The Kansas Jayhawks play host to the Iowa State Cyclones in a crucial Big 12 matchup on Saturday afternoon from David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. The Jayhawks are off to one of their best starts in school history and while they've been the talk of the college football world, know that they need to translate that success into conference play. For the Cyclones, a loss last week to the Bears halted an undefeated start, as they aim to get back to their winning ways. The Cyclones have won ten in a row between the two teams and after last year's 52-point win, the Jayhawks will be looking to flip the script.
Cyclones Take To The RoadIowa State surprised some when they took down Iowa in the non-conference slate, though a loss last week has them hoping it doesn't turn into a losing streak. Against the Bears last week, it was a case of turning things around too little too late and they'll need to start stronger on Saturday. Going on the road hasn't been easy for this group over the last few years and while Kansas isn't known as having the craziest gameday atmosphere, another sellout seems to be on the horizon. Starting 0-2 in the Big 12 would be a rough start, especially with the teams coming up over the next few weeks, but the Cyclones can't take the Jayhawks as easy as they have in past years.
One advantage for the Cyclones is they've been able to stay far healthier than the majority of their opponents this season. Jake Remsburg (knee) is questionable on the offensive line and considering he is yet to appear in a game this season, it's clear he could be useful back in the lineup.
Offensively, the Cyclones aren't quite as explosive as they have been in past seasons. They only rank 80th nationally in scoring and will need to find ways to generate more offense and keep pace with Kansas. Controlling the ball on the ground has been a struggle for this group and with the best way to beat Kansas being keeping their offense off the field, controlling the clock will be key. Xavier Hutchinson (403 receiving yards, 5 touchdowns) is a force on the outside and with the strong quarterback play, can be a difference-maker in this one.
The Cyclones have turned some heads on the defensive side of things this season, though playing Iowa, South Dakota State, and Ohio, is bound to improve those stats. Kansas will present a whole new challenge to this group and it'll start with the nation's seventh-ranked rushing defense to set the tone. If they can force the Jayhawks into relying on the aerial attack, it could play perfectly into the Cyclones' favor.
Jayhawks Turning Heads NationallyThere hasn't been a better story nationally than the turnaround for the Kansas Jayhawks. Considered not only one of the worst Power 5 teams of late, but they have also been one of the worst FBS teams in general. This season they are off to a 4-0 start, with wins coming against foes of all kinds. They were able to go on the road and take down West Virginia in their Big 12 opener while taking down Houston and Duke in the last two weeks. Getting to play at home for the second-straight week should only help to keep the momentum going. There hasn't been a hotter team in college football over the first month and the Cyclones could be the next victim.
The Jayhawks have been blessed with staying relatively healthy as well, which has helped them keep the consistency going over the first few weeks of the season. Trevor Wilson (suspension) remains out, while Ky Thomas (lower body) is questionable for the weekend. With neither being stars on the offensive side, their absences aren't likely to alter the outcome on Saturday.
Lighting it up 🔥 pic.twitter.com/XhJUhuBO5W— Kansas Football (@KU_Football) September 28, 2022
Kansas' offense has exploded onto the scene this season and considering how well they've played over the last month, there are no signs of them slowing down. The country isn't accustomed to seeing the Jayhawks ranked fourth nationally in scoring offense and it all starts on the ground, with the nation's ninth-best ground game. Jalon Daniels (11 passing touchdowns, four rushing touchdowns) has been difficult for teams to slow down and can change this game. As the season progresses though, it remains to be seen how teams learn more and more about how to slow him down.
Since Kansas has been putting up points, they haven't had to worry about some of their woes on the defensive front. They rank near the bottom of the Power 5 in most defensive categories, having allowed at least 27 points in each of their last three games. Iowa State put up over 50 points last year against the Jayhawks and Kansas will need to cut that number down by quite a bit to have a chance at home in this one. Rich Miller (31 tackles) leads the way on the defensive front while Lonnie Phelps (4 sacks) is an elite pass-rusher, who is sure to cause a disturbance in this one.
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Full-Game Side Bet
Being at home, the Jayhawks have a massive leg up, especially with the confidence and momentum that this team has going for it over the last few seasons. Daniels has established himself as one of the best quarterbacks in the country and on a weekly basis, he has been able to impress and put up big numbers. At this point, until someone slows him down, fans have to assume that he's going to continue to dominate. The Cyclones struggled to slow down Baylor last week and with some of the soft offensive opponents on their schedule, they are yet to see anything that Kansas can do, and it'll show in this one. Additionally, according to covers.com, Iowa State is 1-5 ATS in their last six games against a team with a winning record, while Kansas is 7-0 ATS in their last seven games overall, as well as 5-0 ATS in their last five games following an ATS win.
Full-Game Total Pick
The Jayhawks have one of the most explosive offenses in college football and there hasn't been a game yet this season where they haven't been able to put up impressive numbers. That won't stop in this one as well, especially given how Iowa State struggled to keep Baylor off of the scoreboard last week. With a strong offense for Kansas though, comes a weak defense. They haven't been able to stop opponents consistently of late and considering Iowa State's explosive talents, especially at receiver, points will come in a hurry for the road team as well. Additionally, according to covers.com, for Iowa State, the over is 4-1 in their last five games in October.