After a promising 3-0 start to the season, the Kansas State football team (3-2, 0-2 Big 12) has endured back-to-back losses against undefeated Oklahoma (6-0, 3-0 Big 12) and undefeated Oklahoma State (5-0, 2-0 Big 12) to push the Wildcat record to 3-2. Heading into “Farmageddon” against Iowa State (3-2, 1-1 Big 12), can the Wildcats come out of their toughest three-game schedule with a win?
Luckily for K-State, it looks like star super-senior quarterback Skylar Thompson will still be manning the offense after coming back from injury against Oklahoma. Thompson showed an immediate upgrade from back-up sophomores Will Howard and Jaren Lewis, who were rotating in at quarterback since Thompson’s injury in week two.
Against the Sooners, Thompson finished 29-of-41 with 320 yards and three touchdowns. While Thompson was not 100 percent healthy and had no rushing attempts, his ability to throw the ball helped the Wildcat offense reach 31 points — higher than the 28 points per game going into the contest.
Iowa State, who started the season at No. 5 in the AP Poll, has struggled to meet those high expectations coming into the year. Once thought to rival Oklahoma for the top spot in the Big 12, Iowa State now sits 3-2 after losses to Iowa and Baylor.
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With offensive stars in quarterback Brock Purdy and all-American running back Breece Hall, Iowa State was slated to make a possible college football playoff run. Now sitting fifth in the conference, Iowa State is just looking to get back into the top 25. Look out for the Collegian’s “Know Your Opponent” article later this week for more information on the Cyclones.
Here’s what to look out for this week:
RB1: Under the Lights
K-State vs. Iowa State will feature one of the best running back match-ups in the nation with Iowa State’s Breece Hall and K-State’s Deuce Vaughn. In a game known for tough battles, which running back will gain the edge?
Hall has made a name for himself as one of the best running backs available in the next NFL Draft, but Vaughn has proven himself as one of the most valuable players for his team in all of sports. While we know they won’t actually go head-to-head, Saturday’s game could give Vaughn more recognition if he can keep up with the all-American.
This past year, Iowa State stomped on K-State with a 45-0 blowout win that featured a four-touchdown second quarter. Heading into this weekend, will the Wildcats use that loss to fire themselves up and get payback for the embarrassment the Cyclones caused?
Iowa State leads the rivalry between the two agriculture schools — nicknamed “Farmageddon” — with a 49-51-4 record over 104 years. Perhaps the Wildcats can make up for this past year’s defeat and move closer to a .500 margin against their long-standing foes.
Cleaning up Mistakes
Between false starts, bad penalties and turnovers, the Wildcats haven’t looked like their typical disciplined self this year, leading to games where they score 31 points yet still lose to a team like Oklahoma.
To win big games, good teams can’t have 12 men in the huddle or get lost in the scheme on defense. Missed tackles, holding calls and bad blocking can, and will, turn wins into losses.
Greener Grass Ahead
Saturday’s match is the last of a three-game stretch against arguably the best three teams in the Big 12. While Big 12 title hopes might be in the rearview, K-State still has a chance to end the season with a great record and a bowl game.
No matter the results of Saturday’s game, K-State needs to keep its head up moving forward as the schedule gets easier. Three of the next four games after Iowa State are against Texas Tech, Kansas and West Virginia — arguably the bottom three teams of the conference. If the Wildcats end up 3-3 after Iowa State, they should hopefully find themselves at 7-3 or 6-4 heading into the game against Baylor on Nov. 20.
K-State takes on Iowa State at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 16, at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. If you can’t make it to the Bill, the game will be on ESPN2 and Wildcat 91.9.