AMES, Iowa - Senior running back James Sims became the first Kansas running back to rush for over 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons while running for a game-high 114 yards, but the Jayhawks were shutout by Iowa State, 34-0, in a frigid Saturday evening contest at Jack Trice Stadium.
Sims carried the ball 21 times, including four bursts of 10 yards or more, but couldn't help the Jayhawks find the end zone, in the first shutout since Texas kept KU off the board on Oct. 29, 2011. Aside from Sims, Kansas (3-8, 1-7 Big 12) wasn't able to carry over the offensive output from its victory against West Virginia a week ago. The Jayhawks only gained 279 yards on offense and were stopped five times on fourth down, while giving up 502 yards of offense to Iowa State (2-9, 1-7 Big 12).
The Jayhawk defense was stout against the Cyclones throughout the first three quarters and found themselves trailing by two scores, 13-0, after forcing Iowa State into field goal attempts twice inside the five-yard line. KU's offensive woes, coupled with a three-touchdown outbreak by Iowa State starting in the third quarter blew the game open for the home team.
The Kansas offense ran the ball effectively down the field on its opening drive, covering 64 yards behind Sims who had 47 of them on four carries for 36 yards along with one reception for 11 yards. The Iowa State defense buckled down deep in its own territory as the drive came to a halt on the Cyclone 25-yard line after a fourth down pass from freshman quarterback Montell Cozart was completed to senior wide receiver Christian Mathews, but only for a one-yard gain.
Even with the Cyclones backed-up at their own 25-yard line, they wasted no time scoring on their possession. The drive spanned four plays and covered 75 yards, 58 of which were picked up on a long touchdown pass from redshirt freshman quarterback Grant Rohach to junior running back Aaron Wimberly, who snuck in behind KU's coverage to give Iowa State a 7-0 lead with 6:43 left in the first quarter.
The Kansas offense couldn't find the right rhythm to put points on the board during its second drive. Junior punter Trevor Pardula pinned the Cyclones deep in their own territory with a 41-yard punt downed at the Iowa State five. After 13 plays, Iowa State had covered 93 yards and they were faced with a third-and-goal from the Kansas two, when sophomore linebacker Jake Love came up with a huge stop for the Jayhawk defense. His open field tackle-for-loss on Wimberly held Iowa State to a 22-yard field goal and kept the game within reach at 10-0 with 13:17 left in the first half.
KU started its third possession of the game on its own 38-yard line and after going 49 yards down to the Cyclone 13, the Iowa State defense came up big again with another fourth-down stop.
Unlike its previous drive, Iowa State wasn't able to move down the field as a Rohach pass was intercepted by KU junior cornerback Dexter McDonald to give KU good field position at the Iowa State 43-yard line. The Jayhawks again weren't able to capitalize on the turnover as they were forced to punt the ball back after a three-and-out.
Despite trailing 10-0 at halftime there were a few bright spots for the Jayhawks on both sides of the ball. Sims carried the ball 15 times and gained 96 yards at the break while Cozart had nine carries for 51 yards respectively. After a shaky start in which the Kansas defense surrendered 178 first quarter yards to Iowa State, it tightened up in the second quarter, only giving up 32 yards to the Cyclone offense. Ben Heeney tallied seven first-half tackles followed by Love with six tackles, two of which were for a loss.
Both defenses battled back-and-forth to open the second half as consecutive three-and-outs plagued both offenses until a turnover on Kansas' second possession of the half. Sims lost a fumble at the Jayhawk 38-yard line on the very first play of the drive and set up Iowa State with optimal field position to put points on the board.
Kansas stiffened up after the Cyclones moved the ball within five yards of a touchdown, as Love and Heeney teamed up on a third-down tackle to hold Iowa State to another field goal. The stop kept Kansas within two possessions trailing, 13-0, but proved to be the last time Kansas would be within striking distance to make it a game.
The next Kansas drive went backwards forcing Pardula to punt out of the Jayhawk end zone which resulted in a short punt downed at the KU 38-yard line. Iowa State took advantage of the short field this time, extending their lead 20-0 after a short six play, 38-yard drive capped off by an acrobatic 15 yard touchdown reception by Quenton Bundrage from Rohach.
