Kansas State at Iowa State (10/8 @ 7:30 PM EST)
Line: Kansas State -2
Run for your lives; it’s Farmageddon!
The rivalry is returning to Ames this year, continuing a tradition started in 1917. Kansas State comes in as a slight favorite and finds itself a ranked 20th in the latest polls. This is primarily due to the play of former Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez. In his first season leading the Wildcats, he already has rushed for 469 yards and a whopping 9 touchdowns. That’s four more touchdowns and almost as many yards as the entire Cyclones team. His success is helped by uber-talented running back Deuce Vaughn. Deuce has over 700 combined yards and has been hammering defensive lines all year. While the KSU pass offense is an afterthought, Martinez has been efficient when they have thrown the ball. His zero interceptions are part of why the Wildcats have the second-best turnover ratio in the country.
One big red flag for this talented KSU team is their loss to Tulane (their first FBS win since 2010). Something happened there that caused the entire offense to shut down, only putting up a measly 10 points after being favored by 16.5. Perhaps this was a classic trap game before they played (and beat) powerhouse Oklahoma. Fluke or not, It showed the nation that the dominant Wildcat run game could be contained
On the other side, The Iowa State cyclones enter this game at 3-2 and are looking to make a statement against their nationally ranked rival. They’ll heavily rely on their pass game, highlighted by future NFL receiver Xavier Hutchinson. He’s been quarterback Hunter Dekkers’s favorite target by far, with over 500 yards and five touchdowns already. He led the Big 12 in receptions last year and is on pace to do so again this year. Hutchinson is the most dangerous player the Cyclones have, and the Wildcats will need to find a solution for him to get a win in Ames.
While ISU has talent at the running back position, they’ve been plagued by injuries. Freshman Cartevious Norton has been out since the season opener, and Jirehl Brock left last week’s game early with an ankle injury. If both are unable to go Saturday (which is still unknown), unproven Deon Silas or Eli Sanders will likely get the start. This could be significant as the Cyclones have failed to generate much offense against the more formidable opponents this season, being held to under 12 points against Iowa and Kansas. Their offensive line will also have to find an answer for dominant Wildcat defensive end Felix Anudike-Uzomah, who has been causing chaos in opposing backfields all year with 5.5 sacks thru 5 games.
This game will come down to Iowa State’s defense versus Nebraska’s run game. The Cyclones have been great against the run, but they haven’t faced anything close to what the Wildcats will be bringing to town on Saturday. Given Iowa State’s injury issues at running back, I’m expecting to see Kansas State blanket Xavier Hutchinson and force someone else on ISU to step up.
We’re giving up the points and taking the KSU in this one. Even if the Cyclones get Norton and Brock back, it’ll likely only be in a limited capacity. Giving up just 2 points for the Wildcats is an absolute steal here, so get on it quick!