The Iowa State Cyclones traveled to Lawrence, Kansas on Saturday having won 3 games in a row; not only in conference, but also over the Kansas Jayhawks. When the 2 teams met in Ames last year, Iowa State shut out the Jayhawks in a 45-0 rout.
Now to this year. Kansas is much improved on both sides of the ball, having the best turnover differential in the Big 12 (+16). Kansas also grabbed a 3rd win (first in conference) against TCU the week before. A final bright spot for Kansas this year has been freshman running back, Pooka Williams. The Cyclones would have to shut him down to win.
Iowa State came into the game on a 3 game win streak. Home wins over West Virginia and Texas Tech, and a road win over Oklahoma State. Over those 3 games, Brock Purdy has reignited the Iowa State offense averaging just under 40 points per game. The defense has also played great in controlling the game, and getting off the field. Shutting down some high-powered offenses. The question for both sides of the ball for Kansas wasn’t IF they’d be dominant, it would be HOW dominant they’d be.
What Went Right
Brock was incredibly consistent in his passing against an improved Kansas defense that has gotten very good at taking the ball away. Purdy was 16 of 23 for 263 yards and 3 scores (no interceptions.) 2 of those TDs went to his favorite target (because why wouldn’t he be) Hakeem Butler. Take a look at the window Brock has to fit this ball into to hit Butler on the slant, resulting in an 83 yard score:
Brock rifles the ball behind 2 Jayhawk defenders AND hits Butler right between the 1 and the 8 in 18 on the front of the jersey. Unreal stuff from the freshman.
I don’t have to keep telling you guys about how good Hakeem Butler is, right? Guess I’ll just remind myself then. Butler is 1st in the country in yards per reception at 24.0; He’s 10th nationally in YPG at 98.9 (100+ in 3 straight), and 13th in the country with 8 TD catches.
We all know about Hakeem’s size and strength, but what I think a lot of people might not look into as much is just how fast Butler is.
Butler is almost even with the defenders as he catches the ball, turns upfield, and he’s gone. Some big receivers don’t have quite the “giddy up” once they catch the ball, but Butler does.
On top of that, who doesn’t love watching him use his strength and height on smaller defenders:
What Went Wrong
The running game wasn’t actually all that bad. It just wasn’t “up to par” with what it had been the last few weeks. Kansas held the Cyclones to just 121 yards (David Montgomery led the team with 64) on 38 carries and 0 touchdowns. With Baylor coming to Ames next week, Iowa State will look to get Montgomery some more carries. The Bears are last in the conference giving up 195 yards per game on the ground.
Special Teams: A
Hakeem Butler: Hello, Biletnikoff Award