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Defensive Players to Watch: Kansas @ Iowa State

Battle of the backs!

NCAA Football: Iowa State at Baylor Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports

In a game that could mean a bowl game for Iowa State, it will be how well the defensive backs can handle the duality of these offenses on who can hold the edge.

Iowa State: Malik Verdon

Malik sustained an injury early in the season during the Ohio game, causing him to miss the Oklahoma State and Oklahoma games. Matt Campbell recently stated that Jeremiah Cooper’s chances of playing in the Kansas game are uncertain (don’t worry, milk cartons have been made). As a result, Malik will have to work with Beau Freyler to contain Jason Beans and Devin Neal.

In the previous week, Malik made two tackles and an interception, which brought Iowa State to a total of 13 interceptions for the season, ranking them third. Despite missing two games this season, Malik is still ranked eighth in total tackles on the roster with 26, two pass deflections, and two interceptions. It will be crucial for Verdon to perform well on the deep ball while also being able to tackle the ball carrier when necessary.

Kansas: CoBee Bryant

CoBee is a highly skilled defensive back who has proven himself as one of the best in the Big 12. He was selected to the All-Big 12 First Team by coaches last year, and also made the AP All-Big 12 Second Team. On the field, he has recorded 21 total tackles, one forced fumble that he recovered and scored, two interceptions, and two pass deflections. It will be interesting how Kansas will utilize CoBee - whether they will assign him to defend Higgins or Noel, or allow him to cover the right side of the defense. Regardless of his role, it will be exciting to see how he matches up against Iowa State’s offense.