college football picks Iowa State vs. Kansas State 9-18-10

September 17, 2010


DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 18th, 12:00 p.m. (et)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Arrowhead Stadium (77,000) — Kansas City, Missouri. Television: FSN. Home Record: Iowa State 1-0, Kansas State 2-0. Away Record: Iowa State 0-1, Kansas State 0-0. Neutral Record: Iowa State 0-0, Kansas State 0-0. Conference Record: Iowa State 0-0, Kansas State 0-0. Series Record: Iowa State leads, 49-40-4.

GAME NOTES: Big 12 action will kick off for two teams this Saturday afternoon when the Kansas State Wildcats battle the Iowa State Cyclones at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.

The Cyclones’ 2010 campaign opened with a successful, 27-10 victory over Northern Illinois. However, coach Paul Rhoads’ team was unable to build off that victory, as his squad stumbled in its next matchup against rival Iowa (35-7).

So far, so good for coach Bill Snyder, who is in his 19th year at Kansas State. His Wildcats opened the season with a 31-22 victory over UCLA, and followed that win with a convincing, 48-24 decision over Missouri State.

In regards to the all-time series between the two schools on the gridiron, the Cyclones hold a solid, 49-40-4 edge over Kansas State.

After posting 27 points in their victory over NIU, the Cyclones were no match for the tough Iowa defense this past weekend. Iowa State tallied just 275 total yards in the setback, and finished the game with three turnovers.

After churning out 138 rushing yards in the opener, the ground game for Iowa State was bottled up by the Hawkeyes defense, as the team finished with just 78 yards in the setback. Alexander Robinson, who totaled 97 yards and two scores on the ground against NIU, did very little against Iowa, rushing for just 48 yards on 11 carries.

The passing attack was even worse, as Austen Arnaud threw for just 197 yards and one score. The veteran signal caller only completed 20-of-44 passes and was intercepted three times, and sacked twice.

Although the season is still young, the Cyclones seem to have a major problem against the run. The Huskies totaled 156 yards on the ground against coach Rhoads’ defense, and the unit’s performance was much worse against Iowa, as the Hawkeyes punished Iowa State for 275 rushing yards and three scores on the ground.

The Cyclones were completely overmatched in the loss to Iowa, as the defense also struggled against the pass, allowing two more touchdowns through the air. Overall this unit allowed Iowa to convert on 50 percent of its third downs, and all four of its red zone chances.

In two games the Wildcats have showcased a dangerous ground attack that has punished both UCLA and Missouri State. Daniel Thomas has done most of the work in the backfield for KSU, rushing for 234 yards and two scores against the Bruins, while following up that sensational outing with 137 yards and two more touchdowns against Missouri State.

Clearly coach Snyder has no problem riding Thomas throughout the season, which means Carson Coffman’s job as the team’s quarterback will be to manage the game, and so far he has done that. After posting modest numbers against UCLA, the signal caller joined in the offensive explosion against Missouri State, as he threw for 280 yards and three touchdowns.

Brodick Smith, who hauled in two of Coffman’s touchdown passes, finished with six receptions and 99 yards, while Aubrey Quarles added 82 yards and one score on a team-best seven catches.

The success of the offense has taken away from the glaring issue on the defense, and that is this unit’s inability to stop the run. After being punished on the ground by UCLA, the Wildcats once again had trouble in that area, as Missouri State churned out 166 yards on 4.0 yards per attempt.

However, against the Bears, that was not the lone problem for this unit, as Missouri State also torched the Wildcats through the air with 281 yards. Even though the team was victorious, the defense still looked sloppy and unmotivated, finishing with just one takeaway and one sack.

Kansas State also allowed the Bears to convert on all three of their red zone chances, and combined with UCLA’s 2-for-2 showing in that area, it would seem that this defense has a problem defending inside its own territory.

Kansas State needs plenty of help defensively, but even though the unit is not clicking at the present moment, the Wildcats should still win this contest. Iowa State has been unable to stop the run this year, and that means Thomas and company should see plenty of chances early and often.

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