AMES (MCT) — Dangerous.
Those were some of the words the Iowa State (5-5 overall, 2-5 Big 12) football team tossed out Monday when talking about the Kansas Jayhawks.
Another word that could describe Kansas is “close” ... as in close to breaking through.
Yes, the Jayhawks are riding a nine-game losing streak and a 19-game Big 12 Conference losing streak, but KU has been close to snapping it.
“Great spirit in this football team,” is how Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads described Kansas. “There has been plenty of fight and it is beyond that.
“It is being in football games in the fourth quarter, it is going to overtime and having a chance to win against quality Big 12 opponents.”
The Jayhawks (1-9, 0-7) pulled within a touchdown late to nearly beat Oklahoma State in a six-point loss, were up by three against Texas before allowing a touchdown with 12 seconds left, and erased a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit against Texas Tech before losing in double-overtime last week.
“They’re very inconsistent, but they’re very close to putting it together ... and just exploding,” running back Jeff Woody said. “So you cannot, you absolutely cannot, go into this with any sort of roll your helmet out there, expect to win (mentality).”
Kansas hasn’t won a Big 12 game since Nov. 6 2010, and its last win over a Big 12 opponent not named Colorado was in 2009 — Iowa State.
Twenty-three Jayhawk seniors will be playing in their final home game Saturday, and KU head coach Charlie Weis is drawing on that to motivate his team, saying his seniors can leave with great memories with one last home win.
“First of all, their experience is not over yet,” Wies said in his weekly press conference. “So I would like them to walk out of here with a good taste in their mouth.
“If all of a sudden, on Saturday night, all of those nine-game losing streaks and all that other stuff go by the boards, you’re partying on the field after the game, that’s what they’re going to remember.”
Rhoads said the Jayhawks are looking for the exact thing his program was looking for when he took over four seasons ago.
Iowa State was coming off a pair of dismal seasons under Gene Chizik, and Rhoads found just the right edge in his first season, taking the Cyclones to and winning the 2009 Insight Bowl over Minnesota.
“You are looking for that extra edge, what is going to get you over the top,” Rhoads said. “Continuing to possess the ball the way they are, continuing to run the football ... is it one more turnover, is it a key stop on third down ... and the more you emphasize all those things and have a group of football players buy into it you remain a dangerous football team, and they are a dangerous football team.”
Another key, Rhoads says, is staying hungry.
“I’d say they are starving, just like we are,” Rhoads said. “Can you hear my stomach?”