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KICKING THE TIRES: Iowa State University


Kansas State Wildcats (2-0) VS. Iowa State Cyclones (1-1)

Farmageddon II
Arrowhead Stadium — Kansas City, Mo.
Saturday, Sept. 18, 2010 — 11:10 AM CST


Farmageddon II: The Cyclones Strike Back. Now showing at a local, newly renovated NFL stadium near you. Cast list and leaked script after the jump.

P.S. Go ahead and use this as the open game thread, too. TB, Panjandrum and I will be too busy drinking in the Arrowhead parking lot later this morning to put a dedicated one up.

Key Players

Kansas State

Carson Coffman (29 of 42, 346 yards, 4 TD, 0 INT)

Brodrick Smith (9 catches, 113 yards, 3 TD)

Daniel Thomas (49 carries, 371 yards, 4 TD)

Wild Cards
Brandon Harold (14 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 sack, 1 PBU, 1 FF)
Alex Hrebec (20 tackles, 1 TFL, 3 PBU)
Terrance Sweeney (5 tackles, 1 INT, 5 PBU, 1 FF)

Iowa State

Austen Arnaud (47 of 80, 462 yards, 1 TD, 5 INT; 23 carries, 65 yards, 1 TD)

Darius Darks (10 catches, 88 yards, 1 TD)

Alexander Robinson (30 carries, 145 yards, 2 TD; 10 catches, 91 yards)

Wild Cards
Collin Franklin
A.J. Klein
(26 tackles, 2 TFL)
Jake Knott (15 tackles, 1 TFL, 2 INT, 1 FF)

Key Stats

Rushing Offense
Kansas State (14) > Iowa State (96)

Passing Offense
Iowa State (53) > Kansas State (89)

Total Offense
Kansas State (36) > Iowa State (81)

Scoring Offense
Kansas State (23) > Iowa State (105)

Rushing Defense
Kansas State (91) > Iowa State (104)

Pass Efficiency Defense
Kansas State (26) > Iowa State (32)

Total Defense
Iowa State (73) > Kansas State (80)

Scoring Defense
Iowa State (67) > Kansas State (68)

Net Punting
Kansas State (48) > Iowa State (55)

Punt Returns
Iowa State (61) > Kansas State (71)

Kickoff Returns
Kansas State (9) = Iowa State (9)

Turnover Margin
Kansas State (23) > Iowa State (101)

Pass Defense
Iowa State (29) > Kansas State (59)

Passing Efficiency
Kansas State (14) > Iowa State (109)


In some categories, these two teams are mirror images of each other. In others, K-State has a clear and decided advantage. In fact, it's hard to find any areas where Iowa State has a distinct edge, which surprised me when I first looked at the numbers because I expected to find a closer match-up than they're showing.

As you can see above, K-State has a sizable advantage in its bread-and-butter, rushing offense. Pair that with Iowa State's sub-100 rushing and scoring defense, and you have the recipe for a game tempo that K-State should control.

Now add a dash of Austen Arnaud and I really start to like the Wildcats' chances. While I certainly acknowledge that Arnaud is a dual-threat quarterback who can be a formidable opponent when he's on top of his game, he has a frustrating (for ISU fans) tendency to have brain farts at the worst possible times.

Thus, his 1:5 TD-INT ratio this season, good for 12th in the Big 12 in terms of pass efficiency.

Now he gets to face our 26th-ranked pass efficiency defense, keyed by pass rusher Brandon Harold and ball hawks Terrance Sweeney and David Garrett. And if Tysyn Hartman and Emmanuel Lamur can return to form, it could be a long day for Arnaud.

My one big worry today is that Alexander Robinson might get loose. He's both ISU's leading rusher and their leading receiver. We showed signs of being susceptible to big running plays in Chris Cosh's defense in both games this season. And our rushing defense isn't much better than ISU's. Tight end Collin Franklin also is a concern.

Ultimately, this game will come down to time of possession and turnovers, like most games this season. By milking the clock with Thomas and William Powell, Bill Snyder will try to keep Arnaud and Robinson on the sidelines.

And he will emphasize protecting the ball. Iowa State linebackers A.J. Klein and Jake Knott are tackling machines, and Knott collected two interceptions in his first start ever. Snyder will not call plays that could lead to Carson Coffman turning the ball over, though, and coupled with Arnaud's propensity for doing so, that should win the game.

As for special teams, I'm not going to discuss them until they actually do something. Block a kick, run back a return, something. Even Ron Prince had good special teams. Figure it out, coaches.

Despite my optimism, I still think this will be a closer game than some because ISU likely has been stewing over the finish of Farmageddon Pt. I since Lamur blocked that extra point. I think that gives them an emotional edge, which will keep them in it longer than they should be.

That said, it shouldn't be the nail-biting thriller we got last year.

Prediction: Kansas State 30, Iowa State 25

BracketCat's Projected Starters

QB: Carson Coffman
FB: Braden Wilson
RB: Daniel Thomas

WR: Brodrick Smith, Aubrey Quarles, Tramaine Thompson
TE: Travis Tannahill
OL: Manase Foketi, Zach Kendall, Wade Weibert, Kenneth Mayfield, Zach Hanson

DL: Brandon Harold, Prizell Brown, Raphael Guidry, Antonio Felder
LB: Alex Hrebec, Jarell Childs
DB: Troy Butler, Terrance Sweeney, David Garrett, Tysyn Hartman, Emmanuel Lamur

K: Anthony Cantele
P: Ryan Doerr
R: William Powell, Tramaine Thompson

Elsewhere in the Big 12...

I dub this "Challenge Week" for the Big 12. With one notable exception, those teams continuing non-conference play all are facing decent mid-major tests this week that should start to indicate whether they will be contenders or pretenders.

Meanwhile, Nebraska, a future member of my least favorite conference, will be taking on a member of my second-least favorite conference in a battle that I really couldn't care less about. I'm rooting for the meteor.

And of course, K-State, Iowa State, Texas and Texas Tech will get Big 12 play started bright and early.

Obviously, the Jayhawks fell back to earth with a thud late last night — an outcome I would've predicted, by the way — but I think the rest of the conference will hold its own, excepting the Baylor Bears, who have bitten off way more than they can chew. (And they wonder why they're never bowl-eligible?)

Perhaps my faith in Colorado is misplaced, but if my predicting victory for them can bring real-life desolation to their football schedule, then I'm calling my marker and predicting them to run the table, baby. All ya gotta do is visualize it, Hawk!

Hawaii at Colorado (FCS)
Buffaloes 30, Warriors 27

Nebraska at Washington (ABC)
Cornhuskers 23, Huskies 21

Air Force at Oklahoma (FSN)
Sooners 17, Falcons 9

Baylor at TCU (Versus)
Horned Frogs 27, Bears 9

Tulsa at Oklahoma State
Cowboys 29, Golden Hurricane 16

Florida International at Texas A&M
Aggies 41, Golden Panthers 20

San Diego State at Missouri (FSN PPV)
Tigers 32, Aztecs 15

Texas at Texas Tech (ABC)
Longhorns 14, Red Raiders 13

All helmet images are courtesy of The Helmet Project. Check it out — it's pretty cool.