Earlier this week, Jug of Snyder teamed up with Fansided’s Clones Confidential lead editor Brian Spaen to preview Saturday’s match up between K-State and Iowa State. Today we conclude this conversation with scoring predictions (spoiler alert – we don’t agree on the outcome). Click here to read the first half of our conversation. For a refresher, we left off on how Iowa State will deal with K-State’s defensive pressure:
Brian (Clones Confidential): If KSU continues its “bend-but-don’t-break style of defense,” then ISU needs to attack the defense with short passes first, and then break out the running game later. This is something they’ve actually been doing all year. Paul Rhoads said before the season that with a solid stable of running backs (going three-deep) there would be a lot of running. It triggered the upsets over Texas Tech and Oklahoma State last year. This is also the Wildcats’ biggest weakness on defense (93rd passing defense vs 21st rushing defense).
Iowa State’s been coming out with short passes and doing it often since Tulsa. The running game hasn’t exactly been what all of us expected, White and Johnson of course lead all rushers but Jeff Woody has been hurt most of the season. I thought it could have been the gameplan just for Steele Jantz to throw the ball a lot, but when Barnett started the previous game Rhoads called his first seven of 10 plays as passes. Perhaps it caught TCU off-guard; broken coverage downfield resulted in two lengthy touchdowns that set the tone of the game.
With Barnett at the helm, everyone feels safer with the turnovers. Jantz is a high-risk, high-reward passing quarterback; while he has a better arm he takes chances he shouldn’t. In his two seasons, the touchdown/interception ratio is 17-18. Barnett looks a lot quicker this year making decisions to pass – he only made one mistake late in the second quarter last week. If the Cyclones can get into that offensive gameplan, avoid turnovers, and not get hit with penalties (they have 22 this season compared to Kansas State’s nine), they should have some success against the fifth-best team in the nation.
Now that we know about the matchups, what do you believe will happen on Saturday afternoon in Ames?
Dave (Jug of Snyder): One thing I see going right for the Cyclones will be their ability to bottle up tight end Ryan Tannehill. He was a monster last weekend against KU, but that amazing linebacker duo has the ability to shut down the middle of the field. However, still you need an army of AJ Kleins and Jake Knotts to stop the Wildcats’ option attack of Collin Klein and John Hubert. Plus, both players have relatively fresh legs as they only logged ten carries apiece last week – and both still managed to gain over 100 yards. I see a solid 225 yards rushing for the team overall, compared to 125 yards for Iowa State. Collin Klein will also manage at least two strikes of 30+ yards to receivers Chris Harper and Tyler Lockett. This game has been very close in recent years, but Iowa State hasn’t faced a K-State offense this dangerous in awhile.
Additionally, you need to prepare yourself for at least one Iowa State fumble in the backfield resulting from a sack or other spectacular defensive play. Sorry Brian, but it’s going to happen. The historian in me says it’ll be a six point game, but the homer in me says 17 point spread. I’m picking K-State over Iowa State, 26-14. Feel free to tell me I’ve called this score brilliantly.
Brian: Haha, I do agree that we will see a lower scoring game like your final. I believe the Iowa State defense is better overall than most people expect. They will force turnovers, and with a packed house at Jack Trice Stadium being sold out, along with potential rainy weather conditions, I believe mistakes will happen on both sides of the ball. This defense is better than most people expect, and I believe after seeing both Klein and Hubert a season ago, both the team and coaching staff knows what’s coming on the ground. Your prediction of KSU’s running total over 200 yards could be close like a season ago, but I anticipate close to 200 yards on the ground with Barnett, Johnson, and White.
History says that Iowa State will win this game; one forecast called for tornadoes on Saturday, and the Cyclones are an outstanding 1-0 when they’ve had to evacuate the stadium and then come back to play a football game against Colorado in 2005. The Cyclones will miss the occasional extra point but nail a long field goal, and the defense will force a late big mistake to upset Kansas State 23-20, to keep the dream season continuing.
Read more of Brian and Fansided’s Iowa State blog, Clones Confidential.