Week 6 Preview: Kansas

Not really a whole lot to say about this one. I'm hoping for the best, but expecatations are low at this point.

The Basics:

  • Records: ISU (3-2, 0-1), KU (4-0, 0-0)
  • Date: Saturday, October 10th, 2009
  • Location: Memorial Stadium, Lawrence, KS
  • Time: 11:30am CDT
  • TV: Versus (Mediacom and Dish Network only. If you have Directv, make other plans)
  • Line: ISU +19, O/U 57
  • Injuries: Alexander Robinson (groin) and Jake Sharp (calf) are gametime decisions.

At A Glance:

Iowa State travels to Kansas, hoping to break their 10 game conference losing streak, and their 13 game conference road losing streak. With Kansas returning Reesing, Meier, Briscoe, and Sharp (if he plays), it’s going to be no easy task. There’s a good reason why we are a 19 point underdog in this one. Kansas is a legit contender in the North. Hopefully ISU can make this a game.

Things You Should Know, Keys to the Game, and My Prediction After The Jump!

Things You Should Know:

  • Kansas has a 4 game winning streak against ISU. The most notable was the first one in 2005, where ISU needed a win over  5-5 Kansas in Lawrence to clinch the North. There’s nothing more I would like than to see ISU be a spoiler in KU’s season. At the same time, KU did put up 35 points in one half against ISU last year to win 35-33. If they can beat us showing up for half a game, I worry what it may be like if they show up for the whole game.
  • Kansas has the 5th best offense in the Nation (497.7 yards/game). Iowa State’s is tied for 61st at 363.5yards/game
  • Kansas has the 7th best passing offense in the Nation (329.7 of those 497.7 yards/game). Iowa State’s passing offense is 107th at 155.5 yards/game
  • Todd Reesing has a QB Rating of 132.97 career against ISU (using the NFL calculation method). He’s gone 42/57 for 609 yards, 8 TDs, and 2 INTs in his 3 games (2 of which he started).
  • The is the biggest test of the year for our Offensive Line.  Kansas is 3rd in the Nation in rush defense, allowing only 54.7 rushing yards/game. The are also 4th in yards/rush, allowing only 2.1 yards/carry. They also average 4.0 sacks/game, which is somewhere near the top. Our offensive line has allowed only 1 sack the entire season, and won't face as good of a Defensive Line the rest of the year.
  • Kansas’ secondary is not very good. They allow 272 yards/game through the air. Kent State has a better pass defense than Kansas right now. Just sayin'. If Arnuad has time to throw, he may be able to find holes in the secondary.
  • Kansas gets into a lot of third down situations (14th in the nation, averaging 16.0/game), but they also do well converting in those situations (15th in the nation at 47.9%). This is a sign of a solid team. At the same time, the fact that they get into a lot of third downs, shows that if a defense can step up on third down, that Kansas can be stopped offensively.

Keys To The Game:

  • Run the ball effectively. Everyone in the media is saying that Arnaud will have to have a career day in order for the Cyclones to win this game. I disagree with this mentality. Kansas is already allowing a ton of yards through the air, but still winning. Why? Because Kansas is equipped to score. Why would Arnuad throwing for 300+ yards mean ISU would win? Southern Miss’ QB dropped back 42 times, threw for 331 yards, and they still lost. Even Duke was able to pass for 299 yards against Kansas. . If ISU can run the ball well against this defense, they can control the clock, keep the score lower, and keep KU’s potent offense off the field. ISU’s offense can’t put up 35-42 points, and it isn’t just going to all of a sudden click and happen this week. If ISU is going to win this game, it’s going to be a 24-21 kind of an affair. Going for the shootout plays to KU’s strengths. 
  • Put pressure on Reesing. Last year when ISU held KU to zero points at halftime: 3 sacks, 1 int. In the second half, when KU put up 35 points: 0 sacks, 0 ints, and all day to throw the ball. We aren’t athletic enough to only rush four guys, because we won’t put pressure on Reesing. We are better off taking some risks in blitzing more, because their WRs are going to find ways to get open in our base defense anyways. Knock Reesing on his butt a few times (even if he gets the pass off), and it could force him to make some bad decisions.
  • Protect Arnuad. The OL has done a great job of this thus far. At the same time, our OL hasn’t faced this good of a defensive line yet. If Arnaud is going to play well, he's going to need time to throw the ball.
  • Take care of the ball. This should go without saying, but I’ll mention it anyway. When you play a good team with a great offense on the road, you can’t give away possessions and field position. 

Prediction:

I'll go with ISU 17, KU 35. There are too many questions regarding ISU's offense and defensive front seven. At the same time, we are going to learn a lot more about what ISU is made of. Last week was tough, and this is a challenging situation.  It's situations like this where we will learn how well the coaching staff does in getting our players ready for the game. It's easy to get prepared coming off a solid win. It's much tougher when you lose how they did last week. I want to see if ISU can rise from dissapointment quickly, or if some of last week's frustration is still lingering.

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