Fresh off a dominating 35-12 win over the West Virginia Mountaineers, the K-State Wildcats’ first win in over 40 days, the Wildcats renew their “Farmageddon” rivalry with the Iowa State Cyclones on Saturday afternoon at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
Junior quarterback Jake Waters, who had seen his playing time dwindle in previous weeks in comparison to sophomore quarterback Daniel Sams, had his best game of the year against the Mountaineers. He tossed three touchdown passes — two to junior wide receiver Tyler Lockett and one to senior wide receiver Tramaine Thompson — and completed 10-of-13 passes for 198 yards en route to the win.
Waters also had 55 yards rushing, just 31 shy of senior running back John Hubert, who led the game in rushing.
“I was pleased with the way Jake [Waters] and John [Hubert] ran the ball today,” K-State head coach Bill Snyder said after the game. “Jake needed to do that, and he has done that before. It is beneficial, because it is important to us. It is important to their teammates and the football team that both of them can do both. When you look at their stats, both of them are positive in the run game.”
Probably the most notable difference offensively was that the Wildcats had Lockett and Thompson back after the receiving duo had missed the previous two games. Waters said that having those guys back was a huge boost to the offense.
“It was big,” Waters said. “Whenever you can have two guys like that, it is big for your offense. You want to get them the ball, and that definitely opened up the run for Hubert.”
Now the Wildcats are preparing to face off against a 1-6 Cyclones team. K-State and Iowa State have historically played very tough, close games despite whatever either team’s record or ranking was. The last five matchups have been decided by a combined 29 points, and it’s been seven years since a game was won by double digits.
“Our ballgames have been close for the last four years, and we have been fortunate to win each one, but we won by one, by six and by seven twice,” Snyder said. “It has always been a one-score ballgame. If they get you on your heels, you can be in trouble.”
Snyder went as far as to say in his weekly press conference on Tuesday that he thinks Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads is better at his job than he is.
“I do not know how much Paul [Rhoads] and I are alike,” Snyder said. “I think he is a better football coach than I am. He is an awful good person that works extremely hard. I think the similarities are somewhat like that. Their players are accustomed to a demanding program. They work extremely hard and they play hard.”
The Cyclones’ best weapon this year has been redshirt sophomore quarterback Sam B. Richardson, who has been a breath of fresh air for a program that has struggled to find a consistent signal-caller. Richardson has racked up 1,350 passing yards and 11 touchdowns this year and has a 124.4 rating.
Snyder believes that the 1-6 record isn’t indicative of how good Iowa State, a team that’s lost four of its six games by single digits, actually is.
“They have had some struggles but had the opportunities to win those ballgames, too. They could be looking at a far better record than what they have now,” Snyder said.
Iowa State is statistically in the bottom half of nearly every category in college football. And with just one win this year, it’d be easy to think that the Wildcats will have a simple win. But Snyder has too much respect for Rhoads and company to simply breeze through this week.
“Good programs eliminate mistakes and Iowa State is an awful good program. It will not be the easy task that the numbers might indicate,” Snyder said.