The Iowa State Cyclones (3-7, 2-5) will play on the road as they face the struggling Kansas State Wildcats (3-6, 0-6) in a Big 12 matchup Saturday afternoon. Kansas State has won the last seven meetings, including a 32-28 win on the road on September 6, 2014 in the most recent matchup; Iowa State covered the line in that game as an 11.5 point underdog.
Iowa State lost for the fifth time in six games as they wilted late in a 35-31 home loss to #8 Oklahoma State Saturday. Kansas State dropped their sixth in a row with a 59-44 defeat at Texas Tech Saturday to remain winless in conference play. Kickoff from Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kansas is set for 12:00 pm ET and will be televised on Fox Sports 1. Kansas State is currently a 6 point favorite in this contest with the over/under set at 54.5 points.
Iowa State had Oklahoma State on the ropes but couldn’t deliver the knockout blow that would have sent the Cowboys spiraling from the ranks of the unbeaten. The Cyclones led 17-7 after one quarter, 24-7 at one point in the second quarter and 31-21 entering the final stanza before running out of gas. Iowa State was outgained 497-411, lost the first down battle 28-19 and the time of possession battle 35:27 to 24:33 in the contest. Both teams committed one turnover but the defense was worn out late in the game and it cost Iowa State.
The Cyclones are currently tied for 57th in the nation in passing offense as they average 231.5 yards per game while they are currently 49th in the nation with 185.3 rushing yards per contest. Iowa State is averaging 25.9 points per game and currently stands 94th in the nation in scoring defense by giving up 32.4 points per contest; that gives them a -6.5 point per game differential. Sam B. Richardson is completing 60.5 percent of his throws (127 of 210) for 1,420 yards with eight touchdowns and eight picks. Joel Lanning (75 of 139, 874 yards, 7 TD, 2 INT, 300 rushing yards, 3 TD) will likely make his fourth straight start in this contest after sparking the offense in his first outing. Freshman running back Mike Warren is leading the team on the ground by a wide margin as he has 186 carries for 1,070 yards and four scores while Joshua Thomas has 70 carries for 267 yards and seven scores; no other running back has more than 94 yards rushing. Allen Lazard leads the Cyclones with 46 receptions for 647 yards and four scores while Dondre Daley (24 grabs, 244 yards, 2 TD) and Jauan Wesley (25 grabs, 265 yards, 2 TD) are in the mix as well. D’Vario Montgomery (27 receptions, 335 yards, 2 TD) and Quenton Bundrage (32 grabs, 446 yards, 4 TD) are secondary options in the passing game. Cole Netten has hit 30 of 31 extra points and 12 of 17 field goals this season with a long of 51 yards.
Kansas State continues to fizzle in conference play as they haven’t been able to put together a solid performance in all three phases. The Wildcats found themselves in a 28-7 hole after one quarter and never made it all the way back. Kansas State was outgained 658-412, gave up 32 first downs while picking up 19 and turned the ball over twice while forcing one takeaway. The Wildcats did score on a kick return and rallied to cut a 24 point fourth quarter deficit to eight but couldn’t get back to even or take the lead.
The Wildcats struggle a bit offensively as they are averaging 173.6 yards per game through the air (112th in the nation) and 164.7 yards per game (73rd) on the ground. Kansas State is averaging 28.8 points a game and is allowing 32.4 points per contest, which is 95th in the nation; that leaves them a -3.6 point scoring differential. Joe Hubener has hit only 46.9 percent of his passes (97 of 203) for 1,403 yards with eight touchdowns and seven picks while running for 420 yards (second on the team) and 11 scores. Kody Cook, who is a receiver, played quarterback in the Oklahoma State game after Hubener went down and then in the Oklahoma game with the game well out of hand; he is 13 of 28 for 128 yards with two touchdowns and two picks while adding 103 yards and a score on the ground. Justin Silmon is the team’s third leading rusher with 65 carries for 325 yards and two touchdowns while Charles Jones contributes 94 carries for a team high 477 yards and three touchdowns. Dominique Heath is second in receptions for Kansas State with 22 receptions for 267 yards and three scores; Deante Burton (team high 24 receptions, 295 yards, 3 TD) and Cook (18 receptions, team high 296 yards, 2 TD) are good targets as well. Jack Cantele and Matthew McCrane have combined to hit all 28 extra points and 13 of 15 field goal attempts this season with a long of 44 yards.
Iowa State is 4-0 ATS in their last four after throwing for less than 170 yards, 4-1-1 ATS in their last six after a straight up loss and 6-2 ATS in their last eight against teams with a losing record. Kansas State is 2-5 ATS in their last seven after scoring at least 40 points in their last game.
This one is a gut call: Iowa State blanked Texas earlier this season while Kansas State lost by two touchdowns to the Longhorns. Both teams played Oklahoma State close and were thumped by Oklahoma. Kansas State just hasn’t shown enough to be considered a viable favorite in conference play and Hubener has struggled mightily in the passing game. Take the points and Iowa State in a tight game.