Notebook: Chase Allen shines early on, Kansas brings new defensive scheme in 2021

Iowa State redshirt senior tight end Chase Allen looks for the ball on a route during the 2020 Dr. Pepper Big 12 Football Championship at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

James Powell

AMES — Iowa State had its second largest scoring output of the young season against Baylor last Saturday as they put up 29 points, but in a losing effort. They were a botched snap away from potentially making it 31 points going into overtime, but found themselves 0-1 in conference play instead.

One of the biggest issues for the Cyclone offense was finishing drives. They were in Baylor territory in over half of their offensive possessions but had just as many field goals as they did touchdowns (three of each).

Combined with the shaky special teams, that inability to get in the end zone on a consistent basis is what seemed to ail them all afternoon.

Looking ahead to this upcoming Saturday against Kansas, offensive coordinator Tom Manning met with the media on Wednesday and discussed what Kansas brings to the table on defense as well as a stand-out performer from Iowa State’s last game at Baylor.

Chase Allen having meaningful impact through four games 

Coming into this season, Iowa State had built up the reputation of using their tight ends as much and as effectively as anyone in the country. A main reason for that is preseason All-American Charlie Kolar, who was banged up to start the season and has yet to produce at a level that earned him that recognition as the season approached. 

Through four games, it has been Chase Allen who has been racking up the targets, as well as doing his part in blocking. Particularly in Iowa State’s last game in Waco, Allen answered the bell to the tune of seven catches for a career-high 98 yards. It was far and away Allen’s most productive game as a Cyclone, and Manning has seen his progress since he first started back in 2017.

“It’s really amazing how much he has improved every single year and really right now he’s playing hands down the best football that he’s played here… Chase can do everything that’s required of a tight end,” Manning said when asked about what Allen has brought so far this season.

While Kolar continues to go through whatever form of recovery is necessary for him to be 100 percent, it appears as though Allen, the fifth year senior out of Nixa, Missouri, will continue to play a pivotal role in the offense.

Offense ready for different regime of Kansas football

Kansas has not exactly been the pinnacle of success over the past decade or so of Big 12 play. They’ve failed to pick up greater than one win in the Big 12 in every season since the 2010-11 campaign. 

That being said, they do come into this season with a new head coach in Lance Leipold as well as defensive coordinator Brian Borland, both coaching at Buffalo for the last six years.

Manning is aware of the new scheme that Borland and his defense presents, and says the Jayhawks’ new philosophy is something that will be watched closely leading up to the game.

“I think these guys mix it up a lot more and they’re playing very disciplined football and they’re playing very hard,” Manning said. “I think from our end it is very different than structurally what we saw in previous years and obviously it’s a different staff with a different scheme and different philosophy.”

That philosophy has yet to yield many positive results for the Kansas defense, as they have given up at least 45 points in their last three games since their season opener against South Dakota.

Additionally, they have given up 475.3 yards on average per game so far this season, including 240.3 on the ground and 235 per game through the air.

With Iowa State’s offense failing to pick up more than one touchdown in half their games this season, they are likely welcoming statistics as glaring as those, as well as the fact that Kansas have given up 4.5 touchdowns per game so far this season.