Kansas State vs Iowa State football: Five questions with the opponent

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Aug 30, 2013; Manhattan, KS, USA; North Dakota State Bison wide receiver Ryan Smith (4) runs by Kansas State Wildcats defensive end Alauna Finau (94) during the Bisons

Clones Confidential caught up with Jon Morse, editor of SB Nation’s Kansas State blog, Bring on the Cats. We asked him about how Kansas State dealt with their loss to North Dakota State last year, how the Wildcats are replacing some of their key losses, and matchups to watch for. Morse was extremely thorough with his answers, and this Q&A is a must read.

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CC: Iowa State was the latest to suffer a loss to North Dakota State, a strong FCS program. What was the culture surrounding the football team like when Kansas State lost to them last year and were fans generally piling on the loss or were they hopeful for improvement?

JM: I’ve been keeping an eye on some Iowa State chatter this week for that very reason, and honestly what I see is the same sort of thing in general. An initial “how can we possibly have lost to an FCS team?” reaction, slowly being tempered by the realization that North Dakota State isn’t exactly your typical FCS squad.

(And in fact, I’ve pointed out that they really AREN’T in some structural ways which are obvious if you look at their situation. Flagship football program of a state with no FBS competition, and in their neighboring states there’s still only one FBS program total. So they have a recruiting advantage that a lot of FBS schools would kill for.)

But I digress. With K-State last year, the fanbase recognized the problems immediately. The coaching staff was conflicted about how to use their talent, and the players were perhaps a little complacent. Those were problems which everyone knew were correctable, so K-State fans were pretty philosophical about the whole thing. They were angry, but they weren’t setting the house on fire.

It wasn’t until a few weeks later (the Texas loss) that they really got bent out of shape. It seems a bit different with Iowa State fans, mostly, I think, because they weren’t exactly expecting great things this year anyway. So this loss just downgraded their expectations even further.