AMES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa State has long been accustomed to responding to failure.
How will the Cyclones handle success?
For once, Iowa State (3-2, 1-1 Big 12) is on a roll heading into a game it is expected to win easily.
Iowa State is a 21-point favorite for Saturday’s matchup against Kansas (1-4, 0-2) — just a week after stunning Oklahoma 38-31 in Norman as a 31-point underdog.
“The thing I love about this group is, I don’t think you’ve ever seen us not play hard. You’ve never seen this group of kids not play with great attitude and effort,” Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said. “If you want to have a chance to sustain success, you just keep going.”
The Jayhawks are huge underdogs for a reason.
Kansas hasn’t won a Big 12 road game since 2008, and its only win this season came against Southeast Missouri of the FCS. The Jayhawks let up 56 and 65 points respectively in home losses to West Virginia and Texas Tech, and they’re ninth in scoring offense and 10th in scoring defense among Big 12 teams.
Here are some of the keys to consider as Iowa State seeks back-to-back Big 12 wins.
WHO’S THE QB?
Peyton Bender started the first five games at quarterback for Kansas. But sophomore Carter Stanley came in during the second half of last week’s 65-19 home drubbing by Texas Tech, completing 11 of 19 passes for 110 yards and an interception. Bender is listed as a starter against the Cyclones, but coach David Beaty played it coy earlier this week.
“We know what our plan is. I’m just not going to share it with you. Sorry,” Beaty told reporters.
Iowa State senior linebacker/quarterback Joel Lanning was named the Davey O’Brien National Defensive Player of the Week after he had eight tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery in the win over the Sooners. Lanning also had 13 snaps at quarterback, carrying the ball nine times for 35 yards, but Campbell would like to keep Lanning largely on the other side of the ball.
“What you see is a confident football player now on defense,” Campbell said. “We’ll continue to play around with different roles for him … (but) you can’t ask him to do too much.”
IOWA STATE D
Iowa State’s defense has been better than expected so far this season, thanks in part to Lanning’s play at middle linebacker. The Cyclones are tied with Oklahoma State for fifth in the league at 26 points allowed per game. Kansas averages 29.6 points scored per game, but that’s second-to-last in the high scoring Big 12. “A lot of those big shot plays, when they come, you got to hit them. We’ve had opportunities to make those plays, and for some reason we’ve made some of them, but some of them we haven’t,” Bender said.
Iowa State has won four straight over Kansas in Ames and six of seven overall. … The Jayhawks have allowed 30 touchdowns in just five games, by far the worst in the Big 12. Rebuilding Baylor is ninth with 21 TDs let up. … The Cyclones are one of just five teams not to lose a fumble yet this season. … Kansas has had 14 different players record a reception so far.
HE SAID IT
“I’m sick of Lanning, I want him to graduate. He is a talented guy, man, he really is.” — Beaty on Iowa State’s do-everything player.
Source: USA Today Fan Sports Poll