Iowa State (3-2, 0-2) at Kansas State (4-1, 2-0)
Date: October 8th
Time: 6:30 pm
Place: Jack Trice Stadium
Line: Kansas State (-2)
When we last left off...
Iowa State played a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad football game against Kansas last week. If you want to pour bleach into your eyeballs and rewatch or read about it again, go ahead. We aren’t going to dwell on that anymore here.
Kansas State Tidbits
Kansas State is off to a 2-0 start in the Big 12. They are coming off a big win in Norman against Oklahoma and then taking down Texas Tech last weekend. They are currently the 20th-ranked team in the AP poll.
Iowa State leads the all-time series 52-49-4. Iowa State has won the last two games in the series.
Iowa State Offense
This is an Iowa State offense that is spinning its tires in the mud and not making any significant progress. In the last two weeks, we have seen this group take a step backward in a ton of areas most noticeably the offensive line. A few weeks ago this group looked like they were going to be great and now they are looking like they couldn’t stop a 90-year grandmother from shoplifting. This is extremely concerning because that 90-year-old could probably get a sack on Hunter Dekkers as well. The Cyclones allowed 5 sacks on Saturday and allowed the Kansas defensive line to disrupt many other plays all afternoon. If this Iowa State offense is going to get back on track this group is going to have to take a significant step forward and fast.
Now to the running game. If Jirehl Brock is out for any significant time and Cartevious Norton remains out paired with the offensive line woes. The Cyclones may be in big trouble here. While Eli Sanders and Deon Silas have some potential we just didn’t get much from them last Saturday. This team will miss Brock more than one thinks. Now for the worst part of it all. Iowa State’s rushing attack currently sits 110th in the nation. That Can’t happen if this team is going to make a move in the standings.
As for Hunter Dekkers and the passing attack. We are currently seeing a young quarterback learn on the fly here. Some of the sacks given up by Iowa State this past weekend may have been avoided if Dekkers escaped the pocket but his presence in the pocket surely will get better as he plays. Interception potential remains a bit of an issue. Miscommunication is one of the many reasons for that. Dekkers will need to do a better job with his wide receivers and be on the same page, as it has been very noticeable and the main reason for the interception that led to a Kansas touchdown this past weekend.
First Key To The Game - Score Touchdowns
This is pretty simple. Iowa State has to be better in all areas offensively and put the ball in the end zone. Do not rely on your special teams to score your points.
Kansas State Defense
Not to pile on for Iowa State but Kansas State is going to bring one of the best pass-rushing defensive ends and linebackers in the country to Ames on Saturday. Felix Anudike-Uzomah and Khalid Duke each had 3 sacks this past weekend. Anudike-Uzomah is now up to 5.5 sacks on the season which is tied for 5th nationally. The Wildcats have gotten to the quarterback a total of 14 times this season.
— Big 12 Conference (@Big12Conference) October 3, 2022
K-State’s Felix Anudike-Uzomah and Khalid Duke each had 3.0 sacks on Saturday. It was the first time in school history the Wildcats had two players with 3.0 sacks in the same game.#Big12FB x @fanudike x @KDuke111 pic.twitter.com/ImoINk27U7
Statistically, Kansas State sits in the middle of the country on the defensive side of the ball. They are not dominant in stopping the run or the pass. They just get the job done when they need to and allow their offense to do the rest of the work. One stat that does jump out is 9 interceptions on the season. With Iowa State having issues throwing the ball to the other team, Kansas State has shown they are good at taking advantage of that thus far. It is something Iowa State will have to avoid if they are going to have success on Saturday.
Another name for Iowa State fans to keep an eye on Saturday is Kobe Savage. The junior safety is second on the team in total tackles. He has two interceptions so far as well as a forced fumble. One week ago he was named Big 12 Newcomer of the week for his play against Oklahoma.
The Verdict - Kansas State
Iowa State is in a rut offensively and I am not sure how they can fix it in one week. It is going to take some drastic changes or tweaks to the game plans to get this group back on track. If Brock and Norton are still out this weekend, I see this Iowa State offense doing more of the same from the past two weeks. Hope I am wrong here.
Iowa State Defense
There is not much more you can say about this defense other than they are elite.
The Iowa State defense continues to be one of the best in the country and that is with all these young guys that we were all worried about weeks ago. The Cyclones are only giving up 15 points per game and the fourth fewest total yards in the country. This group is coming off a week where they allowed one of the best offenses up till last week to only score 14 points and pile up 213 total yards. That includes only giving up roughly 40 yards of total offense in the second half.
Second Key To The Game - Make Kansas State Go Through The Air
The formula is simple in this one for the Cyclone defense. Stop the run once again and make the Wildcats beat you through the air. It’s been the formula all season long but in games, the Wildcats have won their run game has been explosive.
Kansas State Offense
Death by a thousand runs is incoming. Kansas State is the 5th best rushing attack in the country. Averaging around 259 yards, the ground per game, and 6 yards per rush. This is going to be one of those games you put your hard hat on and go to work.
The Wildcats' run game is led by Deuce Vaughn. The junior running back has piled up over 600 yards on the ground with 3 touchdowns. This year you can add another lethal threat with him. Nebraska transfer Adrian Martinez has been freed from Lincoln and has been comfortable ever since. Martinez has 439 yards rushing, and 9 rushing touchdowns. He also has added 654 passing yards and three touchdowns.
Can Kansas State throw the ball with consistency in this one? Iowa State has proven they can play defense at a high-level time and time again. Can Adrian Martinez make enough plays through the air when he will have to? We shall see.
The Verdict - Iowa State
Give the Cyclones the edge here. This will be a defensive slugfest I am afraid and this offense from Kansas State is nothing Iowa State hasn’t seen before. Will Vaughn and Martinez have their moments on the ground? Probably but how they limit those will be the key tomorrow. I think the Iowa State defense will do enough to keep this team in the game per usual.
What is there left to say for Iowa State and its special teams? Iowa State needs to perform an exorcism on its special teams unit. I am afraid that is the only thing that can fix them right now. Unless the second coming of Jesus happens and he can play all areas of special teams for Iowa State.
The Verdict - Kansas State
Kansas State here by a mile. Just don’t give up a special teams score and limit the mistakes as much as possible here.
Winning Scale from 1 to 10
This one is about as scary as going into a McDonalds at 1 am, you never really know what is going to happen and odds are it’s not going to be good.
Pray for help.
Iowa State’s offensive and special team woes are the talk of the week and rightfully so. Unfortunately, I think it may be too big of an issue to fix in one week and Iowa State has a ton of work to do in these areas. While I do think this one is going to be close ultimately I see Kansas State pulling this one out unless Iowa State has some sort of offensive revelation during the game.
Kansas State - 17
Iowa State - 14
Give us your predictions in the comments below!