For the first time in three weeks, Kansas State is playing a real, respectable football team with real respectable fans. In fact, Iowa State just so happens to have one of the best blogs here at SB Nation, so today we welcome CanAzn to BOTC to answer a few questions.
You've probably seen him lurking in the comments section some this week, and I'd highly recommend heading over the WRNL to read their excellent preview on tomorrow's game and some of their other great works. Personally, this Mark Twain-esque piece on Deloss Dodds putting ISU-UT on the Longhorn Network was one of my favorites.
Before you do any of that, though, read our Q&A. Then head over to WRNL to check out my answers to their questions.
AA: There's been some talk about Kansas State being the biggest game on Iowa State's schedule. Is that the the way you guys feel, too, and should that make us extra scared? Trust me, we're already nervous.
This is a big game for the fans, but likely no bigger than last week's game against TCU for the players. It's tough to lose four straight games by 8 points or less and it's even tougher to do it late like all the games have been. The fans are salivating about the fact Kansas State is back in Ames for the first time since 2007 and this one got circled immediately after the schedule was released. If there is any extra motivation for the players it's due to facing the #5 team in the country and not Kansas State specifically, though Farmageddon is pretty awesome.
AA: How much more dangerous is the Iowa State passing attack with Jared Barnett as opposed to Steele Jantz?
CA: Last week I would have said it was no more dangerous for opposing defenses and a lot safer for the offense, but after Barnett's long completions against TCU it's kind of hard to make an accurate forecast. Iowa State isn't known for having deep threats so until proven otherwise I think that game was a bit of an anomaly. What Barnett does do better is make quicker decisions with the ball; whether that be through the air or with his feet while scrambling. If last week is any indication, he is delivering the ball on time more than Jantz did (as well as not turning it over as much) and that will make any quarterback dangerous.
AA: We've seen how good Jake Knott and A.J. Klein are, but it doesn't really seem like Iowa State has anything special on the defensive line. How do you expect the Cyclones to fare against K-State's versatile running game?
CA: The sneaky thing about Iowa State's defensive line is their length of time in the system as well as the newly found depth. Jake McDonough is a fifth-year senior who knows this system inside and out and had as many sacks last game (2) as he did all of last season. Cleyon Laing is virtually the same. Rony Nelson, Roosevelt Maggitt, and Wilie Scott are all three years or more in the system, so what this group lacks in talent they make up for in experience. Couple that with young players like Cory Morrissey, Nick Kron, and David Irving and this line can run 12 deep in a given game and create disruption late into the 4th quarter.
AA: Kansas State's defense this season has mastered the bend-but-don't-break approach, giving offenses some yards but forcing them to be mistake-free for long periods of time in order to score. Does Iowa State have the discipline and patience on offense to put together long, sustained scoring drives?
CA: This team has been capable of showing patience while moving down field against Iowa the last two years but fell victim to Jantz's turnovers in 2012. Barnett has yet to show is ability to be patient with a defense like Kansas State's but he's a smart quarterback who played in this system in high school and knows where everyone needs to be. He should be able to pick up yards between the 20s, but whether or not Iowa State gets in the end zone is dependent on which line is more physical in the red zone.
AA: What kind of epic motivational speeches or other tricks do you expect Paul Rhoads to throw at us this game, and do you see Farmageddon being decided by one score for the fifth straight year?
CA: I expect Paul Rhoads to make some sort of sacrifice to the weather Gods to have lightning strike a Kansas State player pregame. Also, I would expect the following plays throughout the game: Fake punt inside our own 40, Fumblerooski with former TE Carter Bykowski bumblin' and stumblin', as well as The Annexation of Puerto Rico. Yes, Farmageddon will be decided by one score for the fifth straight year. It's the way it was meant to be, and I wouldn't have it any other way.