Prep begins for rivalry showdown


Photo: Jake Lovett/Iowa State Daily

ISU quarterback Jared Barnett is tackled by Kansas State defensive back David Garrett in the second half of Iowa State’s 30-23 loss to the No. 11 Wildcats. Garrett had eight tackles and broke up a pass in the Wildcats’ ninth win.

Jake Calhoun

The age-old question won’t go away for the ISU football team: How does one defeat a team that seems unbeatable?

At his weekly news conference Monday, ISU coach Paul Rhoads said No. 6 Kansas State is the prototypical team “that doesn’t lose games,” providing a challenge that yields few answers.

“Seventy-one points, generally,” Rhoads joked of how much his team would need to score to win in the Big 12. “Right now, that’s the bench mark for this year — 71 should win it.”

Iowa State has not beaten Kansas State since 2007 — losing four straight years by an average of 5.75 points.

Rhoads said even though the Cyclones (4-1, 1-1 Big 12) had good preparation going into their upset 37-23 win against then-ranked Texas Christian last Saturday, they will need that same caliber of attentiveness heading into this weekend.

Jared Barnett, who led the team in its win last weekend and is 4-3 as a starter, said he got too high on himself when he faced Kansas State last season — two weeks after pulling off the biggest upset in school history by beating No. 2 Oklahoma State.

“I think I just settled there,” Barnett said. “I wasn’t focused on being better, I think I was content with where I was. That’s why it led to a decrease in my playing ability.”

Barnett finished the final three games of the season completing 48.4 percent of his passes following that win, which was his last as a starter before last Saturday.

Having already played against Kansas State, Barnett said, will be beneficial for his preparation. Of everything he has seen on film from Kansas State (5-0, 2-0), Barnett said there aren’t any drastic changes in the defensive schemes he faced last year.

“We’re probably going to have the same game plan that we had last year; we’re going to have to execute it better,” Barnett said. “That was our problem last year: We didn’t execute our plays well.”

Klein and Klein

No, ISU linebacker A.J. Klein is not related to KSU quarterback Collin Klein, but their physical style of play does draw parallels.

“We kind of like the guys that come right at us, and I know he’s exactly like that,” said linebacker Jake Knott. “I feel like it’s easier trying to do that than trying to get a guy that’s 150 pounds and shifty like Jarvis West or something.”

The reigning Big 12 Co-Defensive Player of the Year, A.J. has 39 tackles, one sack and an 87-yard touchdown return — tied for the longest ever in NCAA history by a linebacker — through five games this season.

Collin has bowled opponents this season as a running-inclined quarterback, averaging 81 rushing yards per game — seventh-most nationally among FBS quarterbacks.

“He’s a very physical player, which presents challenges to our defense,” A.J. said of Collin. “He has his strengths and weaknesses, and we just have to find those weaknesses throughout the rest of the week before game day.”

While the KSU passing game has sunk to 111th nationally, A.J. said Collin doesn’t get enough credit as a passer.

“He’s a very talented quarterback in both the run game and the pass game,” A.J. said of Collin. “His ability in the run game has overshadowed his passing ability, but that’s because people want to concentrate on one facet of his game, where he can do both, and he’s very dangerous.”