‘I’m just having fun’: Cyclones ready to bounce back against Kansas


Jacob Rice

Jirehl Brock breaks through a tackle against Baylor on Sept. 24

Cyclone football faced its first loss of the season last Saturday after a battle against Baylor. Nonetheless, the Cyclones are approaching a new challenge Saturday afternoon.

They will face the Jayhawks of Kansas, the only 4-0 team in the Big 12. Oklahoma State and TCU also have a current perfect record however they’ve only played three games.

Additionally, the Jayhawks are currently first in the Big 12 standings. In the 2021-2022 season, they finished last with an overall record of 2-10 and a conference record of 1-8.

Matt Campbell has praised Kansas for becoming the team they are so far this season. Campbell said that he witnessed the Jayhawks becoming a great football team despite their tough 2021 record.

With that, Campbell and his team have expressed that no matter what the outcome of a game may be, they’ve been prepared to just keep playing and pushing forward.

“After losses, it can either go to ways,” wide receiver Xavier Hutchinson said. “You can pack up your stuff and call it quits on the season or you can dial it back in.”

Hutchinson seems to be the talk of the show so far this season. Although there was no touchdown for Hutchinson against Baylor, the Florida native has five touchdowns on the season so far.

Defensive lineman MJ Anderson said he feels his speed, strength and being able to play a variety of positions are attributes he brings to the Cyclone team.

“That’s where my role is, doing what the team needs me to do,” Anderson said.

Aside from getting sacks and playing football, the Minnesota transfer said he is having the time of his life.

“I’m just having fun..every Saturday you can just get that opportunity to get on the grass with the boys and just get dirty,” Anderson said.

After a disqualification for targeting against Baylor, teammate Malik Verdon said Beau Freyler is still with his team no matter what.

“Even on the sideline he was still out there mentally with us…he’s always with us,” Verdon said.

Verdon had six tackles against Baylor, the most the redshirt freshman has had so far this season. Additionally, Verdon said he has grown mentally coming into this season. Watching film and being to watch it with his teammates have helped Verdon to grow.

“They [teammates] believe in me. I need to believe in myself,” Verdon said.

As for the Kansas team itself, quarterback Jalon Daniels has made an impact on the Jayhawks’ offense. Daniels and Cyclone quarterback Hunter Dekkers have both had four passing touchdowns in one game so far this season.

Where Dekkers has had one rushing touchdown, Daniels has four. The biggest difference between the two quarterbacks comes from the passing and rushing yards.

When it comes to singular games, Daniels has put up 324 rushing yards compared to Dekkers 293.
So, when it comes to running the ball, Daniels may be one for the Cyclone defense to keep an eye on.

“When you get knocked down, your family [the team] is going to pick you back up,” Verdon said.

Kick-off is set to begin at 2:30 p.m. in Lawrence, Kansas, and will be streamed on ESPN 2.