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Getting to know: Iowa State football

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Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy (15) finds a receiver to give the Cyclones some breathing room during the first quarter, Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018 at Memorial Stadium.

Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy (15) finds a receiver to give the Cyclones some breathing room during the first quarter, Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

It could be a long day for Kansas if the offense continues to struggle at Iowa State.

Don’t let the 6-4 record fool you, the Cyclones can play with anyone in the Big 12 conference.

Iowa State has shown just that, losing by a combined three points in a pair of road meetings against Baylor and Oklahoma. ISU is coming off a 23-21 home win over Texas, and appears poised to end the 2019 regular season on a positive note.

Iowa State’s offense is capable of making this score lopsided if Kansas can’t move the ball for a third straight week. In Big 12 action, Iowa State is second in the league in scoring offense with an average of 33.3 points per game. The Cyclones are outgaining their opponents by an average of 121.4 yards per game as well.

ISU’s defense has allowed just one team (Oklahoma) to score over 30 offensive points this season, tying for third in the Big 12 in scoring defense (24.6). Meanwhile, Kansas (3-7, 1-6 Big 12) has scored a total of 23 points over its last 25 possessions in back-to-back losses.

That should help explain the lofty spread by Vegas for the latest meeting between these two teams. Kansas leads the all-time series at 50-42-6, while Iowa State has the edge in Ames at 23-22-3.

Kickoff is slated for 11 a.m. at Jack Trice Stadium.

BREAKING DOWN IOWA STATE:

OFFENSE

Quarterback — Iowa State signal caller Brock Purdy is 13-6 as the starting quarterback, including a 10-4 mark against Big 12 foes. Purdy is one of four players in the FBS with at least 22 passing touchdowns and seven rushing scores. In the last 19 games under Purdy, the Cyclones are averaging 442.3 yards and 33.1 points per contest.

Running backs — True freshman running back Breece Hall, who is from Wichita Northwest, has emerged as a weapon out of the backfield over the last five games. Hall is averaging 120.4 rushing yards in the last five games, which ranks fifth among Power 5 backs since Oct. 12. He also has seven scores on the year, matching a freshman record for the Cyclones.

Receivers — Senior Deshaunte Jones has had an impressive career with Iowa State. Jones ranks in the top-10 in the following Iowa State career receiving categories: Receptions (3rd, 171), Receiving Yards (6th, 1,923) and TD Receptions (T9th, 12). Jones has a team-high 63 catches for 748 yards this season.

Offensive line — Julian Good-Jones, Trevor Downing, Collin Olson, Josh Knipfel and Bryce Meeker started on the offensive line for the Cyclones last week against Texas. Good-Jones didn’t start the first game of his freshman season in 2016, but he has started every game since for a stretch of 47 consecutive starts. The school record for ISU is 48 career starts.

DEFENSE

Defensive line — Zach Peterson, Jamahl Johnson and Enyi Uwazurike started in Iowa State’s three-man defensive front last week. Ray Lima, the team’s usual starting nose guard, has 22 tackles and 2.5 TFL this year. Lima is wearing No. 58 in honor of former ISU assistant coach Curtis Bray, who passed away in 2014.

Linebackers — O’Rien Vance is holding down the middle linebacker spot for ISU. Marcel Spears (weak-side) and Mike Rose (strong-side) help make up the rest of the linebacker unit for the Cyclones. Rose is third on the team and 15th in the Big 12 in tackles with 62. Vance leads the team and ranks third in the Big 12 in sacks per game.

Secondary — Defensive back Datrone Young has 10 career starts, including eight this season. He has 17 tackles to go along with one pass breakup on the year. Lawrence White has 16 career starts and leads the squad with two interceptions this season. He is second on the team in tackles with 70, which is good for sixth in the Big 12.

SPECIAL TEAMS — Kicker Connor Assalley is 27-of-38 on field goal attempts and 79-for-82 on PATs in his career. He is 11-of-15 on field goal attempts this season. Punter Joe Rivera is averaging 40.9 yards per punt and has downed 17 punts inside the 20.

FUN FACT — ISU has played in six one-score games this season. Iowa State’s four losses are by a combined 11 points to teams ranked in the CFP poll.

VEGAS SAYS… Iowa State is favored by 25 points over Kansas as of Friday afternoon. Picking ATS for KU this season has been especially tough. KU’s offense was stellar for the first two games under Brent Dearmon, but it has been anything but that over the last two games. The offense needs to be closer to the former to stay within the spread this weekend against Iowa State’s offense.

I’m choosing to believe the Jayhawks will be better on offense than they have the last couple weeks. If it doesn't happen this weekend, though, the spread for Baylor will be ridiculous.

Prediction: Iowa State 38, Kansas 20

This year’s record ATS: 5-5

Overall record ATS: 12-9