2020 Iowa State vs. Kansas State Digital Media Guide
It's Farmageddon, and a trip to Arlington is at stake.
Betting the Big 12: Week 11
We’re in a little bit of a rut right now. It took everything we had to scrape out a 2-2-1 week. But I’m willing to cut some slack. Last week’s slate of games was terrible. This week is the exact opposite. Iowa State is playing it’s most important game of the season, and as a nightcap, Bedlam! Texas and Kansas being off the schedule means we get to ease our way into a can’t miss Big 12 double header. Get excited folks!
Kansas State (4-3) at #17 Iowa State (5-2)
Kickoff: 3:00pm | TV: FOX | The Line: Iowa State -11
This spread has so many red flags it’s bringing a NASCAR race to a stop. I think Iowa State will win the game, but I’m not expecting a lot of points. I think Matt Campbell is focused on winning the game no matter how ugly. To me, that means a lot of Breece Hall, and a safe passing game to limit mistakes from Brock Purdy. Kansas State will inexplicably keep it close, and I’m only basing this on some weird voodoo from a Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl windbreaker hidden in the visitor’s locker room.
Pick: Kansas State +11
#14 Oklahoma State (5-1) at #18 Oklahoma (5-2)
Kickoff: 6:30pm | TV: ABC | The Line: Oklahoma -7
This game doesn’t carry the shine that some of the recent editions of the rivalry, but I believe this could be the best on-field product in awhile. The contrast of styles is startling. Oklahoma State has played unexpectedly great defense all season. Oklahoma’s offense has absolutely caught fire. The Sooners are the more logical play, but Oklahoma State has just had a way of pulling out games. I’ll take Okie State on the basis of having Chuba Hubbard and Tylan Wallace available. Even in a diminished capacity, that should give them just enough offensive firepower to keep it close.
Pick: Oklahoma State +7
BEST BET FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY
Cincinnati -6 at UCF
The Bearcats look completely invincible right now. We had them to cover as 27.5 point favorites last week against East Carolina. It looked dicey for awhile, but Luke Fickell called a fake punt up 32 late in the 4th quarter. That tells me all I need to know about how he coaches and how important style points are to their hopeful playoff case. As for UCF, I don’t see how their defense stops Desmond Ridder and Co.
NFL PICK OF THE WEEKEND
Packers +2.5 at Colts
This brings me no joy as a Bears fan, but this isn’t overly complicated to me. Aaron Rodgers is the better quarterback. In fact, Phil Rivers has cost more than a few people money this year. Furthermore, this is the “reversal of fortune” game of the week. The Packers looked terrible against the Jags, and the Colts took care of the Titans. Buy low on Green Bay, and sell high on Indy.
PROP OF THE WEEK
Will Breece Hall be mentioned on a Heisman graphic by ESPN and/or FOX this weekend?
SEASON RECORD: 37-26-2 (+8.7 units)
Offensive Player to Watch: Brock Purdy
In one of the more rare occasions in Iowa State football, the Cyclones control their destiny with a chance at a Big 12 title game appearance on the line. With that being said, I suppose you could consider this weekend’s contest against K-State has some very big conference title implications. Brock Purdy will be the most important player on the Cyclone offense come this Saturday.
Brock Purdy has not had the season that everyone really predicted he would have. A statline of 1477 yards with 10 touchdowns and 6 picks is not inefficient by any means, but Purdy was widely considered to be a top 3 QB in the Big 12 this season and it is fair to say he has not quite lived up to our expectations.
Last week, Brock got off to a rough start with those 3 first half INTs, but he flipped a switch in the second half to lead the Cyclones to a big come-from-behind W. I don’t know what happened at half time, but it looked like we got the Brock Purdy of the past against Baylor late in the game, making plays with his arm and his feet, and not forcing the game.
Last year against the Wildcats, BP came out a little flat and the offense never really caught a rhythm and Kansas State has that kind of program that takes advantage of those kinds of things and wins ugly. Brock’s presence will prove monumental this year. As mentioned, we haven’t really gotten the full dosage of Brock Purdy quite yet.
