AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State (1-2) heads into their Big 12 opener against Kansas (0-3) on Saturday with their sights set on getting back to .500.
The Cyclones are the heavy favorite, as the Jayhawks will come into Jack Trice Stadium having lost their last 32 road games.
“When you're expected to win you've got the challenge of living up to that and delivering what everyone expects you to get accomplished,” head coach Paul Rhoads said Monday.
“We've been the underdog, maybe other than two games, my whole career here,” wide receiver Allen Lazard said. “We’re going in with the same mindset, knowing that some people will pick us to lose either way and we just have to come out with a win.”
In 2014, the Cyclones lost 34-14 to Kansas in Lawrence. However, Rhoads says this year’s team is different, specifically referring to their mindset and experience.
"Our mental makeup is way different than it was a year ago," Rhoads said. "At 1-2, we have an awareness of reality. We've played three good football teams and I think those three football teams have shown that week in, week out this season. We know we are a better football team. We have a group of young men who are anxious to start Big 12 play."
It's been 13 years since Iowa State won their Big 12 opener, but the Cyclones have a great chance to end that streak come Saturday.
“You bet it’s a must-win because it’s this week’s game,” Rhoads said.