At eight losses, the season is already over for the Jayhawks. They have no chance at reaching a bowl game.
But the games still need to be played, and pride is worth fighting for.
This week, they face a team they might actually beat. Iowa State is also 1-8 and is also 0-6 in the conference. A win this week practically ensures the Jayhawks won’t finish tenth overall, last in the Big 12.
If you look at general team stats, Iowa State is a better team, but only by a thin margin. The Cyclones give up eight fewer yards per game and gain just 15 more on offense themselves. The Cyclones have found more stops than the Jayhawks, allowing only 32.6 points per game to Kansas’ 40.2, but the points balance out on offense. Iowa State is only averaging 24 points per game, but KU has managed 31.1 points per game.
A deeper looks reveals that while they’re the underdogs, Kansas should be able to win. They’re playing at home, which always provides a huge boost to the team’s morale, especially in the college ranks.
There’s also been signs of life for the Kansas passing game thanks to redshirt freshman QB Carter Stanley, who hails from Vero Beach, Florida. While he has not yet been named the starter this week, his solid performance replacing Montell Cozart after an injury suggests that Kansas should leave Stanley in so he can gain some experience. Of course, Cozart was the starter for a reason; Stanley plays better in games than he does in practice. Hopefully the coaches can recognize what they have.
No matter what Stanley does, the defense has to play well against a poor Iowa State offense to keep Kansas in the game. Dorance Armstrong Jr. has been one of their best players, with 14 tackles for a loss and eight sacks, but as shown above, those negative plays haven’t added up to stops. The whole defense will have to come together and shut down Iowa State.
They also need to watch out for Allen Lazard, the 6’5″, 223 pound wide receiver who seems uncoverable at times. If anyone can erase negative plays with chunk gains, it’s him.
All in all, this is a good shot for a win. Iowa State is favored by Vegas, but this is the chance for Kansas to get a win they can build on. It’s time for David Beaty to get his first league win (and first win against a Division-I opponent), and this is the opportunity. The Jayhawks can’t let it pass them by.
Steven Callahan is a contributor for Rock Chalk Blog every Friday. View his archive here.