force the inexperience Oklahoma State QBs into turnovers, something they did not do to Collin Klein.
An upset at home would be a mammoth step for the new regime, especially as recruiting season begins to heat up.
Iowa State - November 17th
The Cyclones are a late blown lead to Texas Tech away from a 5-0 start following an impressive win over TCU last weekend. Blame TCU's loss on Casey Pachall's suspension but Iowa State dominated that football game and would have won even if the off-the-field behavioral-challenged Pachall was leading the Horned Frogs offense.
The feisty bunch from Ames turned heads last season with an improbable upset win over Oklahoma State but appear ready to officially turn that beleaguered program around.
However, KU's front 7 matches up with Iowa State's offense as well as any team in the Big 12 and could use Pierson to stretch the outside while pounding Sims inside as they attempt to loosen up a stout 19th ranked Cyclones' defense. Look for Kansas to go all-in during this late-season game and grab a much-needed conference victory over a hungry team looking to up their bowl bid. Iowa State's following week's game at home vs. West Virginia could be the biggest reason to overlook KU and stumble.