This is late, and unfortunately it's going to be fairly short, too. It's been a busy couple of days.
A month ago, I feared that a 5-6 Iowa State team would arrive in Manhattan on December 3rd, playing for its season under a coach who could get them motivated to play in Siberia. Fortunately, the Cyclones shocked the world and knocked off previously undefeated Oklahoma State in Ames the weekend that K-State got its ninth win of the season in Austin.
So the Cyclones won't be looking to extend their season tomorrow, which bodes well for K-State. And K-State has plenty to play for in its own right. A win gives the Wildcats a 10-win season for the first time since 2003, ensures they will finish no worse than solo second in the Big 12 Conference, and keeps open the possibility of a split conference title and a BCS appearance. But after the two straight Farmageddon losses, I'm sure Paul Rhoads is itching to get a win over Bill Snyder. Hit the jump for more on the matchup.Players to Watch
Rushing: John Hubert, 173 carries, 813 yards, 4.7 yards/carry, 73.9 yards/game, 2 TD
Passing: Collin Klein, 138-236-5, 1,587 yards, 6.7 yards/attempt, 144.3 yards/game, 11 TD
Receiving: Chris Harper, 39 receptions, 536 yards, 13.7 yards/reception, 48.7 yards/game, 5 TD
Defensive Line: Ray Kibble, 32 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 1.0 sacks
Linebacker: Arthur Brown, 83 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 2.0 sacks
Secondary: David Garrett, 70 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 0.5 sacks
Rushing:James White, 142 carries, 660 yards, 4.6 yards/carry, 60.0 yards/game, 8 TD
Passing: Jared Barnett, 93-186-5, 1,025 yards, 5.5 yards/attempt, 146.4 yards/game, 5 TD
Receiving: Darius Reynolds, 37 receptions, 599 yards, 16.2 yards/reception, 59.9 yards/game, 7 TD
Defensive Line: Jake Lattimer, 35 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 2.0 sacks
Linebacker: Jake Knott, 104 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 2 INT
Secondary: Jacques Washington, 75 tackles, 1.0 TFL, 1.0 sacks, 1 INT
Team Statistics (from CFBStats.com)
K-State:193 yards/game, 30th nationally
Iowa State: 178.1 yards/game, 37th
K-State: 149 yards/game, 109th
Iowa State: 217 yards/game, 71st
K-State: 342 yards/game, 97th
Iowa State: 395.1 yards/game, 55th
K-State: 123.9 yards/game, 28th
Iowa State: 194.6 yards/game, 98th
Pass Efficiency Defense
Iowa State: 41st
K-State: 401.5 yards/game, 76th
Iowa State: 439 yards/game, 102nd
K-State: +11, 7th nationally
Iowa State: -6, 99th
K-State: 37.0 yards/game, 12th
Iowa State: 56.8 yards/game, 80th
K-State: 44.1 percent, 36th
Iowa State: 40.8 percent, 59th
K-State: 87.3 percent, 25th
Iowa State: 68.2 percent, 117th
Time of Possession
K-State: 34:23, 3rd
Iowa State: 29:19, 76th
There you have it. Iowa State has strong linebackers and a decent secondary, but overall is a pretty poor defense. The red flag is stopping the run for the Cyclones. Giving up 195 yards per game is not a good sign for a team about to face a K-State group that will be more than happy to grind it out.
Further, for as disciplined as Iowa State is supposed to be, the Cyclones don't measure up well in the last group of stats. Iowa State has turned the ball over an astounding 30 times this season, an average of nearly three times per game. For his part, Jared Barnett has thrown as many interceptions as has Collin Klein, but on 50 fewer attempts. To be fair, a lot of those turnovers belong to famed gunslinger Steele Jantz, who is no longer playing. But Barnett is no caretaker either.
Even worse for the Cyclones is the weather forecast. The always-accurate Kansas weathermen estimate the chances of rain tomorrow at 90 percent, with a high of 45 degrees. While it doesn't sound like we'll get the freezing rain and snow that was discussed, it's not out of the question, either. In any event, throwing the ball could be an adventure, and you know NIgel Malone, Allen Chapman and David Garrett will be chomping at the bit to get their hands on a few of Barnett's passes.
With a week to heal and facing a mediocre run defense, Klein and the Cats should be able to pound the rock and control the clock. Keep an eye on Jake Knott and A.J. Klein at linebacker for Iowa State, as they're as good a duo as you will see all season. If the K-State line is sloppy and doesn't stay on its blocks, Knott and Klein will make plays and stop drives.
For only the second time this conference season, K-State will be the Vegas favorite, this time at -11. If I were a betting man, I'd take Iowa State to cover on that, but only barely. It won't be much fun for the fans, but this team has been a joy to watch all season, and they deserve a full house, even if they won't get it. The Wildcats move to 10-2 with a 24-14 win over Iowa State.