• Kansas Jayhawks (1-9 overall, 0-7 Big 12) vs. Iowa State Cyclones (5-5 overall, 2-5 Big 12) • — 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, Memorial Stadium, Lawrence, Kansas —
Opening Las Vegas Line: Iowa State -8
Current Las Vegas Line: Iowa State -6
Three and out, with Iowa State...
Iowa State enters Saturday’s game as another one of those teams that has the potential to turn to two different quarterbacks. Although it seems as if the Cyclones have tried to stick with one guy or the other both Steele Jantz and Jared Barnett have played a fair number of snaps this season and both have given the Jayhawks trouble in the past.
“It looks like right now Jantz is the guy,” KU coach Charlie Weis said. “But we have to be ready for both quarterbacks. Jantz is the experienced guy; he's got a nice touch and he also is not afraid to run the ball. And they're not afraid to run it with him. He's a nice player. They've gone back and forth, but Jantz has played much more in the last few weeks. Barnett's played a lot, as well. You kind of have to be ready for both of them anyway.”
Although the QB position gets most of the attention, ISU quietly has become a factory for offensive linemen. That was one thing that jumped out to Weis when looking at the Cyclones this week.
“Here's the key thing,” Weis said. “They've got eight returning starters on offense, but all five of their offensive linemen. Usually I talk about the quarterback first or the skill players first, but I’d like to start talking about their offensive line. They are a physical, workmanlike, well-coached group of linemen. And together as a unit, they play very well. (Carter) Bykowski is their left tackle; he's 6-foot-8, over 300 pounds. (Ethan) Tuftee is their left guard. He's 6-foot-4, 310; he's a road grader. Their center, (Tom) Farniok, he's the lightest of the bunch at 6-foot-4, 290 pounds. At right guard, (Kyle) Lichtenberg is 6-foot-6 and over 300 pounds. And right tackle, (Brayden) Burris is 6-foot-6, 300 pounds, as well. So, it seems like every week we're playing a bunch of big guys. But the thing about these guys, they were all the starters last year, so they've been used to playing together for quite some time.”
Since taking over the program four seasons ago, Paul Rhoads has turned Iowa State into an up-and-coming Big 12 program and one of those squads that teams rarely look forward to facing.
They play tough football, make few mistakes and are disciplined in just about every aspect of the game, which has led to a few major upsets and some impressive seasons while consistently facing one of the nation’s toughest schedules.
Weis does not know Rhoads well but he likes what he’s seen so far.
“He's done a nice job,” Weis said. “He's an Iowa guy; he fit the personality there, what they were looking for. And it's a nice mesh with him and Iowa State. They are a well-coached team: they're tough and they're hard-nosed. They are really an extension of his personality, from what I understand.”
Known for their tough-as-nails defense, the Iowa State Cyclones will be without Jake Knott, a linebacker who suffered a season-ending injury a few weeks back. Although the loss of Knott, an all-Big 12 pick and potential All-American, will hurt, Iowa State has handled the blow thanks to the presence of fellow All-American candidate A.J. Klein and the emergence of a couple young guys.
“Everyone wants to talk about A.J. Klein because he leads the team in tackles,” Weis said. “He now plays their boundary linebacker. But Jeremiah George, he's all over the field and he's become more prevalent at Mike linebacker ever since Knott went out. As a matter of fact, he's fourth on the team in tackles. But in the last two games, he has 27 tackles. He's just been all over the field.”
Kansas leads the all-time series between these two, 49-36-6. That includes a 27-15-3 mark in games played in Lawrence.
Iowa State, however, has won two in a row in the series, with both victories coming in Ames, Iowa. KU’s last victory over the Cyclones came in 2009, when KU held off a late charge from the Cyclones to win 41-36. Todd Reesing set then school records for completions (37) and yards (442) and Kerry Meier also set the school record of 16 receptions while hauling in 142 yards and two TDs. Dezmon Briscoe also had a big day, catching 12 passes for 186 yards and two TDs.
The Jayhawks are 9-7 against ISU as members of the Big 12, including a 6-1 mark in Big 12 games played in Lawrence.