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

3 of 3

Nov 2, 2013; Manhattan, KS, USA; Kansas State Wildcats defensive end Ryan Mueller (44) sacks Iowa State Cyclones quarterback Grant Rohach (3) during the second half at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. The Wildcats defeat the Cyclones 41-7. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

CC: What are the toughest matchups for the Wildcats on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball against Iowa State?

JM: Hard to say, really. With the Cyclones losing Tom Farniok so early in the game, we didn’t really get a good read on how Iowa State’s offensive line will look this week. There are still questions about the defensive line, especially with opposing offenses keying on Ryan Mueller. If Farniok’s not 100 percent, this probably isn’t even a concern for the Wildcats.

The weak spot Saturday, if there was one, was the secondary. There was a lot of very good individual play, but occasionally things seemed to break down, and Stephen F. Austin was able to get some big plays deep. SFA had four plays go for at least 30 yards, and that’s a concern. But with Iowa State losing Quenton Bundrage, I’m not sure that’s going to be a huge issue either. In short, Iowa State suffered two key injuries which directly affect what would have been the Clones’ best matchup possibilities.

As far as the other side of the ball… I didn’t see anything from the Iowa State defense or K-State’s offense that looks in any way positive for the Cyclones. If there’s one area I’d watch, it’s the relative inexperience of K-State’s rushing corps, but if Iowa State can’t beat K-State on the line, that’s not going to matter.

I just don’t see any way that this is a fun experience for the home crowd Saturday.

CC: Any thoughts on playing a Big 12 conference game this early in the season? Do you like it, not like it, or does it not matter and why?

JM: I don’t mind it that much, and in the big picture I think it’s helpful so long as it’s not a situation where you’ve got to go to Oklahoma in week two or some other such nonsense. The usual Snyder method of ramping up the schedule week-by-week until starting Big 12 play is fine, but I think an early challenge can help the team going forward. The biggest drawback is that it forces the coaching staff to show more early than they’d like. When you’ve got the talent, your need to rely on coaching genius is a little less important.

Jon Morse’s final thoughts: I look at the film, I look at the box score, and I just don’t see any way that this is a fun experience for the home crowd Saturday. Iowa State did not run the ball well against a North Dakota State defense, which is pretty good, but still isn’t K-State caliber even with the questions facing the Wildcat defense. Iowa State’s main aerial threat is out. Meanwhile, the Clones couldn’t stop the run at all and gave up 200 yards in the air on top of that.

I hate to say this, because although Iowa State is a primary “rival”, I really like them and I hate to be mean, but the betting line on this one is K-State -12. The only thing that’s going to prevent the Wildcats from covering is “Jack Trice Magic.”