Iowa St-Kanas Preview
Lawrence, KS - Led by a balanced offense featuring senior quarterback Todd Reesing and an impressive running back tandem, Kansas is having little trouble moving the ball.
While it will likely have some tough tests further into the Big 12 season, the offense might not suffer much of a letdown in the conference opener.
The 16th-ranked Jayhawks look for their 10th straight home victory over a Big 12 North opponent Saturday when they meet Iowa State, which hasn't won a road game over a ranked team in nearly 20 years.
Oddsmakers from online sports book BetOnline have made Kansas -20 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 81% of bets for this game have been placed on Kansas -20 (View College Football bet percentages).
Kansas (4-0), picked to finish second in the division, hasn't played since a 35-28 victory over Southern Mississippi on Sept. 26. The victory came just days after a series of altercations between members of the school's football and basketball teams.
The offense didn't seem to be bothered by the distractions, rolling up 433 yards.
Reesing had another strong performance, completing 30 of 41 passes for 331 yards with three touchdowns and one interception to surpass former Texas quarterback Vince Young for seventh on the Big 12's all-time list with 9,359 total yards.
While the offense revolves around Reesing, fifth in the Football Bowl Subdivision in passing with 1,137 yards, the productivity of the ground game has been a big surprise.
With opponents designing their defenses to protect against Reesing's arm, running lanes have opened for senior speedster Jake Sharp and freshman bruiser Toben Opurum.
They are each averaging 80.0 rushing yards per game and have already combined for 13 touchdowns. The Jayhawks rank 16th in the FBS in rushing (209.3) and sixth in total offense (511.5).
"(Defenses) don't want Todd coming in there and passing for 400-500 yards. So, it's great because if they are going to play us that way, we can run the ball," coach Mark Mangino said.
The Jayhawks, who have not lost to a North opponent at home since falling 30-21 to Colorado in 2004, expect to have Sharp back this week after he missed the last game with an undisclosed injury to his leg. Opurum did a fine job as the primary back, rushing for 109 yards and a touchdown and also catching a TD pass.
All these offensive weapons will likely give Iowa State fits.
The Cyclones (3-2, 0-1) aren't known for their defense after giving up an average of 497.5 yards and 41.8 points in losing all eight Big 12 games a year ago. They have shown some improvement this season, allowing an average of 358.4 yards and 20.0 points, but Iowa State has yet to face an offense as explosive as Kansas'.
Reesing has thrown for 572 yards, seven touchdowns and one interception in two starts against the Cyclones. He helped the Jayhawks rack up 343 second-half yards as they rallied from a 20-0 halftime deficit in last season's 35-33 win in Ames.
While that was certainly a heartbreaking loss for the Cyclones, last Saturday's defeat was just as disappointing.
After Austen Arnaud's 23-yard TD pass to Jake Williams with 32 seconds remaining brought Iowa State within one point of Kansas State, Grant Mahoney's point-after attempt was blocked, leaving the Cyclones with a 24-23 loss.
"We'll have to wait and see how they'll handle it," coach Paul Rhoads said.
Bouncing back on the road against a ranked opponent likely won't be too easy for the Cyclones.
Iowa State has dropped 34 consecutive regular-season road games against Top 25 opponents since a 33-31 win over Oklahoma on Oct. 20, 1990.
The Cyclones have lost four straight to the Jayhawks and eight of nine in Lawrence.
Posted: 10/6/09 5:52PM ET