This was the kind of loss Kansas fans want to see while Les Miles adds talent to the roster. An entertaining offense and a reasonable defense is fun to watch. Although Kansas lost 41-31, the game was close right until the end with the Jayhawks having the ball in the final minutes with a chance to drive for a lead. They couldn’t finish the job but this was a huge improvement over the past two games.
The Kansas offense started this game much better than the last two. Instead of running on every first and second down making things much easier and predictable for the defense, Brent Dearmon came out with a balanced attack. The Jayhawks were able to move the ball on the Cyclones. The offense wasn’t able to finish drives with touchdowns in the first half but just moving the ball gave the Jayhawks hope in this game.
The Kansas defense stopped Iowa State with three and outs on their first two possessions and generally played well in the first half. They held Iowa State to 14 points in that half. Iowa State helped the Kansas defense with several dropped passes but that’s part of the game.
The offense turned things around in the second half. They were able to finish drives with touchdowns. Kansas scored three touchdowns in the second half and added a two-point conversion.
Carter Stanley had all kinds of accuracy problems in the first half. Wide receiver Andrew Parchment was visibly upset with Stanley’s accuracy problems. Stanley settled down in the third quarter and started making the kind of throws we have seen him make at times this season.
After scoring a touchdown with 1:30 left in the third quarter, Kansas intercepted a Brock Purdy pass on the next play from scrimmage for the Cyclones. Stanley hit receiver Kwamie Lassiter for a 31-yard completion on the Jayhawks’ first play to get the ball to the Iowa State seven yard line. Kansas punched the ball into the end zone and converted on a two-point conversion to give Kansas a 24-21 lead.
Kansas wasn’t able to finish off the game with a win but this was a big improvement over what we have seen from the Jayhawks recently and it came against a good team on the road.
Kansas dropped to 1-7 in the Big 12 and 3-8 overall with this loss, but that’s not important at this time. Les Miles is trying to build a program and that’s going to come by improving the roster. This first season is about installing a style of play and showing promise to help with recruiting. Miles has done that. The recruiting appears to be going well and this game will only help. Playing a good Iowa State team close on the road and playing well in the process helps how fans and recruits feel about the program.
RB Pooka Williams finds yards were there are no yards. He frustrates the defense when he has nowhere to go and the slips through and gains another five or fifty yards. Pooka gained 154 rushing and 52 yards receiving in this game. He scored one of the three Kansas touchdowns.
WR Andrew Parchment had eight receptions for 86 yards. Parchment was open on several other routes but Carter Stanley struggled with accuracy and missed great opportunities.
WR Stephon Robinson had 75 yards receiving on five receptions including a 40-yard reception. Robinson also scored a touchdown in this game.
WR Kawmie Lassiter has been making a bigger impact on the offense recently. He did so again in this game with five receptions for 61 yards.
Offensive Coordinator Brent Dearmon came out aggressive early in this game. He was throwing the ball early and that helped open the running game for Pooka Williams who finished with 152 yards on the ground. In the past two games Dearmon was intent on getting Pooka started on the ground early and it led to several three-and-out possessions for the Jayhawks. We don’t know if that was dictated by Les Miles or was done by Dearmon, but in this game Kansas got back to the balanced attack from the very first play from scrimmage. It’s fun to watch what the Kansas offense can do when it’s not predictable.
Room for Improvement
QB Carter Stanley could be in the Good Job section for his work in most of the second half, but there were too many mistakes in the first half that if his passing accuracy had been what he normally does would have led to touchdowns and a possible Kansas win. Stanley was off target in every way possible in the first half. He finished the game just 23-for-44 passing. He did throw for 328 yards and thee touchdowns so there is a discrepancy in his stats. That seems appropriate since Stanley basically played two entirely different games.
The defense wasn’t terrible but did allow 489 total yards to Iowa State including a touchdown late in the game to seal the win for the Cyclones. Iowa State is one of the better passing teams in the country which makes it difficult putting the defense on this list but it’s their job to get stops to help the team win. One or two stops to force Iowa State to punt or kick a field goal instead of getting a touchdown was the difference in this game.
Kansas returns home next Saturday to face Baylor. Baylor entered this weekend tied with Oklahoma for first place in the Big 12.