Iowa State looks to avoid letdown against Kansas
(TSX / STATS) -- This week is something new for coach Matt Campbell and the Iowa State Cyclones.
It's not about overcoming a brutally close loss against a ranked team, like in previous seasons. Instead, it's all about handling success.
The Cyclones (3-2, 1-1 Big 12) pulled off the upset of the college football season last Saturday, stunning No. 3 Oklahoma on the road 38-31.
It brought national attention to Joel Lanning, the quarterback/linebacker who played 78 snaps on defense, offense and special teams. It ended an 18-game losing streak in the series. And it could be the victory that vaults Iowa State into the national consciousness and makes it more likely that Campbell's second season will end in a bowl game.
"In the face of some adversity, we continued to fight," Campbell said.
"There's been a lot of adversity at Iowa State for a long time and there's been a cloud around us. I think our kids said, 'I'm sick of it,' and we're going to keep grinding, keep swinging, and getting better one day at a time. So, at the end of it, here we are.
"We have a lot of football left and if we continue to learn and grow and get better one day at a time then we'll have a chance to have great success."
But for that to happen, the Cyclones will have to avoid a post-upset hangover in a home game against Kansas this week.
The Jayhawks' weekend was a bit less impressive -- they got blasted by Texas Tech 65-14. They've lost their last four game and given up at least 42 points to each FCS team on its schedule. But they average more than 450 yards of offense, have a running back (Khalil Herbert) on pace to break 1,000 yards and a quarterback who can move the ball through the air when he can avoid turnovers.
Moreover, the Cyclones haven't won back-to-back games all year. It has alternated wins and losses so far, and the victory over the Sooners won't mean anything if it's followed by a defeat here.
The Cyclones still have three more games against ranked opponents and play four of their last six on the road. Last week's game was critical for getting the team national attention and putting it on the map. This week is pivotal if the Cyclones hope to extend the season beyond November.
--QB Jacob Park is out while he deals with what the team describes as personal health issues. There's no indication of when he might return.
--QB Kyle Kempt got the surprise start against Oklahoma, and all he did was throw for 343 yards and three touchdowns in leading the way to the 38-31 upset. Kansas isn't as intimidating, but it has something that the Sooners lacked -- game film of Kempt in action. The redshirt senior walk-on will have to continue to prove himself each week as opponents get more familiar with his tendencies.
--LB/QB Joel Lanning is now getting snaps on defense, offense and special teams. Don't expect many complicated passing plays when he's under center -- but do expect to see an active playmaker who's getting better every week on defense. He's the reigning Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week for a reason.
--RB David Montgomery did a lot of damage against Oklahoma, but not in the expected way. He was held to 55 yards on 17 carries, but had 89 receiving yards on seven catches. Both receiving numbers were career highs.
Updated October 9, 2017