Matching Up: Kansas State vs. Iowa State
Typically, I save posting a game preview until Thursdays, but I figured it’s just as well to do it now. I’m pretty excited about Saturday – not only for the game, but to see all of the other games with bowl implications as well.
I’ve received positive feedback on this method of previewing games, so I continue the series for this Saturday’s showdown between the Wildcats and Cyclones.
Not a lot of defenses can completely shut down the Wildcat rushing attack. Texas was one of them, but Iowa State is not. The Cyclones are not terrible against ground attacks; they rank seventh in the Big 12, but asking them to stop an offense with a weapon like Collin Klein is a tall order. Bill Snyder was frustrated with his team’s offense against the Longhorns. Expect to see that anger taken out on ISU if at all possible, but beware: the Cyclones possess an overachieving linebacking corps looking for respect.
The Cyclones possess a number of different weapons on the ground, but none of them are superstar quality. The carries will be distributed between running backs James White and Jeff Woody, and quarterback Jared Barnett. The touches White gets will be determined by his health, as he nurses a nagging shoulder injury. He only had one carry against Oklahoma last week. Meanwhile, the K-State defense continues to show its strength, especially on the outside. Expect the Wildcats to force Iowa State to throw the ball.
As the second-ranked team in the conference against the pass, Iowa State has proved doubters wrong this season. In its last two games, the Cyclones have six interceptions, and those are against two of the best quarterbacks in the country. This secondary is one to take seriously, and it is possible that K-State will only be able to have success passing the ball if the running game is successful first.
ADVANTAGE: Iowa State
Iowa State is led by freshman quarterback Jared Barnett, who has overachieved since entering the starting position in late October with five touchdowns and five interceptions. He’s no Brandon Weeden or Robert Griffin III, but the K-State secondary has struggled at times this season against less-than-spectacular quarterbacks. The Wildcats will likely see Saturday as an opportunity to make a name for themselves in this phase of the game, and if successful, it is hard to picture K-State losing.
The kicking game has been largely inconsistent for the Cyclones. Two place kickers have seen the field this season and have missed on four extra points and six of 15 field goal attempts. In addition, the field position battle has regularly favored K-State this season, and will likely do so again Saturday. Good special teams are a signature of Bill Snyder-coached squads. Expect more of the same.
It is Senior Day at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, and the Wildcats are striving for their first 10-win season since 2003. It is worth noting, however, that all of the bowl-related talk this week can be a distraction. A focused K-State team wins this one, but a few mistakes against a team like Iowa State can prove costly in a hurry. At the end of the day, why doubt Snyder?
FINAL SCORE PREDICTION: Kansas State 31, Iowa State 21
KSU 7 10 0 14 — 31
ISU 0 14 0 7 — 21