Getting to know: Iowa State football
The University of Kansas football team will look to keep things rolling after defeating TCU last week.
Kansas (3-5, 1-4 Big 12) will not have an easy task, as it welcomes a red-hot Iowa State (4-3, 3-2) team to David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. The Cyclones won all three of their games in October, including a pair of victories over ranked foes.
“Getting that first Big 12 win for the season under our belt was big,” KU head coach David Beaty said. “We have to make that kind of a pillar. I said that a few years ago when we played Texas. Those games can be pillars that you can talk back on, say that was one of the big turning points if you continue to build on it. If you don’t, it becomes a game that you played.”
Kansas plays host to Iowa State at 11 a.m. Saturday.
BREAKING DOWN IOWA STATE:
Quarterback — Iowa State is a completely different team with freshman Brock Purdy under center. The Cyclones are 4-0 when Purdy plays and 2-0 in his starts. Purdy has thrown for 822 yards and nine touchdowns this season. He has also rushed for 169 yards and one score on 45 carries. Perhaps Purdy’s greatest weapon, however, is ability to fool the defense with his pump fake.
Running backs — The Cyclones have one of the most talented running backs in the nation, as David Montgomery had recorded four consecutive 100-yard rushing efforts. Montgomery leads the Big 12 with 108 rushing yards per game, which ranks 12th in the nation. He has also scored a touchdown in five consecutive games. Montgomery also has a knack for shedding defenders, forcing 11 missed tackles, per Pro Football Focus, during the team’s win over Texas Tech last weekend.
Receivers — A trio of Deshaunte Jones, Hakeem Butler and Matthew Eaton have started all seven games for the Cyclones. Only four players caught a pass against Texas Tech, in which Butler netted 148 receiving yards. In his career, Butler is averaging 18.7 yards per reception, which is the best clip in school history.
Offensive line — Juniors Julian Good-Jones and Collin Olson are expected to make up the left side at tackle and guard, respectively. Freshman Colin Newell has started every game at center other than the season opener against Iowa. Juniors Josh Knipfel (guard) and Bryce Meeker (tackle) will hold things down on the right side.
Defensive line — Iowa State has been a trend setter by adopting a three-man defensive front before other Big 12 teams followed suit. Junior JaQuan Bailey leads the team in TFL (10.5), sacks (5.5) and has 24 tackles to lead all down linemen. Matt Leo will replace Enyi Uwazurike, who has been the starter all year before sustaining a hamstring injury. Ray Lima recorded six tackles against Texas Tech in his first game back from a concussion.
Linebackers — Junior Marcel Spears, the team’s weak-side linebacker, claimed two interceptions, including a pick-six against Texas Tech. Senior Willie Harvey is coming off an eight-tackle performance. Freshman Mike Rose, meanwhile, has started all seven contests at middle linebacker. Braxton Lewis, who is the team’s “star” in this defense, tallied seven stops against Texas Tech last week.
Secondary — Seniors Brian Peavy and D'Andre Payne are holding down the two starting cornerback spots. Peavy paced the squad with nine tackles against the Red Raiders. Sophomores Greg Eisworth (strong safety) and Lawrence White (free safety) are slated to operate from the two safety spots.
SPECIAL TEAMS — Sophomore kicker Connor Assalley missed a field goal last week, and is now 9 of 12 for the season and 19 of 20 on point-after attempts. Sophomore punter Corey Dunn averaged just 37.5 yards per punt last week. Sophomore Kene Nwangwu is the team’s kick returner, while junior Deshaunte Jones handles punt return duties.
FUN FACT — Iowa State has an active streak of a safety in three-straight games, which is the first time in program history as well as Big 12 history. In fact, it has not happened to an FBS team since 1996 when Stats Inc. began collecting data.
VEGAS SAYS… According to Bovada, Iowa State is a 15-point favorite as of Friday afternoon. The Cyclones have defeated only one opponent by at least 15 points in 2018. However, they have done so against the Jayhawks in four of the previous six meetings between these two teams. In the end, it comes down to the ISU offense being better behind Purdy as to why I’m willing to give up that many points again.
Prediction: Iowa State 31, Kansas 14
Record against spread: 5-3