It’s a tradition like any other. Even for a school that doesn’t have a tradition-rich football program, they do have a punching bag they look forward to playing every year in the Big 12, and that’s Kansas.
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To make matters even worse for the opponent, Iowa State has their old head coach from the days when the Jayhawks were as dangerous as they’ve ever been.
There’s no question that last season’s extremely cold game at Jack Trice Stadium marked Iowa State’s highest point of the football season and Kansas’ absolute lowest. A 34-0 beatdown that finally saw the Cyclones’ depth at running back break through and there was nothing the Jayhawks could do to stop it.
Quarterback Grant Rohach had a field day completing 75 percent of his passes for 300 yards and the team piled on an additional 206 yards on the ground. Kansas barely got over the 250-yard total mark and that was mainly on the ground.
Enough piling on Kansas. They’re on the road to improving just like Iowa State is, and they might potential at quarterback with Montell Cozart. Unlike Paul Rhoads’ general approach to quarterbacks, Charlie Weis has put all his cards down on Cozart.
Nov 23, 2013; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones defender Jeremiah George (52) chases Kansas Jayhawks quarterback Montell Cozart (2) in the second quarter at Jack Trice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports
With running back James Sims gone, Cozart is a dual-threat option at quarterback that can help in the running game until they develop a go-to option at running back. A favorite is incoming freshman Traevohn Wrench that was a 4-star recruit on many recruiting websites.
Defensively, Kansas has serious kryptonite at pass rush — they don’t have any. Nobody in the Big 12 passed for under 173 yards — Louisiana Tech at 289 yards — and five teams had 242 or more yards. Texas Tech and Baylor threw for over 400 yards.
Too early prediction
Even though it’s on the road, this is once again Iowa State’s easiest game on the schedule even when comparing it to the non-conference slate. Unless Kansas has a surprise season, there won’t be much of an atmosphere at the stadium. Last year, Iowa State had no trouble at Tulsa in a completely dead home turf.
If Iowa State has any aspirations for a bowl game (and haven’t been eliminated from contention yet), this is a game they must win. They have to capitalize on the lesser competition in the Big 12.
It won’t be as easy as last year, but if there’s no improvement in the pass rush and Cozart is still developing, the Cyclones should come out victorious and move to 4-5.
I’m sure Mark Mangino will have a few tricks up his sleeve against his former team as well.
IAST 24, KAN 14