Kicking the Tires: Iowa State

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

K-State looks to win its second consecutive game after last week's 35-12 triumph over West Virginia. Meanwhile, Iowa State is reeling.

Programming Note: Thanks to a ridiculous schedule this week, there will be no Charting the Waters post.

Before I started writing this, it didn't register with me that Iowa State is only 1-6 this season.

No, I don't conceptualize ISU as such a powerhouse that it's unfathomable that they could have played seven games and only won one. But ever since Gene Chizik left Ames, I've assumed a general level of competence in Iowa State. That's not the case this year.

Not only has Iowa State not been winning this year, the Cyclones have been drubbed the last two weeks, losing to Oklahoma State and Baylor by a combined 129-34 margin. Before those games, the Cyclones looked competent in nearly taking down Texas in Ames, then giving Texas Tech a game in Lubbock.

But the losses are piling up in Ames, and they've been getting worse. With bowl eligibility no longer possible hopes quickly fading and key injuries mounting, it's an open question how much Iowa State still has to play for.

Players to Watch

K-State

Passing: Jake Waters, 86-135-5, 1,234 yards, 9.1 yards/attempt, 7 TD, 176.3 yards/game

Rushing: John Hubert, 99 carries, 444 yards, 4.5 yards/carry, 5 TD, 63.4 yards/game

Daniel Sams: 100 carries, 538 yards, 5.4 yards/carry, 7 TD, 76.9 yards/game

Receiving: Tyler Lockett, 39 receptions, 586 yards, 15.0 yards/reception, 4 TD

Iowa State

Passing: Sam Richardson, 114-205-6, 1,350 yards, 6.5 yards/attempt, 11 TD, 192.9 yards/game

Rushing: Aaron Wimberly, 82 carries, 388 yards, 4.7 yards/carry, 2 TD, 64.7 yards/game

Receiving: Quenton Bundrage, 29 receptions, 441 yards, 15.2 yards/reception, 6 TD, 63.0 yards/game

Aaron Wimberly is out for the K-State game, so the rushing duties likely fall to Shontrelle Johnson. On the season, Johnson has 35 carries for only 110 yards, or 3.1 yards per carry. Johnson injured his neck in 2011 and hasn't really been the same since. He had 504 yards on 115 carries (4.4 yards per carry) last season.

As you can see, Sam Richardson has put up decent raw numbers numbers this season, but the per-attempt yardage and completion percentage are lacking. In fact, taking away Quenton Bundrage's 97-yard touchdown reception on a horrendous coverage breakdown by Texas, Iowa State's longest reception on the season was Justin Coleman's 59-yard touchdown reception against Northern Iowa.

Iowa State has few, if any, gamebreakers. On top of that, the Cyclones are beat up on the offensive line, with Jacob Gannon and Kyle Lichtenburg out for this weekend's game. Against a K-State defense that has limited its last three opponents to 302 rushing yards on 91 carries (3.3 yards/carry), that's probably not going to get it done.

K-State Advanced Statistics

F+: 34th

Offensive S&P+: 25th

Rushing S&P+: 36th

Passing S&P+: 26th

Drive Efficiency: 26th

Standard Downs S&P+: 28th

Passing Downs S&P+: 41st

Defensive S&P+: 28th

Rushing S&P+: 64th

Passing S&P+: 11th

Drive Efficiency: 36th

Standard Downs S&P+: 37th

Passing Downs S&P+: 12th

Special Teams F+: 6th

Iowa State Advanced Stats

F+: 65th

Offensive S&P+: 69th

Rushing S&P+: 42nd

Passing S&P+: 72nd

Drive Efficiency: 65th

Standard Downs S&P+: 52nd

Passing Downs S&P+: 68th

Defensive S&P+: 56th

Rushing S&P+: 100th

Passing S&P+: 9th

Drive Efficiency: 63rd

Standard Downs S&P+: 59th

Passing Downs S&P+: 21st

Special Teams F+: 11th

Looks like a matchup for Sams, doesn't it. Iowa State is actually pretty decent against the pass, and I've been impressed somewhat by their cornerbacks, at least when they weren't racking up pass-interference penalties against Case McCoy. It's not that I don't think Tyler Lockett and Tramaine Thompson can get open against Iowa State, but those rushing numbers. My goodness, those rushing numbers.

As noted above, K-State has been stout against the run the last three games. But as the advanced stats indicate above, K-State is even better against the pass this season. Other than the three disasters against Baylor, the raw numbers against the pass are relatively impressive, too. K-State's last three opponents are 55-103-1 for 836 yards, 8.1 yards/attempt. That includes Baylor's ridiculous numbers.

Conclusion

K-State is a 17-point favorite coming into this game. The F/+ picks peg K-State winning approximately 35-20. Iowa State always makes me nervous, because they're usually capable of uglying up the game and taking K-State to the wire. And the Cyclones may do that again this year, but it would be uncharacteristic of the Iowa State we've seen this year, especially in October. The Wildcats should get their second Big 12 win fairly comfortably.

K-State 41, Iowa State 17

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