Road woes continue for Jayhawks
By CHUCK SCHOFFNER
AMES, Iowa -- The Kansas football players were giddy a week ago after breaking a 27-game Big 12 losing streak.
Ending their long losing streak on the road will have to wait another year.
Kansas stumbled through a miserable offensive performance and lost to Iowa State 34-0 on a frigid Saturday night, the Jayhawks' 24th straight loss in an opponent's stadium.
After rolling up 376 yards in their streak-busting victory over West Virginia, Kansas (3-8, 1-7) managed only 279 against Iowa State, which is last in the conference in defense.
"We just couldn't finish," Kansas offensive lineman Gavin Howard said. "We were moving the ball well, but once we seemed to cross like the 50 or the 40 on the other side, we seemed to stall every time. That is something that we have struggled with all season, but especially tonight."
Freshman Grant Rohach passed for a season-best 300 yards and two touchdowns to lead Iowa State to its first Big 12 victory this season. James White and Shontrelle Johnson each ran for a touchdown and Cole Netten kicked two field goals for the Cyclones (2-9, 1-7), who broke a seven-game losing streak at home.
Rohach, who had not thrown a touchdown pass in his five previous games, finished 15 of 20 with one interception and scoring throws of 58 yards to Aaron Wimberly and 15 yards to Quenton Bundrage.
It was the coldest game in Jack Trice Stadium history -- 8 degrees at kickoff and 3 by the start of the second half -- and the field was frozen and slick. But it didn't bother the Cyclones, who amassed a season-high 502 yards and recorded their first shutout since beating Northern Iowa 27-0 on Sept. 25, 2010.
"I really didn't feel that the weather itself was a factor," Kansas coach Charlie Weis said. "I thought the field was a factor, but both teams were playing on the same field. I thought, obviously, that Iowa State did a much better job of handling it."
Kansas' James Sims rushed for 114 yards in 21 carries to run his season total to 1,028 and become the first Jayhawk player with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.
But freshman quarterback Montell Cozart was ineffective in his second start, completing just 4 of 12 passes for 20 yards and one interception. He was replaced in the third quarter by previous starter Jake Heaps.
"One thing we weren't doing is we weren't completing any passes," Weis said. "Then, as you saw in the second half, it didn't make much of a difference because when Jake was putting it right on them, we probably dropped six passes. It was not a good performance."
Iowa State led 10-0 at halftime and put the game away with 17 third-quarter points.
Netten kicked a 21-yard field goal and Iowa State got the ball back at the Kansas 38 after a short punt. Six plays later, Rohach hit Bundrage on the right sideline and the sophomore wideout broke a tackle and fought his way into the end zone.
After a Kansas three-and-out, Rohach completed passes of 18 yards to Justin Coleman and 42 yards to Bundrage before White burst up the middle on a 5-yard touchdown run to make it 27-0, a safe cushion on a night like this.
Johnson added to it with a 23-yard TD run early in the fourth quarter.
"We came in expecting to win and it just didn't go our way," KU linebacker Jake Love said. "We didn't play very well. Give them credit for coming in and executing."
Iowa State, which has struggled to get its offense going early in games, struck on its second possession.
Wimberly slipped behind the defense and no one was near him when he caught Rohach's pass and turned it into a 58-yard touchdown, the longest play of Rohach's young career. Netten added a 22-yard field goal to make it 10-0.
Kansas had nothing to show for three drives into Iowa State territory in the opening half.
ISU's Nigel Tribune stopped receiver Christian Matthews well short of a first down on fourth-and-4 at the Cyclone 26 on the Jayhawks' first possession. Later, two nifty runs by Cozart got the Jayhawks to the ISU 13, where a horde of tacklers stuffed Sims for no gain on fourth-and-1.
Late in the half, the Jayhawks reached the 37, only to be frustrated by a holding penalty and Jansen Watson's interception of Cozart's heave to the end zone.
Kansas would ease a lot of the frustration from this loss if it could upset Kansas State in its season finale at home next Saturday.
"I am pretty excited actually to watch the film and see what went wrong and see what happened," Love said. "Then get over it from there. Kansas State is always a game that we are looking forward to."