Kansas State has a middle of the road Big 12 defense. It is perfect timing for Purdy to play like he has a fire under his ass and make some big boy plays. By ‘big boy plays’ I do not mean throwing it down the field every couple plays, but making the play that needs to be made at the time. He is at his best when he isn’t forcing the big plays, but just letting them come naturally. Whether he is running the ball or throwing the ball, Purdy will be a key factor in a big time game against Kansas State on Saturday (3 pm, FOX).
Defensive Player to Watch: Enyi Uwazurike
To put it lightly, Kansas State took it to Iowa State up front last year. The offensive line of the Wildcats dominated Iowa State at the line of scrimmage. That can’t happen again this year. Kansas State ran for over 200 yards last year and only threw for 58 yards. The game was completely dominated on ground.
Enyi Uwazurike is going to have to be one of the main reasons for the turn around in this seasons contest. Uwazurike hasn’t put up big numbers but he has been hanging around the opposing backfields a ton this season. To date, Uwazurike has piled up 22 total tackles and 3 sacks. He is continually forcing the opponent to check elsewhere when going to his side. Which is part of the reason Iowa State has a top 25 rush defense nationally. The defensive line has created havoc to allow Mike Rose and Jake Hummel roam free to swallow up the ball carries.
This week will be no different. Kansas State runs the ball 56% of the time and the passing game isn’t one of major threat to pick up chunk yardage. If Iowa State can shut down the run game and make the freshman Will Howard throw the ball and force him into some tough decisions, this game should go much better than the 2019 version. Though, this game tends to always have some fun twist and turns. Should be on par for 2020. Sit back and enjoy.
WRNL Interrogates: Bring On the Cats
1) Will Howard has come on in relief after Skylar Thompson’s injury, he has played well but has turned it over more than you would be accustomed to with Thompson. That could be attributed to being a freshman. Is Howard the guy of the future and maybe even exceeded some of his expectations?
The odds are that Thompson is done for good, although he could theoretically come back next year thanks to El Covidico. That means Howard’s already got the keys to the car, although — assuming he doesn’t decommit — Jake Rubley will push Howard very, very hard next season.
And, yeah, Howard has definitely surpassed our expectations. 40% of those turnovers weren’t even his fault. (Stone hands, don’t cha know.)
2) What is one thing Kansas State is going to look to exploit on Saturday against Iowa State?
The Cyclones’ offensive line. Against almost every team this year, K-State’s front four has spent the entire first quarter and most of the rest of the game forcing the opposing quarterback to either scramble or hurry.
The problem is that when I say “most of the rest of the game” I mean the second and fourth quarters. In most games, during the third quarter we’ve replaced the K-State defense with Folger’s Crystals to see if consumers can tell the difference.
Spoiler: you can. The defense usually looks completely lost coming out of the locker room after the half, and the third quarter has literally been when more than one opponent has gotten over half their yardage for the entire game. The obvious place to point the finger of blame here is halftime adjustments, but I don’t want to roast Joe Klanderman too much yet — because outside of the third quarter, the Wildcat defense has been absolute nails.
3) Give us one player that Iowa State fans may not know yet, but will after Saturday?
Ekow Boye-Doe. He’s a sophomore that K-State pilfered straight out of Lawrence, as one does, and he wasn’t even expected to be on the two-deep yet this year. Naturally, he’s now the anchor of the secondary, and his coverage skills are frankly among the best in K-State history... and some pretty good corners have played in Manhattan.
The entire secondary will probably surprise you if you haven’t watched them this year. We all know what everyone’s been used to the past few seasons against the Cats, but if you’re looking for big plays your best bet is on the ground.
4) Deuce Vaughn is 5 foot 5 and very versatile, it’s almost like he is another Tarik Cohen. What makes him so effective at his size?
Let me be clear: I am not knocking Vaughn when I say this. We’re not sure he’s that effective. He’s been effectively shut down for the last couple of games, and while part of that is being banged up it’s also obvious defensive coordinators are scheming to stop him.
