November 1, 2007

The Game Up Close: K-State at Iowa State

Biletnikoff Award semifinalist Jordy Nelson and the Kansas State football team will head north for the first of back-to-back road games this weekend against an Iowa State team that the Wildcats defeated 31-10 in Manhattan a year ago. A K-State victory would equal bowl eligibility, while a loss to the Cyclones, who are winless in conference play, would mean embarrassment and mathematical elimination from the race for the Big 12 North.

The Game Up Close: Kansas State (5-3, 3-2) vs. Iowa State (1-8, 0-5)

Saturday, Sept. 29, 2:30 p.m. kickoff
Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, Iowa.
Versus Network

Iowa State rush offense vs. Kansas State rush defense
The numbers:
KSU rush defense: Allowing 127.1 yards per game, No. 7 in the Big 12, No. 35 overall
ISU rush offense: Averaging 127.8 yards per game, No.10 in the Big 12, No. 91 overall

The breakdown:Sure, K-State's rush defense has been shaky as of late, but the Cyclones' ground attack has been just as unpredictable. Barring last week's 156-yard performance against Missouri, Iowa State has averaged just more that 105 yards per game in Big 12 play. The Cyclones have failed to crack the 100-yard rushing mark twice in the last three weeks, and Cyclone running backs Jamicah Bass and Jason Scales have combined to find the end zone just seven times in 2007. That being said, Iowa State's running game looked much improved against Missouri last week, gaining more than 150 yards for just the second time this season, but whether the Cyclones' sudden improvement on the ground is here to stay or not is yet to be determined. Alexander Robinson has inserted himself in the Cyclones rushing attack recently. The freshman tailback gained 149 yards last week after compiling just 96 yards in all of Iowa State's previous games combined. What should worry the K-State rush defense most, however, is the running ability Iowa State quarterback Bret Myer, who has gained more than 300 yards rushing in 2007. The Wildcats have struggled with fleet-footed quarterbacks so far this season, and will need to find a way to keep Myer in the pocket this weekend.

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