It’s time once again for FARMAGEDDON! Corn versus wheat! Cyclones versus Wildcats! Campbell versus Klieman! Purdy versus Thompson! Hall versus Vaughn! Hummel versus Green! Willie the Wildcat versus whatever that Cyclone mascot is!
It should be a good game. Or will it be? From 2009 to 2019, the average margin of victory in this series was a little over a touchdown, 7.6 points. Take away K-State’s 41-7 win in 2013 and the average margin of victory in the other nine games is 4.67 points. One might assume that means this game will be close, but the 2020 game between these two teams would indicate otherwise. Iowa State won in Ames last season 45-0. K-State fans can blame Covid or that their starting quarterback was out for the season with an injury, but Iowa State easily took care of business against K-State. Now, Skylar Thompson is back for the Wildcats and they looked pretty good against Oklahoma, so is there a chance for redemption against the Cyclones this season? That’s not an easy question to answer.
Both teams are 3-2 on the season and have played top-four teams. Iowa State lost by 10 points to Iowa, and K-State lost by six points to Oklahoma. Since it’s early in the season, there aren’t any common opponents yet, so I took a look at the numbers to see if I could find any advantage(s) that K-State might have over Iowa State in this game. I didn’t find much for Wildcat fans to be optimistic about, but here’s the breakdown anyway.
Not Great for K-State
K-State’s rushing offense versus Iowa State’s rushing defense
K-State ranks 58th in the country in rushing yards at 167.8 yards per game. Iowa State’s rush defense is excellent, ranking 10th in the country, giving up 90 yards per game. Skylar Thompson may have to get involved in the running game on Saturday for the Wildcats to run the ball successfully.
K-State’s passing offense versus Iowa State’s pass defense
K-State ranks 102nd in the country in pass offense at 192.6 yards per game. Skylar Thompson out-performed this number in last week’s game, and he’ll likely have to out-perform it if the Wildcats are to get the victory on Saturday. Iowa State is also excellent against the pass, ranking number two in the country in pass yards allowed at 144.2 yards per game.
Iowa State’s rushing offense versus K-State’s rush defense
Iowa State ranks 43rd in the country in rush offense at 182.6 yards per game. K-State’s rush defense is pretty darn good, ranking 7th in the country and giving up 86.4 yards per game. This unit statistic is the one advantage K-State has over Iowa State in the game. If the Wildcats can stop the run, will they be able to stop the pass?
Iowa State’s passing offense versus K-State’s pass defense
As good as K-State’s run defense has been, the pass defense has been pretty porous. The Wildcats give up 256.2 yards per game passing, which ranks 103rd in the country. Iowa State isn’t great at passing the ball, but they rank 46th in the country, gaining 259.4 yards per game. Guess we can chalk up about 258 yards passing for the Cyclones!
Iowa State’s unit numbers may be a bit skewed in a positive direction because they played Kansas two weeks ago, but they’ve also played a strong schedule otherwise. Their defense is legit and K-State is going to have to find some unique ways to move the ball. If they do, K-State’s defense should be able to keep them in the game.
Either way, I don’t predict a blowout like last year, but I’m picking Iowa State to win a close game in Manhattan.