He’s still incredibly dangerous, because he can hit holes bigger backs simply can’t get through and he’s wicked fast. As a viewer, the one thing that should make you clench in fear is seeing Vaughn open behind your defensive line; if that happens, there’s a not-insignificant chance you’re about to watch a touchdown.
5) Give us your prediction and why.
K-State wins 19-18 — when with 1:02 left in the fourth on third down —Brock Purdy trips over an offensive lineman’s ankle and fumbles, K-Stateuses 14 laterals to return the fumble for a score.
Why? Because it’s Farmageddon in Ames, that’s why.
(Real answer: I honestly have no idea what to expect, because I don’tknow how ready Vaughn is and I don’t know which Will Howard will show up.)
Opposing Player to Watch: Wyatt Herbert
Wyatt Hubert is, to put it mildly, a beast.
The junior defensive end is a big reason why Kansas State is 4-2 in the Big 12, despite fielding a defense that allows the third-most yards in the conference at just over 411 per game. Hubert has 5.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, and 18 total tackles in seven games. 2.5 of those came against the 14th ranked Cowboys, a game he finished with five tackles, 3.5 for loss. He also forced a fumble.
A quick look at his 2019 highlights shows how Hubert will command attention in the trenches on Saturday:
For the Cyclones to have any success on the ground, they will likely need to double up on Hubert early and often, a tactic Oklahoma State used after Hubert forced a fumble after sacking quarterback Spencer Sanders. Had it not been for an 85-yard scoop and score in the fourth quarter of their last game, the Wildcats would likely be entering this game at 5-1 in the Big 12. Simply put, they are not to be taken lightly.
HONORABLE MENTION - Wide Receiver/Punt Returner Phillip Brooks is explosive if he finds any seam at all. He leads the Big 12, averaging over 20 yards per return, and was named Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week on October 26 after returning four punts for 189 yards and two touchdowns against Kansas. That set a school record.
2020 Game VIII: #17 Iowa State vs. K-State Football FARMAGGEDON Preview
Iowa State fans have long had a terrible taste in their mouth about K-State. Maybe it’s the pull-your-hair-out and yell-at-the-television game from 2017, where our friends the #Big12Refs stole one, or the 2015 debacle that Joel Lanning fumbled, er pissed down his leg.
Now don’t get me wrong, I woke up that Sunday morning (in 2015), with word that Paul Rhoads was about to be fired. Nothing against the man, but this FARMAGEDDON matchup has changed the directory for both programs. First it was the Rhoads firing – which led us to our main man Matt Campbell.
Then in 2018, by the grace of God, Iowa State made a frantic fourth quarter comeback, and beat K-State for the first time in TEN YEARS. What also happened do you ask? It was Bill Snyder’s last game as the legendary coach for the Purple Pride.
The rear view mirror may show K-State as the big brother over Iowa State, but my front windshield displays a more talented, deeper, and mentally tough Iowa State team in 2020.
The needle has moved in the right direction folks. And maybe Matt Campbell is our version of Bill Snyder (let’s leave that story for another day)…
When we last left off….
That Baylor game showed me something. Aside from needing another beer, our Clones gritted it out.
Brock Purdy started the game with three interceptions, but the guy just kept on grinding. Think back to the last two decades of Cyclone quarterbacks – how many would have hung their heads, faltered, or just plain given up?
There is nobody I would rather have as my quarterback right now than Brock Purdy. He has shown the resiliency to dust himself off and come back for more. The defense also staked their claim as one of the best in the Big 12, by allowing an impressive 34 yards on SIX consecutive drives, and capping it off with a white-knuckled, game-sealing interception by Mike Rose.
Was it pretty – no? But this team showed resilience, and mental fortitude to claw back and take what is in front of them – a Big 12 title. Just like those quarterbacks of the past, we as fans have been used to losing those kinds of close games. I got news for ya folks – this team won’t let it happen.
Chris Klieman enters his second year at the helm in Manhattan, after coming over from FCS powerhouse North Dakota State. He continues right where Bill Snyder left off – winning games in the trenches, with defense and special teams, and not making mistakes.
