Jayhawks pose physical threat to Cyclones


Photo:Jordan Maurice/Iowa State Daily

Jeff Woody breaks a tackle during Saturday’s 13-10 victory against Kansas. With consecutive run plays at the end of regulation, Woody broke his career-high rushing total with 61 rushing yards.

Stephen Koenigsfeld

Senior running back Jeff Woody said it perfectly for his team: “You absolutely cannot go into this with any sort of ‘roll your helmet out there’ and expect to win.”

When looking at the opponents’ records of the ISU football team, it would be easy to see how the game against Kansas could be the easiest win to get to bowl eligibility.

Kansas (1-9, 0-8 Big 12) is a struggling team looking for its first conference win since 2010. Iowa State (5-5, 2-5 Big 12) is searching for a win on the road to become bowl-eligible for the third time in four seasons.

But it won’t be easy. The Kansas team that Iowa State will meet Saturday has taken two ranked teams down to the wire in the past three weeks. 

“Against Texas Tech… they gave up a lot of points, but they scored a lot of points,” Woody said. “And against Texas, they only gave up [21 points] but only scored [17].”

The past two years that the Cyclones have faced the Jayhawks, the outcomes have been close. In 2011, a field goal gave Iowa State the win; in 2010, just 12 points did so for its Homecoming.

Something the Cyclones are going to keep an eye out for is the Jayhawks’ potent running game. The Jayhawks are ranked 21st in the nation in rush offense, averaging 213.1 yards per game. 

“The most important stats that you need to know about the Kansas football team are they are No. 2 in the [Big 12] in running the ball — they do that very well,” said ISU coach Paul Rhoads. “And [they are] No. 1 in time of possession at 32-plus minutes in the game.”

When looking at his football team, Rhoads said those are two areas upon which it needs to improve. He said his defense spends too much time on the field.

Another aspect that Kansas is more known for on the field and not so much in the statistics is its physical aggressiveness on the field.

“They were a physical team,” said nickelback Deon Broomfield when asked of the 2011 KU team. “They’re going to run downhill and they’re going to try and stop our run game. That’s what they want to do first.”

Iowa State has not won in Lawrence, Kan., since 2001 — its third-longest active losing streak on the road to current Big 12 opponents.

Iowa State will take on Kansas in Lawrence, Kan., at 6 p.m. Nov. 17. Iowa State is 36-49-6 against Kansas, but have won the past two meetings.