This week, Iowa State heads to Lawrence to take on a struggling Kansas Jayhawks team, with the Cyclones hoping to right the ship after taking a tough loss in Stillwater last weekend at the hands of Oklahoma State.
Ordinarily, I would have picked the electric Pooka Williams for this, but the start running back opted out of the rest of the season last week and revealed that he was heading back home to take care of his ill mother.
With Pooka out, we turn to Kansas’ best remaining offensive player, wide receiver Andrew Parchment, who had a good game in Ames last year to the tune of 8 catches for 86 yards. Given the dearth of weapons elsewhere on the field, Kansas will likely look to get Parchment and running mate Stephon Robinson (who caught a 40 yard TD in last year’s matchup) the ball as often as possible, potentially in the vertical passing game.
In fact, if I were Kansas, that’s exactly what I would be looking to do. Iowa State’s defense has been rock solid, but basically any defense can be vulnerable to deep passes, and the Cyclones are no different. I don’t know for sure if Kansas will actually try to do that or not, but I do know that getting aggressive early and trying to pick up chunk yardage will be critical if Kansas hopes to have a realistic shot at winning on Saturday.
That’s not to say that I think chucking deep balls again and again is a formula for success against the Iowa State defense, because it isn’t, but picking up that chunk yardage will help Kansas’ otherwise ineffective and inefficient offense grab some extra yards between the twenties and put themselves in the redzone.
Either way, look for Parchment to be targeted early and often, especially if Kansas gets down early and has to start throwing more to come back.