ISU battles KU, eyes 3rd bowl in 4 seasons

Bowl eligibility is on the mind of the Iowa State Cyclones as they take the field on Saturday.

The Cyclones take on Kansas at 7 p.m. (ET) at Memorial Stadium. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Network.

ISU hopes to make its third bowl appearance in four seasons under Paul Rhoads. The Cyclones are coming off back-to-back losses to Oklahoma and Texas, and haven't been the same defensively since losing linebacker Jake Knott to season-ending shoulder surgery. The Cyclones have allowed 1,202 total yards in the past two weeks.

Nonetheless, ISU has won its past two meetings with the Jayhawks and its defense features two playmakers in safety Durrell Givens and linebacker A.J. Klein.

Keep an eye on redshirt freshman receiver Quenton Bundrage. He’s emerged as a potential future standout for the Cyclones. He has 14 receptions for 142 yards and one touchdown in ISU’s past four games. He had one catch for 21 yards in the first five games.

For KU, the outlook isn’t quite as sunny.

The Jayhawks are still searching for their first Big 12 win as senior day arrives for 23 members of their senior class. Coach Charlie Weis is trying to make it a memorable evening, paying for any KU student to attend for free with the hope of creating a special atmosphere for those 23 seniors.

“I'm hoping we can provide enough inspiration and motivation to go ahead and knock off a tough Iowa State team and let them leave with a good taste in their mouths,” Weis said of his seniors.

Meanwhile, KU running back James Sims is quietly making a strong case for a spot on the All-Big 12 first team. He’s rushed for 100 yards in six straight games and averages 125 rushing yards per contest. The junior, who missed the first three games due to suspension, is one of the main reasons KU is second in the Big 12 in rushing offense. Sims talked about this season's struggles with Big 12 blogger David Ubben this week.

KU has come close to stopping its 19-game conference losing streak on multiple occasions this season, most notably against Texas and Texas Tech.

Is this the week the Jayhawks finally get over the hump?