It’s become a dark season for Iowa State (1-6, 0-4) with injuries and inexperience riddling the team from success, and there’s plenty of questions heading into Manhattan, Kansas, when they take on Kansas State (3-4, 1-3), who were able to grab their first conference win of the season against West Virginia last week.
Iowa State Cyclones vs Kansas State Wildcats
Bill Snyder Family Stadium | Manhattan, Kansas
KICKOFF – 2:30 PM CT | TV – FOX Sports 1
The Wildcats simply haven’t found a break until they were able to pull away from the Mountaineers at home last Saturday. Jake Waters and Daniel Sams rotate at quarterback, giving the team a dynamic difference in passing and speed. Waters has thrown for seven touchdowns; Sams has ran it in for seven. But don’t discount Sams – despite having more interceptions (4) than touchdown passes (3), he is efficient completing 30 of 40 passes.
For the Cyclones, they’ll be picking one of two quarterbacks at game time. If Sam Richardson is able to recover from his hard hit last week, he’ll likely be out there. Otherwise, Grant Rohach will get his first start of the season. Rohach saw playing time in blowout losses to Baylor and Oklahoma State in the past two weeks.
Running back Aaron Wimberly, who has been a gem in a disastrous season, will be sitting out for the second straight game. Sophomore RB DeVondrick Nealy saw the most playing time last week, and we’ll see how much Shontrelle Johnson and James White are out on the field.
Expect more designed runs for Richardson if he is at out there at QB. The banged-up offensive line will have another new starting lineup and he will run more if they can’t protect him while he’s trying to pass the ball.
Richardson currently has the most rushing attempts on the team. No, that’s not a good thing.
What to watch for
Kansas State’s defense will be the weakest Iowa State has faced since playing Texas. If Richardson is out there, expect a balanced offensive attack that should be able to produce barring a complete collapse at offensive line or Richardson’s health declining during the game.
Either way, with any sort of a running game being relied on the quarterback position, the Cyclones will be forced to throw the ball. Look out for Quenton Bundrage, who will have to have a major impact for the team to keep up with the Wildcats.
Farmageddon could be an ugly affair if Iowa State can’t tackle on defense. They finally showed signs of life in the second quarter against Oklahoma State, and they’ve always fared better against passing quarterbacks.
Unfortunately, the Cyclones will have to deal with two different styles of quarterback, with Daniel Sams likely getting more time because he’s a better matchup. They’ll move all over the field, and they’ll likely get over 500 yards of offense unless the defense can prevent yards after contact and get some stops.
ISU’s offense will need to move the ball, and it’s going to be tough with a banged up Richardson, an inexperienced Rohach, a running back position that has been a complete disappointment, and an offensive line that’s been hobbled with injuries and it’s prevented them from playing well together.
Everything is against the Cyclones heading into this game. Don’t expect the outcome to be any different.
KS ST 49, IA ST 13 (Odds: KS ST -17, O53)