Can you smell that? The hottest game of the season is continuing to heat up, but before we cover that one, let's talk about Kansas and Iowa State. Following a brutal 0-3 start in non-conference play, first-year head coach David Beaty and the Jayhawks head into Big 12 conference play with a game at Iowa State this Saturday. The excitement is overwhelming. By the way, I've just been told what "excitement" means and it seems I've been using it wrong.
Kansas and Iowa State will meet for the 95th time in the programs' history. The first meeting in 1898 was won by Kansas, 11-6, in Lawrence. Most recently on Nov. 8, 2014, the Jayhawks defeated the Cyclones 34-14 in Memorial Stadium. Dating back to the first matchup played in Ames, Iowa, in 1916, Kansas holds a 22-22-4 overall record against the Cyclones in their home stadium. In more recent years, the Jayhawks have been on the losing end of three-consecutive contests played in Jack Trice Stadium in 2013 (34-0), 2011 (13-10) and 2010 (28-16).
Iowa State is averaging 23.7 points-per-game after accumulating 60 first downs (21 by rush, 31 passing and eight penalty). Overall, ISU has amassed 1,101 yards of total offense through three games. On the ground, the Cyclones have pounded their way to 347 yards and two touchdowns. Iowa State moves the ball primarily through the air, completing 66-of-107 passes for 754 yards and five touchdowns to just one interception. The Cyclones are prone to penalties after drawing 23 flags for 206 yards, balancing out to 68.7 penalty yards through the first three games. When the Cyclones are faced with a third down it is tough to get their offense off of the field evidenced by a 45 percent conversion rate – 22-of-49. The second quarter of games is when ISU does the majority of its damage posting 31 points in the second session of play on the season.
Through three games in 2015 Iowa State's opponents are averaging 22.7 points-per-game. They have moved the chains 54 times (27 rush, 22 pass and five penalty). Opposing teams have found success running the ball as the Cyclone defense has given up 557 yards, good for an overall mark of 4.6 yards-per-carry on 185.7 yards-per-contest. Teams have completed 46-of-87 passes for five touchdowns and two interceptions this season. ISU's defense is allowing opponents to cash-in on third down attempts 38 percent of the time, 17-of-45. Of the 10 trips opposing teams have had inside the red area, ISU is giving up a score 80 percent of the time, while a touchdown is scored on 60 percent of tries. Iowa State's opponents have had a steady amount of success putting points on the board throughout each period in three games.
With limited action, senior running back De'Andre Mann makes the most of his carries, especially in power-back situations. Of his 19 attempts, Mann is averaging 4.7 yards a carry. When given the ball on third or fourth down, Mann has rushed for a first down 4-out-of-4 times and holds the season's longest rush from scrimmage at 37 yards set at Rutgers (Sept. 26). That 37-yard play ranks eighth in longest runs since 2013.
Junior running back Ke'aun Kinner scored two touchdowns at Rutgers (Sept. 26) giving him at least one score through his first three games as a Jayhawk. The last person to reach the end zone by rush in three-consecutive games was James Sims in 2012. Sims scored on the ground in four-straight games. Kinner's second touchdown of the game at Rutgers pushed his season total to five, which amounts to all the rushing scores by running back Corey Avery in 2014, and the most since 2013 when Sims ran for seven that season. A list of most rushing touchdowns in a season since 2006.
Freshman cornerback Tyrone Miller, Jr., has led Kansas in tackles in 2-of-3 games in 2015. The rookie has combined for 26 stops in his first three contests, leading all freshman in the Big 12 Conference with 8.7 tackles per game, which ranks third overall. The last true freshman to lead Kansas in total tackles in two or more games in a season was Huldon Tharp in 2009.
Since day one, head coach David Beaty has told his players that nothing is going to be handed to them, they have to go out there and #EarnIt. Redshirt-freshman wide receiver Tyler Patrick took that to heart and earned his way to a starting role in the Jayhawk offense. After breaking camp, Patrick wasn't discouraged when he found himself on the scout team, rather motivated to continue to work hard and earn his way up the depth chart. Through his special teams' performance, Patrick climbed his way to making an impact for Kansas over the last two games at wide receiver.
Since his debut on offense against Memphis (Sept. 12), Patrick has played in two games and has combined for 108 yards on nine catches. The Woodlands, Texas, native's nine catches have resulted in seven first downs for the offense and because of his performance at Rutgers (Sept. 26), he earned KU's Offensive Player of the Week honors.