Kansas (3-7) at Iowa State (1-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 23, 8 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Jack Trice Stadium (56,000) -- Ames, Iowa. Television: FS1. Home Record: Kansas 3-3, ISU 0-5. Away Record: Kansas 0-4, ISU 1-4. Neutral Record: Kansas 0-0, ISU 0-0. Conference Record: Kansas 1-6, ISU 0-7. Series Record: Kansas leads, 49-37-6 .
GAME NOTES: The two weakest teams in the Big 12 Conference get together on Saturday night as the Iowa State Cyclones host the Kansas Jayhawks.
The Cyclones are winless in conference play thus far and have just a single victory overall, a 38-21 final versus Tulsa back in late September. Since then, Iowa State has dropped seven straight decisions, the most recent of those being a 48-10 defeat at the hands of 22nd-ranked Oklahoma last weekend on the road.
As for the Jayhawks, they've haven't had much more luck than ISU, sporting just a single league victory in seven tries. However, the good news for Kansas is that one Big 12 triumph did take place just last week in Lawrence versus West Virginia (31-19), which means the team has a chance to win back-to-back games for the first time this season.
In terms of the all-time series between these teams, the Jayhawks are in the lead at 49-37-6 overall and have a slight advantage in games played in Ames as well, 22-21-3. However, ISU has won three straight in the series and is hoping to push that run to four in a row for the first time since 1986-89.
Kansas led 17-7 at the break against visiting West Virginia, and 31-7 in the fourth quarter before letting the Mountaineers post a pair of touchdowns in the final five minutes to make things interesting. James Sims led the way for the Jayhawks with a game-high 211 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries, his yardage total exceeding that of WVU (144 yards). Brandon Bourbon pitched in with 48 yards and a score, while Montell Cozart converted just five passes for 61 yards.
Cassius Sendish led the defense for the Jayhawks with 11 tackles, all but one of those solo, while Ben Goodman came up with a sack, two tackles for loss and an interception return for 54 yards.
The Kansas offense has been dreadful this season, averaging just 17.4 ppg to rank 116th in the nation. In fact, prior to last week's scoring outburst the only other game in which the team scored more than 20 points was in the opener versus South Dakota. The team is generating only 303.2 ypg in total offense (115th nationally), and the passing attack is the part that is hurting the most with just 144.2 ypg.
Cozart, who has taken over for Jake Heaps (1,204 yards, seven TDs), has completed only 36.4 percent of his pass attempts for a grand total of 194 yards. The most productive receiver for the group has been Jimmay Mundine with 16 catches for 181 yards and four of the unit's eight aerial touchdowns.
On the ground, Sims has produced 914 yards and seven TDs, the team just 12 TDs overall while averaging 3.8 yards per carry.
The Cyclones had to have been stunned by their own luck; locked up at 10-10 at halftime against nationally-ranked Oklahoma on the road, but then the roof fell in and ISU found itself down by 38 points less than 30 minutes later. The Iowa State defense surrendered 523 yards, an average of 7.8 yards per snap, while Jacques Washington and Jeremiah George did all they could to keep the Cyclones in the mix as they registered 13 and 10 tackles, respectively.
Quarterback Grant Rohach had little success against the OU pass defense, converting 21-of-34 passes for 179 yards, while being picked off twice and sacked five times, the latter bringing down the team's overall rushing total to 103 yards on 34 attempts. The only TD of the game for the Cyclones came from Sam Richardson who carried the ball three times for 11 yards.
Like Kansas, the Cyclones have not performed very well on offense this season, now ranked 113th in the nation with 327.9 ypg overall. The squad is responsible for a mere 21.2 ppg, which is 103rd in the country and yet they are fourth in red zone offense which is rather astounding. Richardson and Rohach have combined to produce close to 2,000 yards through the air and 13 touchdowns, but also 12 interceptions.
Not only have the Cyclones had their issues on offense in 2013, the team is also being punished on defense with 228.9 ypg allowed through the air and 471.0 ypg in all, the latter ranking the group 108th in the nation. While the opposition has brought down ISU passers for 35 sacks, the Cyclones have logged just 13 such takedowns, 3.5 of those coming from George.
Being at home automatically gives the Cyclones a slight boost, but not so much that they'll be able to take down a Kansas team that actually showed signs of life last weekend.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Kansas 27, Iowa State 17
11/20 10:38:55 ET