Not surprisingly at all, K-State is 2nd in the Big 12 in turnover margin, and are middle of the pack in every other statistical category. Their defense is their calling card, and they have a tremendous front-four, led by All-American to-be Wyatt Hubert.
The offense – well, has been lackluster to say the least. First, four-year signal-caller Skylar Thompson got knocked out for the year, then COVID and the transfer bug hit the Wildcats by surprise. So far, NINE different players have entered the transfer portal during the season, and an unconfirmed SEVENTY-FIVE different players have had COVID since it began. This team is young, as K-State has had to break in 17 new first-time starters, namely their entire offensive line.
The Wildcats laid an egg in their first game, losing to Sun-Belt terror Arkansas State, then ran off four straight victories, including a monstrous upset of #3 Oklahoma in Norman. Since then, they have been put to the test, with back-to-back losses against West Virginia and Oklahoma State, only scoring 28 points combined in those two affairs.
Iowa State still leads this all-time series 50-49-4, but K-State has won an amazingly 11 of the last 12 contests (thanks a lot Snyder). The ISU/KSU matchup #FARMAGGEDON started in 1917! It is the 8th LONGEST continuous series in CFB History, and THE Longest Never-Interrupted Series in all of Football.
Iowa State Offense
Iowa State continues to lead the Big 12 in yards per play, but Saturday might be a different story. K-State still allows over 160 yards on the ground, and expect future should-be-Doak-Walker-award-winner Breece Hall to get his standard 100+. I can’t say this enough, this offensive line has been most pleasant surprise of 2020. They are young, hungry and just getting started.
While Breece will get his, he will also have to work around the edges (which hasn’t been a problem), as K-State plays fundamentally sound football, but doesn’t have the speed to contain #28 on the outside. With that being said, Kene Nwangwu has been superbly efficient, and look for him to break a few.
If I were the Wildcats, I would stuff the box and force Purdy to find any open receivers. That means a heavy dose of Xavier Hutchinson and Charlie Kolar. I don’t expect the bubble screens to get much traction, and I’m still looking for Wide Receiver Option #2 to step up. Who will it be?
First Key to Victory – Have to Convert in the Red Zone
This will be one of those games where possessions will be limited, and opportunities scarce. K-State loves to run down the clock, and Iowa State needs to put 7s up on the board (not 3s), when given the chance to score inside the 20.
Now to Brock Purdy. He has put up pedestrian numbers, but also doesn’t have the weapons he had in the past (Lazard and Butler). I’m not making excuses for the man – he needs to do better, and we can’t afford to dig ourselves a hole like last game. Look for Iowa State to focus on the run early, and slowly work Brock into play-action. He needs to make smart throws, and if something is not there – live to see another down and throw it away.
The Wildcats are not as athletic as some in the Big 12, but they do have a solid front-six. K-State runs a 4-2-5 look, and return 53% of their tackling stops from 2019. Vinton, Iowa native Drew Wiley mans the inside, and has played in 44 games. He has impressed so far with seven tackles-for-loss and 3.5 sacks. K-State has done a good job at getting to the quarterback, ranking top-25 in nation with quarterback take-downs.
The man that has made that a living (and will on Sundays), is defensive end Wyatt Hubert. Only a junior, Hubert leads all non-seniors in the FBS with 17 career sacks, and has 5.5 on the year (leads Big 12). Believe it or not, the two men behind Hubert and Wiley who lead the Wildcats in tackles both come from the same high school in Georgia.
In fact, one of them (Justin Hughes), was forced into a medical redshirt in 2019, but has come back for his senior year with a vengeance. He and Elijah Sullivan are both very heady players, who do not make mental mistakes for first-year defensive coordinator Joe Klanderman.
While the majority of sacks come from the first line of defense, K-State does blitz occasionally off the edges. Their secondary carries with it two starting seniors and three transfers, and are led by strong safety Jahron McPherson.
The corners have been stout, as Justin Gardner has two interceptions, including one pick-six against Kansas. Overall, just what you expect from a Kansas State defense. The numbers don’t blow you away, but they play sound, fundamental football, and do not make mental lapses of judgment.
