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Breaking down Saturday’s Big 12 football game between Iowa State (2-2, 0-1) and Kansas (1-3, 0-1) at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames.
Iowa State offense
Iowa State’s offense has produced plenty of yards this season. The Cyclones average 411 yards per game but they’ve scored just 12 touchdowns, which is tied for the second-fewest in the Big 12.
Iowa State has gained 1,646 yards this season, so it’s gained 137 yards for every touchdown it’s scored. That’s the worst yards per touchdown rate in the Big 12. Kansas is at 135 yards per touchdown.
The Cyclones need to find ways to put the ball in the end zone.
First-year Kansas coach Lance Leipold doesn’t quite have all the pieces he needs yet to put together a contending team, but coach Matt Campbell and defensive coordinator Jon Heacock have both noticed an uptick in how the Jayhawks play.
Campbell has noticed more precision and detail in Kansas.
Heacock noticed North Texas transfer quarterback Jason Bean.
Bean ran the 100-meter dash in 10.36 seconds as a senior. For reference, former Iowa State speedster Kene Nwangwu ran a 10.54. On top of his ability to make plays with his feet, Bean has passed for 732 yards and five touchdowns.
"He's a really athletic, veteran guy,” Heacock said. “He’s got great feet, tremendous speed, extremely fast, makes great throws down the field, can elude the rush, all those things. Very, very dangerous is how I would describe him. Dangerous."
Iowa State defense
Safety Greg Eisworth has found his stride once again. The senior started slow the first few weeks but it went unnoticed since the rest of the defense started out so well.
But over the last two games, and especially against Baylor, Eisworth has made his presence known. Against the Bears, he had 10 tackles and a half tackle for loss.
“He graded the highest on defense at Baylor,” Heacock said. “He had double-figure tackles and he got people lined up. He played as well as he's played maybe all season. He's a veteran guy and we need him to do that. He had a rough patch in there for a couple of quarters early on but I think really since then, he’s played like crazy. He played his best game on Saturday against Baylor."
Like the offense, the Kansas defense has undergone some changes but it’s still not there yet.
The Jayhawks are surrendering an eye-popping 40 points per game and 476 yards per game.
It’s a new system for the Kansas defense and the players seem to still be getting their bearings.
"They're playing a different scheme than what they played before,” ISU offensive coordinator Tom Manning said. “And these guys have a track record of playing really good football defensively as well. It's a very different structure and scheme from what the previous staff did. They're playing a lot more four-down front and kind of playing some various coverages as well.”
Iowa State-Kansas prediction
Campbell has a lot of respect for Leipold from their time in the Mid-American Conference coaching against each other when Cambpbell was at Toledo and Leipold was at Buffalo. And Campbell seems to think Leipold could be the guy to get things turned around for Kansas.
But that turn around won’t happen this year let alone this week.
Iowa State 41, Kansas 10