Offense Galore: KU Tramples Iowa State 34-14
LAWRENCE, Kan. – An offensive juggernaut not seen for over three years led Kansas to snap an eight-game Big 12 Conference winless streak in a 34-14 trouncing of Iowa State Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.
Thanks in large part to a first half decimation of the Iowa State defense, the Kansas offense chalked up 500 yards of total offense for the first time since Sept. 10, 2011. KU’s 514 yards on 91 plays helped the Jayhawks snap a five-game skid and nab their first conference win of the 2014 campaign.
Kansas (3-6, 1-5) rallied behind flawless efforts on both sides of the ball to deliver interim head coach Clint Bowen with his first win at the helm of the program since taking over in late September.
Junior quarterback Michael Cummings completed a career-high 24 passes on 40 attempts for 278 yards and a touchdown and has now aired it out for 200 or more yards in four-straight games since taking over the starting role.
Nine different players hauled in those 24 completions, with senior tight end Jimmay Mundine grabbing six passes for 75 yards and the game’s lone receiving touchdown for the Jayhawks. Wide receivers junior Nigel King and senior Nick Harwell snagged five balls a piece, ending the game with 101 and 63 yards, respectively.
King’s 100-plus-yard effort was the first by a Jayhawk receiver since teammate Tony Pierson’s 118 yards against Texas Tech a year ago.
Freshman running back Corey Avery and Pierson paved their way through the Iowa State (2-7, 0-6) defense, each finishing the game with almost identical numbers. The duo had 17 touches each, while Avery finished two yards in front of Pierson with 103 yards, while both rushed for a score.
The tandem became KU’s first multiple players with 100 yards on the ground since James Sims and Pierson accomplished the same feat at Texas Tech in 2012.
The impressive numbers didn’t stop on the offensive side, as the Kansas defense was equally dominant combing for 14 pass break-ups, seven tackles-for-loss, four sacks, three forced fumbles and one interception.
Senior cornerback JaCorey Shepherd highlighted the secondary’s efforts with six passes defended, including a pick late in the fourth quarter to seal the Cyclone’s fate in KU’s end zone. Fellow classmate and cornerback Dexter McDonald defended four passes with four other Jayhawks getting their hands in the mix on the other five.
Senior linebacker Ben Heeney led KU tacklers with seven stops, while senior BUCK Victor Simmons tied a season-high with five tackles, including two sacks, a pass break-up, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
The defensive effort held the Cyclones to 14 points, the fewest allowed by KU in a Big 12 game since allowing ISU 13 points Nov. 5, 2012. In the process, Kansas kept the ball away from Iowa State, winning the time of possession 37:33 to 22:27.
A balanced attack paced the Jayhawks throughout the first quarter where both halves of the ball finished the period a perfect 3-for-3 on their drives. The offense posted the most first-quarter points on the season since its 2014 opener against Southeast Missouri State, and the most in Big 12 play since Oct. 1, 2011, against Texas Tech, scoring 17 on three-straight possessions.
Equally impressive, the defensive attack held the Cyclones to three three-and-outs in a row, holding them to negative three yards of total offense in the first period.
Cummings finished the frame 7-for-8 with 66 yards in the air and a touchdown, while Pierson gained 63 yards on the ground in the first quarter.
From the first snap, the KU aerial attack made a statement, when Cummings hit Mundine for a quick 11 yards and the game’s initial first down to set up the 81-yard scoring drive. Cummings completed three more passes, finishing the drive 4-for-4 in the air for 38 yards to set up the 14-yard touchdown run for Avery to put Kansas on top, 7-0.
The defense stuck the Cyclones on three-straight plays to force an ISU punt, and give the Jayhawks the ball back on their own 42-yard line.
Eight plays and 58 yards later, Kansas found the end zone again, this time with a 20-yard snag by Mundine from Cummings to tack on seven more points to KU’s first-quarter lead, 14-0. Wyman added a 35-yard field goal late in the period to give the Jayhawks a 17-point lead heading into the second frame.
Kansas tacked on another touchdown midway through the second quarter, to wrap up the half with a 24-7 lead over ISU. The Jayhawks tallied 333 yards of total offense, 145 yards from the arm of Cummings (15-of-22) and 180 on the ground with Avery and Pierson leading the way with 86 and 69 yards, respectively. The last time KU recorded 333 yards or more of offense in a half came Nov. 3, 2007 against Nebraska when the Jayhawks racked up 379 yards.
The KU defense kept rolling in the second half holding ISU to seven points in the third quarter, while keeping them off the board in the fourth, thanks to Shepherd’s pick in the red zone with the Cyclones threatening to score.
With ISU trailing and forced to throw the ball throughout the latter parts of the second half, the Kansas defensive backs patrolled the secondary and knocked away six passes in the fourth quarter alone on three ISU possessions inside of KU’s 20-yard line. The six pass breakups inside KU’s red zone resulted in the Jayhawks regaining possession of the ball twice by way of a turnover on downs inside KU’s 10-yard line. The sixth and final disrupted pass sealed Kansas’ victory over the Cyclones, 34-14, as Shepherd came away with the pass in the end zone for the game’s only interception.
The Jayhawks return to the gridiron on Saturday Nov. 15 as Kansas hosts No. 6 TCU on senior day. The game will kickoff at 2 p.m. and will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 1.
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