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
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
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
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
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.
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