The Verdict – EVEN
This matchup is a lot closer than you may think, as K-State can hold their own up front, and this Cyclone offensive line will have their work cut out for them. Again, Brock needs to take what the defense gives him, and let Breece run free!
Iowa State Defense
An interesting matchup for Iowa State fans on Saturday, as most Big 12 offenses display fast-tempo and athletic receivers. This K-State team does not.
The Wildcats had to completely overhaul their entire offensive line (zero starters return from 2019), so look for another work-man-like performance from the likes of Jaquan Bailey, Enyi Uwazurike and Will McDonald. You will also notice that K-State likes to carry a full-back and tight-end for majority of their offensive sets, and take advantage of the extra blocker with the quarterback run.
Second Key to Victory – Contain Deuce “Can’t Get Loose” Vaughn
This will be a challenge for defensive coordinator Jon Heacock and company. K-State has very few playmakers, but running back Deuce Vaughn is one of them, and is utilized tremendously in the passing game. It will be important for Iowa State to continue to contain the 5-foot-5 jitterbug on the outside, and wrap up in the open field.
Look for the Iowa State defense to play base for as long as they can, as Heacock is tremendously productive at making in-game adjustments. If Iowa State can contain the running game (another key), then we will be in for a good night’s rest. Look for Mike Rose to continue his All-American type 2020 season, and a player at all times shading the quarterback in spy coverage.
The secondary I’m not too worried about, but look for their tight end (especially in the red zone). I expect our do-it-all safety Greg Eisworth to spend most of his time near the line of scrimmage, helping in run support. Our corners will be fine on their own islands, and look for a lot of disguised blitzes, as all that will do is scare the F out of a true freshman quarterback.
Believe it or not, this Wildcat offense has TWO true freshmen at both starting quarterback and running back. After Skylar Thompson went down with a season-ending injury in October, Will Howard now has the keys at quarterback.
Howard started off with a bang, earning Big 12 newcomer of the week in a road win at TCU, but has fallen back to earth in recent weeks. He had a 3-interception affair against West Virginia, and a costly fumble that gave Oklahoma State the lead last week, but all in all, is still very raw. What Howard lacks in the passing department (54% completion rate), he makes up for with his legs, and is second on the team in rushing yards.
Getting back to Deuce Vaughn, this Darren-Sproles-look-alike is lethal, both as a rusher and pass-catcher. He is third on the team in catches, and has put together three games of at least 150 scrimmage yards. We can’t let Deuce get loose in this one.
The offensive line lost every single starter from last year, but so far have been serviceable. They allow the second-least amount of sacks in the Big 12, but only pave the way for a 3.7 yard-per-carry average on the ground.
The receivers have been a huge disappointment, namely Malik Knowles, who was expected to be their top threat in 2020. Sadly, only three wide receivers have caught ten or more balls on the year, as Chabastian Taylor is their top downfield threat, and Phillip Brooks is fast as all get out. Tight End Briley Moore (Transfer from UNI) is their best receiving option, but has been battling a back issue. If he plays on Saturday, he will be the #1 threat for Mr. Howard.
This offense will not WOW you with explosive plays, but will do what K-State always does – methodically move the ball down the field, eat the clock, and convert in the red zone. In fact, K-State is one of the best in the nation at converting inside the 20, as they started the year with 24-straight scores.
Oh, and another thing – they don’t beat themselves. That means no penalties, and no turnovers, as this Courtney Messingham-led offense (yes, him) is 7th best in the country at giving up the ball.
The Verdict – Iowa State
Again, a closer matchup than you might think, but the fact that K-State has a brand-new offensive line, and a true freshman quarterback, ya gotta give the nod to Iowa State here.
One of the best in the world at special teams, this coaching staff preaches special teams more than Donald Trump tweets. In fact, since 1999, no FBS program has more non-offensive touchdowns that K-State, and they have four already in 2020.
Gone is return man Joshua Youngblood (last year’s special teams player of the year), but not due to graduation. After playing in the first few games, the sophomore decided to transfer, and in his place is another good one – Phillip Brooks.
