Iowa State looks to get back on track, playing their first Big 12 Conference game of the 2015 season.
2015 Game IV: Iowa State (1-2, 0-0) vs. Kansas University (0-3, 0-0)
Date: October 3, 2015
Time: 11:00 a.m. CDT
Location: Jack Trice Stadium - Ames, Iowa
Line: Iowa State -16, O/U 59.5
Television: Fox Sports Network
Radio: Cyclone Radio Network
The Cyclones aim for an above .500 record in conference play for the first time since the 2005 season, and look to win a conference opener for the first time since 2002.
When we last left off
ISU pissed one down their leg, eh, Cole Netten's leg was pissed on as he hooked a 32-yard field goal wide left (not wide right), as the Cyclones lost to a MAC team in double OT. The defense looked solid (other than awful play from Darian Cotton), and the offense outgained Toledo by a wide margin. The run game finally got their shoes out of the mud, and back on track behind the Mike Warren train, as the freshman averaged 6.0 yards per carry.
Backup QB Joel Lanning saw time in a Tim-Tebow-esque package, as he passed, ran and even caught a pass. Offensive lineman Jaypee Philbert saw more time at the left tackle spot, moving Jake Campos to the right bookend, and Jake struggled mightily. Multiple mental mistakes by way of false starts, offsides, and two personal foul penalties chalked up the Cyclones for 14 yellow flags and 113 yards the wrong way. Guard Daniel Burton changed the makeup of the line, and allowed the Clones to run for the first time successfully all season. The defense looked impressive again.
Another football season, another bad Kansas football team. The Jayhawks enter Saturday's affair with an 0-3 record, losing to FCS South Dakota State, Memphis, and Rutgers, all by a combined score of 75-123. The Jayhawks allow a putrid 254 yards on the ground, and 288 in the air. The offense isn't much better, as they have a lot of new faces, and only have one pass touchdown on the year.
Sadly, Kansas leads the all-time series, 50-38-6. ISU has won the last three in Ames, and Kansas won last year's game in Lawrence, 34-14.
Iowa State Offense
The statistics for Sam Richardson don't portray the macro-effect of his career. While he may go down as the 2nd best quarterback in school history (based on stats), he has still been unable to turn the corner. Richardson has continued to hold the ball for too long, and has been unable to make quick reads. Granted, the offensive line has not given him time to throw, but he doesn't take any risks either.
Mike Warren makes his second straight start, and look for him to have a big game. ISU gains a huge advantage on the outside with their receivers, as any of them can make plays with their feet. Sam has continued to look Allen Lazard's way, but I want some Quenton Bundrage in my life. He has not seen as many targets as is needed for an all-Big-12 caliber receiver.
I did notice that Sam really changed the dynamic of the offense in the Toledo game by tucking the ball and running. That allows the defense to stay back on their heels, and open up the entire offense. The bubble screens against Toledo were God awful, hopefully Mangenius and company worked on blocking this week for the receivers.
First Key to Victory - Get the Run Game Going Early
A quarterback's best friend is the running game. Get Warren and Joshua Thomas some easy yards on first and second down, and Sam Richardson's day will be much easier in the pocket. There's no reason why the Cyclones shouldn't put up 200 yards on the ground.
A lot of new faces on this Kansas defense, as the Jayhawks run a 4-2-5 set, with a nickelback on the strong side.
The Jayhawks start true freshman Tyrone Miller and Junior College transfer Brandon Stewart at cornerback, and have gone the JC route for many of their defensive slots. Carrying the best name of all-time is Fish Smithson, who starts at safety.
The Jayhawks have a very inexperienced defense, with many playing their first games in Division I this year. Their only veteran is senior DE Ben Goodman, Jr., who leads the team with 3.5 sacks, and has 27 starts under his belt.
Advantage - Iowa State. Kansas is bad. They allowed 41 points to South Dakota State, an FCS team, at home. I see a big day out of Warren, mixed in with multiple goal line touchdowns by Joshua Thomas. Sam will be competent, as Mangino will more than likely not pull out all the gadgets against his former employer. Hopefully, he doesn't have to.
Iowa State Defense
The strongest unit for this Cyclone team is their defense. Look for Sam E. Richardson to play, yet Brian Peavy to make the start at corner. Also Qujuan Floyd is desperately needed back at his strong safety position, to spell Cotton. I see a heyday for DE Dale Pierson, as he can add to his Big 12-leading sacks and tackle-for-loss categories.
