Big 12 Previews

Kansas vs. Iowa State: Preview and Prediction

NCAA Football: Iowa State at Kansas

Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming Big 12 match up in our Kansas vs. Iowa State preview and prediction.

Game Info

Saturday, October 31st, 2020; 11:00 a.m.; David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium; Lawrence, Kansas

TV: FOX Sports 1 (Eric Collins, Ben Leber)

Radio: Jayhawk Radio Network (Brian Hanni); Cyclones Radio Network (John Walters)

Spread: Iowa State -28.5

Fun Fact: Iowa State has owned the series of late. KU’s last win vs. Iowa State came on Nov. 8, 2014, when the Jayhawks took down the Cyclones, 34-14, in Lawrence.

 

Key Players

Iowa State Cyclones

RB Breece Hall

Statistically speaking, he’s the best running back in the Big 12 this season, averaging 143 rushing yards per game with a league-best nine touchdowns as well. He’s also been the workhorse for the offense, with 113 carries, 11 more than anyone else in the conference (WVU’s Leddie Brown). As Breece Hall goes, so goes the Iowa State offense, which has been up and down at times throughout the first half of the season.

LB Mike Rose

Rose had his second interception of the season last week in the loss to Oklahoma State. The turnover helped set up the first score of the game to put ISU in the the lead. He also led the team with 10 tackles. He’s currently fifth in the Big 12 Conference with 40 tackles. Rose is one of the clear leaders of this team as he’s started 31 consecutive games, the best active streak on the team.

Kansas Jayhawks

QB Jalon Daniels

We learned this week that the Jayhawks are going to roll with Daniels at quarterback for the rest of the season. He’s been the best of a mediocre group of options, but for the future of the program it makes sense to roll with the true freshman and see what he’s got the rest of the way. Last week against K-State, he had 200 passing yards and two rushing touchdowns, the only true freshman QB in the country to do that this season. Daniels has thrown for 381 yards, completing 57% of his passes with zero touchdowns and two interceptions. There is a ways to go for this passing game, but let’s see if they can build on last week.

DL Marcus Harris

The redshirt freshman defensive lineman has been a bright spot for this unit. He had 2.5 tackles-for-loss Saturday at Kansas State, which came one game after he had three TFLs at West Virginia. Harris leads the team with his 5.5 tackles-for-loss, which also ranked tied for third in the Big 12, and has 13 total tackles on the season. Iowa State’s offensive line has had its issues this year, so Harris might be a surprise name to keep an eye on who can have a big game.

 

Key Storylines

Iowa State Cyclones

Don’t be complacent. When you look at the box scores of the KU football games this year, it’s really ugly. Iowa State is coming off a loss to Oklahoma State and goes on the road for a second straight week as a 28.5-point favorite. That can be a classic set up game for a slow start. Plus, Iowa State has, at times in recent years, played up or down to competition. The Cyclones have the No. 2 rushing offense in the Big 12 behind Breece Hall and now go up against the worst rushing defense in the conference. Iowa State needs to rebound and put this game out of reach by the third quarter to get some rest for their stars and move on to next week.

Kansas Jayhawks

Limit the mistakes and get to the quarterback. For KU to have a prayer, it can’t make the mistakes from last week giving up punt return touchdowns on special teams. That’s the first step. Then the defense needs to get to Brock Purdy. Iowa State ranks second in the Big 12 in sacks allowed (only seven in five games), but that’s in part because QB Brock Purdy is good at getting out of the pocket. But as we saw last week, OSU was able to flush Purdy out of the pocket frequently, which completely threw off Iowa State’s passing game. Getting to Purdy is a good place to start to try and pull off an upset.

Prediction

Iowa State 38, Kansas 13

The Cyclones may get off to a slow start for some of the reasons mentioned above, but they will roll to a victory. Kansas is really struggling this season and it’s going to be the type of year where Les Miles plays lots of young guys and hope the lumps suffered this year pay off in 2021 and beyond.

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