Spodcasters Pregame: KU-ISU
The guys (Tom Keegan, Jesse Newell, Dugan Arnett) discuss why KU's matchup against Iowa State might be tougher than some fans think. Topics of discussion also include the color pink, playing running back like a sponge and Iowa State athletes that never seem to graduate.
When KU has the ball
KU rush offense vs. Iowa State rush defense
No more Florida International and Sam Houston State. From here on out, Kansas University will be forced to run against defenses with a bit more bite. Angus Quigely will start this week for the second straight game. Quigley leads Kansas in both rushing yards and yards per carry, although coach Mark Mangino said this week fans likely will see plenty of Jocques Crawford and Jake Sharp as well.
Iowa State did give up 243 rushing yards to Kent State earlier this year, and another 209 yards to UNLV, but it also has forced six fumbles and leads the Big 12 in turnover margin.
Edge: Iowa State
KU pass offense vs. Iowa State pass defense
With the running game nearly non-existent at this point, the motor that's kept the Jayhawks' offense going is its passing attack. Quarterback Todd Reesing is among the Big 12 leaders in total offense and passing yards per game, although Mangino called the junior out following the Sam Houston State game for trying to do too much.
Iowa State's secondary has been decent this year, and the Cyclones have totaled seven interceptions so far this season, second in the conference. But they likely will be facing one of the league's deepest receiving corps this season, one that returns injured senior Dexton Fields.
When ISU has the ball
Iowa State rush offense vs. KU rush defense
Taking a page out of the Jayhawks' book, Iowa State has employed multiple running backs this season. The Cyclones return three different backs who rushed for at least 100 yards in a game last year and are averaging over 150 yards per game this season. At the same time, both of the team's quarterbacks are prone to run - they've combined for 256 yards and four touchdowns on the ground this season - and will likely do so today.
Say what you want about the Jayhawks' shaky secondary, the team's rush defense has been stout so far this year. It currently ranks third in the Big 12, and KU has yet to give up more than 150 yards rushing in a game this season.
Iowa State pass offense vs. KU pass defense
Although streaky, Iowa State has managed to move the ball fairly well through the air. Against rival Iowa in Week 3, quarterback Austen Arnaud threw for 224 yards, and the following week, against UNLV, he orchestrated a game-tying drive with 1:34 left in regulation and no timeouts to force overtime.
Kansas has been far from spectacular in its pass defense - neither the secondary nor the pass rush has been steady. The Jayhawks expect to get injured cornerback Kendrick Harper back this week, which should alleviate some of the pressure on the secondary. But after getting torched for a combined 678 passing yards in their past two games, this unit has much to prove.
Edge: Iowa State
Neither team has been superb in the special-teams department. The Cyclones have connected on just seven of 11 field goals but lead the conference in kickoff-return yardage. Kansas has struggled to get its kickoff-return game going but possesses a consistent kicker in Jacob Branstetter and a dangerous punt returner in Daymond Patterson.