Ok I’ll be honest I didn’t really want to write this preview but there IS a game on Saturday and I GUESS I’ll go and it happens to be against Iowa State at 11 AM... ugh.
Kansas is coming off a 27-26 miracle win vs TCU, while Iowa State just beat Texas Tech in Ames 40-31.
L @ Iowa, 13-3
L vs Oklahoma, 37-27
W vs Akron, 26-13
L @ TCU, 17-14
W @ Oklahoma State, 48-42
W vs West Virginia, 30-14
W vs Texas Tech, 40-31
How They Rank
Following the conclusion of all the games from Week 8, Iowa State is ranked #37in S&P+ (out of 130). Their offense is ranked #70 but their defense is ranked #31.
Conversely, Kansas finds itself down at #110, with the #114 offense and the #96 defense. #RutgersFactor, amirite?
F/+ has much less rosy outlook for Kansas, predicting a 23-point Iowa State win and giving the ‘Clones a 90.3% chance for victory.
ESPN’s FPI gives ISU a 79.5% chance of victory.
Vegas has the line set at -15.5 as of the time of this posting.
Players to Watch
Iowa State appears to have found yet another quarterback from out of nowhere. This time, it’s Brock Purdy, who got his chance off the bench early in the Oklahoma State game an hasn’t sat since. He’s completed 65.3% of his passes at nearly 11 yards per attempt, with a 9-2 TD-INT ratio. He is also a threat in the running game... Yikes.
After some injury issues early on this season, RB David Montgomery appears to be back in full force. He’s had 61 carries at 5.1 yards per carry for ISU over the past two games, both huge wins.
ISU’s primary receiving threat is Hakeem Butler, who has 28 receptions at a 22.4 yards per catch clip with 6 TDs.
Defensive players to be on the lookout for include Greg Eisworth (54 tak), Braxton Lewis (3 INTs), and JaQuan Bailey (5.5 sk).
Keys to the Game
It’s really not that difficult for KU. Obviously, that’s easier said than done, but...
RUN THE BALL. Running the ball does several things for KU. One, it gets the ball in the hands of their best players in Khalil Herbert and Pooka Williams. Two, it keeps Iowa State’s offense off the field. Three, it keeps the clock moving and shortens the game, which is what you have to do when you’re a decided underdog.
DON’T WASTE TIMEOUTS. Pretty self-explanatory.
BE AGGRESSIVE. Be aggressive on offense. Go for fourth downs. Run some trick plays. Be inventive. When you throw the ball, throw it down the field or over the middle. Also be aggressive on defense. Blitz from different places during the game. Pressure the QB, don’t drop eight into coverage and let him scramble.
Kansas hasn’t won back-to-back conference games since the 2008 season, Mark Mangino’s last year in Lawrence. Nothing about the TCU win makes me believe it was anything more than one of those fluky wins that you see every once in a while in college football.
Iowa State is good, you guys. Oklahoma had trouble with them, and yeah they lost to TCU but that was before personnel and injury issues decimated that squad. They’ve pounded West Virginia and Texas Tech. And nothing about Matt Campbell makes me think they’ll overlook Kansas.
Look for a pretty bad beat-down on Saturday. Iowa State 48, Kansas 17.