Iowa State’s Front Seven vs Collin Klein
This will be the biggest matchup of the game for both teams. Whoever wins this battle, will likely win the war. Collin Klein is the biggest reason for Kansas State’s success because of his ability to run the ball. Klein is the best running quarterback in all of college football and has racked up over 1000 yards on the ground this year. Klein isn’t shifty or elusive but hard-nosed, strong, and tough.
Iowa State’s defense struggled against the run last week against Oklahoma as they gave up 253 rushing yards. It will be cold and wet in “The Little Apple” on Saturday so you can expect the Wildcats to run the ball more than normal. Iowa State has two of the best linebackers in the Big 12 and they both will have to make big plays for an ISU victory. The Clones can’t let Klein break tackles and give him extra yards after contact. In order for a victory, the Cyclones will have to limit K-State’s QB, Collin Klein.
Iowa State’s Offense vs Themselves
For most of the year and including last week, the Cyclones have killed themselves with turnovers and penalties. Iowa State ranks 9th in the Big 12 in turnover margin (given up the most TOs too) and have the fourth-worst amount of penalty yardage. Where does K-State rank in those stats? Second in turnover margin and they have the least amount of penalty yards per game in the league.
Iowa State can’t afford to lose the turnover battle again. They will need to secure the ball, especially since it will be wet and force some Kansas State turnovers. Also, last week the Cyclones had several false start penalties (mostly by Kelechi Osemele). If ISU continues to go backwards with penalties, they will not win the game.
The Battle of Special Teams
I have a feeling this game will be close and it may come down to special teams. Last week, the Cyclones missed an extra point (first miss of the season for Guyer) and muffed a kickoff which gave the Sooners an extra three points before the half ended. Ultimately, it didn’t matter in the Oklahoma game as the Sooners won by 20 but it likely will matter on Saturday.
It will be cold and wet, so don’t expect an offensive explosion by either Iowa State or Kansas State. Every point will matter. Neither team can afford to miss a “gimmie” or extra points. Both teams can’t give the offense short fields because of blown coverage or shanked punts.