Kansas coach David Beaty has seen quarterback Carter Stanley improve even when he’s not getting first-team snaps in practice.
During drills, Beaty requires his backup quarterbacks to stand behind teammates to mimic their actions, and in earlier weeks, Stanley has taken this job seriously.
“I think that’s really what’s helped him,” Beaty said. “I think his commitment to being prepared is what helped him step in the other day and play well, and he sparked us.”
Stanley was one of the bright spots for KU in a 48-21 loss at West Virginia. He completed 9 of 11 passes for 127 yards with two touchdowns and an interception after replacing the starter Montell Cozart, who left with a concussion.
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Cozart returned to practice earlier this week, but even if he’s available, Beaty said the team was “still in that competition mode” with its quarterbacks.
“Our deal is we want to win,” Beaty said. “And whatever we’ve got to do to help ourselves get a chance to get that victory is what we’ve got to do.”
This appears to be KU’s best chance in 2016 to break a long Big 12 losing streak (one that sits at 18 games). Iowa State, at 1-8, picked up its only victory in Week 4 when it defeated San Jose State, 44-10.
The Cyclones enter Lawrence as a 10-point favorite over the Jayhawks.
“They are the best 1-8 team in the country,” Beaty said. “Maybe one of the best 1-8 teams you really have seen.”
KU’s best chance at an upset could be another strong game from Stanley. His history is interesting, as he signed late with KU in 2015 after getting handpicked by offensive coordinator Rob Likens, who first saw him while watching iPhone video in an airport on a recruiting trip to see a different quarterback.
Stanley redshirted last season and appeared like he might be the quarterback of the future before Beaty took over offensive play-calling duties in the offseason. After that, Stanley spent most of this year third string on the depth chart before elevating himself to backup in recent weeks.
“He’s got kind of a gamer deal to him,” Beaty said.
It remains to be seen whether that will help Stanley get playing time Saturday.
“He did a good job the other day,” Beaty said. “I fully expect him to be prepared if his number is called this week.”
Iowa State at Kansas
- When: 11 a.m. Saturday
- Where: Memorial Stadium, Lawrence
- Records: ISU 1-8, 06 Big 12; KU 1-8, 0-6
- Radio: KFH, 1240-AM, 98.7-FM
- TV: FSKC
Three things about Iowa State
1. Allen Lazard leads the team in receptions (48) and receiving yards (658). KU coach David Beaty previously recruited the 6-foot-5 receiver while serving as an assistant at Texas A&M.
2. Iowa State long snapper Steve Wirtel is the brother of KU long snapper John Wirtel.
3. Iowa State led Oklahoma, 17-14, late in the first half last week before eventually falling, 34-24, to the 12th-ranked Sooners.
KU’s offense vs. turnovers: It’s been the theme all year, but once again, this will be the Jayhawks’ biggest key. Iowa State has forced just one combined turnover in its last two games, so if KU has giveaways Saturday, they’ll most likely be self-inflicted.
Jesse Newell’s pick: Iowa State 31-24
After a promising start to the season, KU’s defense has regressed in its last three games, struggling to stop both the run and pass. While the offense has been better recently, this still appears to be a KU team that would have been better off playing Iowa State a few weeks ago when it was healthier and more confident defensively. If KU can limit turnovers, though, this should be a game into the fourth quarter.