Demond Tucker continues to be a beast inside, and will more than likely eat up two, maybe even three linemen at a time. Kansas likes to run the ball, keyword try, and I see Jordan Harris and company stuffing the stat sheet with tackles. Also, the secondary has quietly been one of the best units this whole season.
Second Key to Victory - Step on the Gas
Iowa State carries an advantage in this matchup with more talent, and needs to attack this inexperienced and under-performing KU team. The defense can't sit back and wait for Kansas to come to them, they need to force the issue head-on with blitzes, force some turnovers, and when the opportunity comes - grab it by the horns.
Kansas's play caller is Junior Montell Cozart, who has been less than impressive in the passing game this year. He averages 200 passing yards per game, and only has 1 pass TD on the year. He does have some running ability, and has shown escapability from the pocket.
The lone bright spot on offense has been RB Ke'aun Kinner. The junior college transfer has averaged 98 yards per game, and scored five touchdowns. On the outside, KU trots out senior WR Tre' Parmalee and two freshmen, Steven Sims, Jr., and Tyler Patrick, respectively. Parmalee is their only weapon, as he is a three-year letter-winner and a speedster.
Advantage - ISU by a wide margin. Iowa State's defense has continued to prove that they are for real, and these JUCO's are just getting their feet wet. Wally has some weapons to play with, and I see more Jhaustin Thomas on the field, as he is coming into his own, and the secondary will continue to impress, led by Nigel Tribune and Kamari Cotton-Moya. Kansas may get a few scrambles and broken runs from their QB, but I look for this defense to eat them up.
Cole Netten will make his return to the field after his gaffe two weeks ago. Netten has proven to be accurate in the past, and should get right back on track. Trever Ryen and Allen Lazard will handle the punt return duties, and I could see a big day out of either.
Kick Returner Ryan Schadler already has a kick return TD to his name on the year, so look out for him. Other than that, KU's kicker looks to be a two-headed monster, with short kicks going to Nick Bartolotta, who is 3-for-3, and long kicks to Matthew Wyman, who made a 51 yarder. Congrats to that. You kick the ball good.
Advantage - ISU. Let's make it 3 for 3, why don't we. This football team needs more cupcakes on the schedule. By the way, how about we start scheduling the worst of the worst in non-conference play. No more preseason MAC winners in Toledo and FCS champs in NDSU. C'mon man!
KnowDan's Beer Pick of the Week
My German soiree has come to a close and let me tell you people, German beer is absolutely fantastic. And let's be clear, what you get at Hessen Haus in Des Moines is German beer, but the freshness is completely lacking. Germany has strict beer laws and for anything to be considered beer it can only contain water, grain, hops, and yeast. That's it.
That's not saying the beer we get here is different, but between the environment, contracted production, preservatives, and a whole host of other factors the German beer in America just doesn't hold up against the same names in Germany. Take note for any future visits.
Now to the matter at hand: what to drink to whet your whistle this weekend. It's the dreaded 5 AM tailgate so Bloody Mary's are obviously on the menu, and we'll see if we can dig Norm out of a combine to provide people with a solid recipe. But back on topic: beer.
Now that the calendar has flipped to October I feel fine recommending Sierra Nevada's Oktoberfest. Malty and spicy like a true Oktoberfest this beer also has a hop finish to it that Sierra Nevada is known for. If you want more recommendations then check out CrowdControl's Cytoberfest II FanPost.
In case you haven't noticed, ISU wins the matchup on paper. There's no reason why this game shouldn't be a rout, and now that Rhoads realizes he is truly playing for his job, I see the team coming out of the locker room with a vengeance.
The Cyclones clearly have the better talent, and I look forward to the offense finally putting some points on the scoreboard. It will be a good sage way for the next few games, as they need to feel what the end zone feels like going into conference play, because in order to compete in the Big 12 Conference, ya gotta score points. Texas Tech scored 52 against TCU last week, and still lost.
Third Key to Victory - Don't Fuck Up
Those mental mistakes at Toledo, throw them out the window. Play your game, execute, block, tackle, make field goals, and you will be the victor.
Iowa State 42, Kansas 13