Kansas inserted Jake Heaps at quarterback to relieve Cozart on the following drive, but Heaps too struggled to light a fire under the offense and the Jayhawks were forced to punt back to Iowa State.
When the Cyclones took over at their own 25-yard line, Rohach hit Bundrage for 42 yards into the red zone and two plays later James White punched the ball in from five yards out for a touchdown and a 27-0 Iowa State lead.
Heaps generated some positive momentum and appeared poised to lead Kansas down the field for a scoring drive at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but dropped passes plagued the Jayhawks and the drive stalled out in the Iowa State red zone.
The final score of the night happened like the previous touchdowns had, with the Cyclones driving on a long field. Iowa State drove 84 yards on four plays and beneffited from another big completion of 39-yards from Rohach to junior tight end E.J. Bibbs. Shontrelle Johnson finished the drive off with a 21-yard touchdown run to put Iowa State ahead for good 34-0.
Johnson finished as the Cyclones leader with 84 rushing yards and Rohach completed 15-of-20 passes for 300 yards. Justin Coleman was Rohach's favorite target with eight catches for 78 yards. Big 12 tackling leader Jeremiah George led all players with 14 total tackles, including 1.5 for loss.
Kansas returns home next Saturday, Nov. 30 for an 11 o'clock Sunflower Showdown matchup with Kansas State televised on Fox Sports 1. Those wanting to listen live can tune their radios to the Jayhawk Radio Network or listen via the KU Digital Passport online.
Kansas fell to 49-38-6 against Iowa State all-time.
KANSAS CAPTAINS: Jake Heaps (QB), Ben Heeney (LB), James Sims (HB), Keon Stowers (DL)
*Kansas won the toss and elected to defer. Iowa State took the ball from the north end zone.
*The temperature at kickoff in Ames was eight degrees. A week earlier, Kansas kicked-off to West Virginia in 66 degree weather.
*The last time Kansas was held scoreless was Oct. 29, 2011 at Texas.
*Kansas has held its opponents scoreless on the first drive in 10 of 11 games this season. West Virginia was the only team to get points on the board in the opening drive.
*The Jayhawks finished the 2013 road slate without a Big 12 Conference win, and haven't won on the road in league play since 2008 - a streak of 22 road games and 26 straight in league games played outside of Lawrence. Kansas snapped it's 27-game league losing streak a week ago against WVU.
*Kansas is now 576-588-58 all-time.
*Senior HB James Sims' 114-yard rushing game pushed him over 1,000 yards this season, making him the first player in Kansas history to have back-to-back 1,000 yard rushing seasons. Only two other Jayhawks have had multiple 1,000+ rushing seasons: Tony Sands (1989, 1991) and June Henley (1993, 1996).
*Sims' 114 yard total rushing made it his fifteenth career 100-yard game and second consecutive 100+ game this season following his career-best 211 yards against West Virginia.
*Sims now has 3,510 career rushing yards and continues to stay in the No. 3 spot in Kansas' record books, 278 yards behind KU's allptime leading rusher Tony Sands (3,788 yards).
*Junior QB Jake Heaps' 72-yard passing game pushed his career-total passing yards over the 5,000 mark to 5,044 yards. Heaps collected 3,768 yards over two seasons at BYU and has 1,276 yards in his first season as a Jayhawk.
*Freshman QB Montell Cozart's 21-yard run in the second quarter topped his previous career-long rush of 20 yards at Texas.
*Junior F Connor Embree eclipsed his career-high receiving yards (22) and caught a career-long reception (14). His most recent career-high receiving yards was 15 and his previous career-long receiving was 10, both this season at Oklahoma State.
*Junior CB Dexter McDonald collected his second career interception. McDonald's first interception was in week two at Rice.
*Sophomore LB Jake Love collected a career-high 13 tackles against Iowa State, topping his previous record of 12 last season against Oklahoma State. Two of Love's stops were behind the line and he was in on two third-down stops in the red zone that limited Iowa State scoring drives to field goals.
*Junior DL Tedarian Johnson tallied a career-high five tackles against the Cyclones. Previously Johnson recorded a career-high two tackles, most recently this season in game five against TCU.