On the Road in Ames

Turner Gill and his Jayhawks would rather forget October. It was a brutal month for KU, which lost five games to four ranked opponents and was outscored 264-100, including 59-7 in the third quarter.

But it's a new month in November and Kansas is aiming for a rebirth and finishing the last four games strong.

"We are looking forward to the month of November because it is about how you finish," Gill said. "That is what we are talking to our players and coaches about, that we need to finish this (season) in a positive way. All we need to do is keep working harder, keep watching things a little bit longer and keep talking about how we can get better."

KU (2-6, 0-5 Big 12) begins November with a Saturday battle against Iowa State (4-4, 1-4) in Ames, Iowa, at Jack Trice Stadium at 11:30 a.m. on Fox College Sports.

The Cyclones, who had dropped four straight Big 12 games, upset No. 19 Texas Tech in Lubbock last Saturday, 41-7. ISU had its best rushing day since 1999 with 388 yards, including 138 from James White and 101 by Duran "Duck" Hollis. Redshirt freshman quarterback Jared Barnett, meanwhile, rushed for 92 yards and threw for 144 yards in his first collegiate start.

"They really got off to a fast start and had a big win against those guys," Gill said.

Iowa State ranks No. 43 nationally with 174.5 rushing yards per game.

"One thing that stands out is that they are averaging 5.5 yards per carry and the new quarterback they have, Jared Barnett, can run the football," Gill said. "He definitely has made some plays for them and I would say he is a dual threat type of a quarterback, who is able to do things with his legs as well as his arm. ...  Defensively, they are solid and have not been much of a blitz team. They do mix up some things."

The Jayhawks' defense hasn't been solid at all this year, ranking last in the country in total defense and scoring defense. And KU's offense, which had been improved this season, struggled mightily in its 43-0 loss at Texas last Saturday, managing just 46 total yards (all passing) with minus-two yards rushing.

Gill, who laments KU's lack of consistency, hopes to get his team's problems fixed on Saturday in Ames.

"As long as you have games to play, you have an opportunity to improve," Gill said. "It only takes one play, one game, one quarter, to put together something really special. There are teams that have done that, that have put together a game where they came out and got something accomplished, and all of the sudden that starts to get them rolling. That's what I believe can happen at the University of Kansas. I hope it is going to happen this week, that is what we are striving to do."

The Jayhawks are still confident about turning the season around and have paid heed to Gill's message about starting over in November.

‘"Basically, he wants us to forget about all the games we've played up until this point and just start over from scratch," senior cornerback Isiah Barfield said. "The season starts 0-0 and we want to look at it that way, rather than we're coming in on a losing streak. We want to come in with the same passion that we had at the very beginning of the season and win the month of November."

If they do that, Gill believes fans will likely forget the misery of October.

"In most cases if you can finish strong in the month of November, then you are going to be showing ... that you are moving forward," Gill said. "It is how you finish. You have to play well in all games, don't get me wrong, but if you can finish strong, there is a lot to be said there. People can have a tendency to forget about what happened in the middle of the season."

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