When Kansas kicks off against Iowa State on Saturday the opening line will fall somewhere between five and seven points in favor of Iowa State. That represents probably the most narrow line for a Kansas game in almost two years. Much of that has to do with the trajectory of the Jayhawks who have been close to snapping their Big 12 losing streak on more than one occasion this year. Last week Kansas narrowly missed in an upset bid against Texas Tech and their seems to be a cautious optimism that this weeks game at home against the Cyclones could be the game that Kansas gets over the hump.
QB - STEELE JANTZ Sr. • 6-3 • 225
Jantz has been the Cyclone QB for a fair amount of time now and as a player you sort of know what you are going to get with him at this point. His potential at the start of his career seemed much higher than what he is achieving, but he still can make plays if he runs up against a defense that isn't properly prepared to contain him as a player. Based on the work Dave Campo has done, Kansas fans should hope that Jantz is held to a game similar to his Texas performance, where he passed for just 133 yards while throwing two interceptions, and not his Baylor performance where he went for over 350 on the Bears.
RB - SHONTRELLE JOHNSON Jr. • 5-9 • 190
James White (5-8, 190, Jr.#)
Johnson and White split carries and the yardage is pretty similar. Jantz is the other major running threat but as a whole the Cyclone run game is pretty similar to their passing game in terms of effectiveness. Long story short, this offense can be limited in both areas, Kansas just needs to keep the running back combo in check.
CHRIS YOUNG RSr. 5-11 197
QUENTON BUNDRAGE RFr. 6-2 187
AARON HORNE RSr. 5-8 178
ERNST BRUN RJr. 6-3 240
1 *Jarvis West (5-7, 170, So.#)
One thing the Cyclones do well with in the passing game is spreading it around. Jantz seems perfectly comfortable with a number of wideouts and tight ends in the passing game. This group certainly has a substantial edge on the Jayhawks wideout group and they will present a challenge for the Kansas defensive backfield. The Jayhawk front seven can ease that burden, but this group is comfortable relying on any number of players to make plays if necessary.
CARTER BYKOWSKI Sr. 6-8 304
ETHAN TUFTEE RJr. 6-4 310
TOM FARNIOK RSo. 6-4 290
KYLE LICHTENBERG RJr. 6-6 301
BRAYDEN BURRIS RSr. 6-6 298
As is typically the case the Cyclones have a largely upperclassman group of big bodies up front. This isn't nearly as big and experienced as the group they had two years ago, but almost everyone on this offensive front has at least one year of starting experience at this point.
The strength of this Cyclone offense is the experience up front where they play five returning offensive lineman. Unfortunately this hasn't translated to huge numbers, but the Cyclones are still winning enough games to put them in the mix for a potential bowl berth late in the season. This is a pretty average group both in the passing game and the running game, but they do enough to support a strong defensive unit. This could be a very good matchup for Kansas but it's not one that the Jayhawks can simply walk into and expect to win by any means. Campo will need to have his defense on point and if he does, Kansas could put themselves in a position to win this game at home.