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Iowa State Preview

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With a bowl game out of reach, Jayhawks look to “make progress” late in the season.

Kansas v Iowa State Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images

Kansas hits the road in its next-to-last game of the 2019 season for a matchup with the Cyclones of Iowa State.

PREGAME

Iowa State holds a four-game win streak over the Kansas, meaning the Jayhawks haven’t defeated the Cyclones since 2014.

KU’s last Big 12 road win came at Iowa State back in 2008.

Over 98 all-time meetings, KU leads the head-to-head matchup with Iowa State 50-42-6.

ISU is bowl eligible for the third consecutive season, something Kansas hasn’t done since 2006-08.

Iowa State leads the Big 12 in passing yards this season, and ranks #8 in the NCAA in passing offense.

Pooka Williams is 84 rushing yards away from 2,000 career yards, which would make him the second-fastest Jayhawk to reach the 2k mark (Gale Sayers, 1962-63).

Carter Stanley needs just one more touchdown pass to tie David Jaynes for second on the career TDs list with 35.

Stanley is only 65 yards behind Mike Norseth for fifth in the career passing yards record.

Iowa State is just 9-10 in Senior Day games since 2000.

FIRST DOWN

I had no idea Iowa State was this good on offense this year. In terms of just plain stats, ISU is 24th in the NCAA in scoring offense, 14th in total offense, and 8th in passing offense. Their “weakness” is the run game, where they rank just 80th. This, to go along with a top-50 defense.

With three receivers that have 40+ receptions already on the season, there’s no doubt Iowa State will continue to get significant yardage through the air. However, one wonders if they will attempt to take advantage of KU’s beleaguered defense and attempt to work on their rush attack. After all, Kansas ranks 126 (out of 130) in run defense.

SECOND DOWN

Brock Purdy makes the ISU offense go. Kansas has not fared well this season against mobile quarterbacks (OU and KSU especially come to mind). Kansas actually could have some success against the ISU run game, but the Cyclones want to throw the ball anyway. This should be a game where KU’s experienced secondary will have plenty of chances to make plays.

THIRD DOWN

This may sound silly, but this game is completely in the hands of Les Miles and his offensive philosophy. I had given up trying to figure this KU team out, and then news broke a few days ago that Miles was still meddling in the offensive gameplan.

If Dearmon is allowed to work, this will likely be a very entertaining shootout between two dynamic offenses - after all, Kansas can, and will, score points (BC, UT, TTU, and the 4th quarter of OSU). But if you see double TE, toss sweeps, or Manny Miles, it will probably look a lot like the last two matchups for Kansas, because ISU’s defense is probably better than its offense.

The Cyclones led the Big 12 in scoring defense last season and are third in that stat so far this season. Their defense ranks 33rd nationally in yards per play (5.14), and they allow just 3.6 yards per carry. Kansas isn’t going to be able to line up and power the ball down the field.

FOURTH DOWN

Iowa State is currently ranked #22 by S&P+ with the #32 offense and the #18 defense.

Kansas is down at #102 overall, with the #83 offense and the #102 defense.

PREDICTION

This looks like an absolute horrible matchup for Kansas on paper. Iowa State is the better team all the way around, and is playing at home on Senior Day. The ONLY chance the Jayhawks have is to give Dearmon the keys and see how fast this offense can go. It’s either that or a return to blowout city via the Les Miles (High)Way.

Either way, Kansas isn’t likely to win this game. As mentioned, Iowa State is just better. The Cylclones rate similarly to teams like Oregon, Notre Dame, and USC. You obviously wouldn’t expect this Kansas team to be able to hang with those schools for very long. (Although admittedly, ISU is doing it with three-star recruits, while those schools have plenty of four and five-star recruits.)

In the end, I’ll offer two predictions. How does Iowa State 45, Kansas 35 sound? Exciting, right? Much better than Iowa State 55, Kansas 10. I’ll let you decide for yourself which is Dearmon and which is Miles.

EXTRA POINT

Iowa State, Oklahoma, and Washington are the only P5 schools to avoid a loss of more than 14 points in the last three seasons.