What you see in that GIF is 1 of 2 punt return touchdowns in a single game for this dangerous weapon. He and Malik Knowles are also very strong at returning kicks, and well, Iowa State is not very good at stopping it.
Third Key to Victory – Please, no Special Teams Mistakes
I expect our punters to use the sidelines to their advantage, and for Corey Dunn to continue to squib his kickoffs, keeping the ball out of the hands of the return men.
Oh, and there’s more. K-State is one of the best at blocking kicks (great), as they blocked punts in their first three games, and another kick in game #4. Woof
Verdict – K-State by a Freakin’ Landslide
Hold your breath if you have to…
Winning Scale from 1 to 10
As I said in my opening piece, the Bill Snyder gorilla is off our back, and this Iowa State team has stared adversity in the face – and beat it. The fact that K-State has been battling COVID-19 the last few weeks is a huge advantage for ISU, as you know their lack of prep and practice has hurt them.
For this week, on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the most overrated running back in ISU history (Bo Williams, 4-star Florida transfer with 2 career carries) to 10 - the greatest player (and running back) in all of ISU history (Troy Davis), I give the Cyclones an Alexander Robinson chance of winning.
PS Breece just isn’t quite to Troy Davis level yet…
You can’t underestimate the lack of K-State’s preparation for this game, and with ISU playing in the friendly confines of Jack Trice (fans or no fans), that bye week couldn’t have come at a better time to rally the troops.
I see a low scoring affair, as this will be a defensive slugfest, with few breakaway plays, and the kicking game may shed a brighter light than we would like. Iowa State’s defense can make K-State one dimensional, but I’m confident that K-State’s defense can not.
Breece “The Beast” Hall is just too good to let that happen.
Iowa State 24
Kansas State 20
Hit us up with your predictions in the comment section below!
Letter from the Editor
Two out of three. That’s all Iowa State needs to lock up its first-ever bid to the Big 12 Championship game. That starts the with the first must-win game this weekend against Kansas State. Beat the Wildcats, and K-State is out of the running, and you only need to beat Texas to punch your ticket. No pressure.
Farmageddon is an absolutely outstanding name for this rivalry, even if the actual rivalry has never felt the same as Iowa State’s other actual rivalries, or even felt as meaningful as games against a team like Oklahoma State (consider this the official petition to replace K-State with Oklahoma State as our Big 12 “rival'“). However, rivalry or not, this game is absolutely critical for the Cyclones.
Fortunately, Kansas State is bleeding. Not only are they bleeding wins after upsetting Oklahoma early in the season, but the offense is bleeding production as Deuce Vaughn has slowed down dramatically over the past few games, and the program is bleeding players, as important pieces of the puzzle have been slowly trickling out of the program and into the transfer portal over the last few months.
All that said, this team scares the shit out of me, because it’s Kansas State, and they do what they do. Run the ball, kill clock, play solid defense, and absolutely dominate on special teams. That fourth one is what really has me scared.
Iowa State is objectively more talented than the ‘Cats on both sides of the ball, and has a great matchup on offense, as the Cyclones’ conference-leading rushing attack goes up against a K-State defense that gives up 160 yards on the ground per game. However, they do have some very solid cornerbacks, and if they decide to stack the box and let their corners man up on the recievers, Iowa State could have issues.
The wide receivers and tight ends have both had a lot of trouble getting open against man coverage all season, as highlighted by the horiffic offensive output against Louisiana, and you bet Kansas State has watched that film.
However, where K-State can make up a lot of ground is on special teams. Iowa State has obviously struggled for most of the season on kickoff and punt coverage, and Kansas State continues to be extremely dangerous on returns. I’m not saying it’s probable, but I would put the odds of a special teams touchdown for KSU somewhere north of 25%.
However, as long as Tom Manning doesn’t over-think this and continues to lean on the best running back in college football while trying to stretch the field a little bit with Xavier Hutchinson and the tight ends up the seams, and wraps up tacklers in the open field, Iowa State should have a good shot of winning this game.
It’s probably just going to be really unpleasant for basically the entire game.
Iowa State - 27
Kansas State - 17