Jeremy Gustafson

There were plenty of things the Iowa State Cyclones could have done against Kansas State on Saturday.

They could have stopped the Wildcats’ seven-game winning streak in the series. They could have answered critics by defeating a top-notch program. They could have become bowl eligible for the second-straight season.

But it was the things the Cyclones couldn’t do that led to a 42-3 pounding by Kansas State.

“It was a game totally dominated by Kansas State,” ISU head coach Dan McCarney said. “You don’t need a stat sheet to figure it out.”

Iowa State couldn’t run the ball, collecting only 23 yards on the ground in the game. It couldn’t stop the run, giving up 343 rushing yards.

Iowa State couldn’t sustain any long drives, gaining only 11 first downs to Kansas State’s 30. The Cyclones could hardly even get the ball, with the Wildcats taking nearly 40 minutes in time of possession.

“I didn’t see much of anything that was good today,” McCarney said.

Neither did many of the 40,228 Cyclone fans, most of whom were gone by the end of the third quarter.

“Our fans deserve better than what they saw [Saturday],” McCarney said.

The task now for the Cyclones, who lost their second-straight game for the first time since losing five in a row in 1999, becomes tougher.

With No. 21 Colorado coming to town this week, a game at Kansas and a meeting with rival Iowa to end the season, winning one more game and becoming bowl eligible is no given.

“Our backs are against the wall,” ISU tight end Mike Banks said. “And six [wins] doesn’t guarantee anything. You’re eligible but that doesn’t mean you’re going anywhere.”

Kansas State was able to run away with the game, literally because the Cyclones were unable to stop senior running back Josh Scobey and sophomore quarterback Ell Roberson.

Scobey ran for 172 yards on 32 carries and two touchdowns while Roberson racked up 131 yards on the ground on 22 carries. He also found the endzone twice.

“All it comes down to is we didn’t perform,” ISU defensive lineman Willie Judd said. “No one performed; no one earned their scholarship.”

While the Wildcats enjoyed success on the ground, the Cyclones were shut down. Everything Iowa State tried was stopped, the longest run from scrimmage for Iowa State was a 16-yard scramble by quarterback Seneca Wallace on a fumbled snap. Despite that Wallace finished the game with 12 carries for minus-four yards.

Ennis Haywood, who entered the game leading the Big 12 in yards per game with 120.4, was completely taken out of the game. On 10 carries Haywood managed just six yards.

“We knew it was gonna be hard to run the ball,” Haywood said. “You gotta give their defense credit.”

The Wildcats defense has earned credit, despite the teams 4-4 record, Kansas State is giving up only 67.1 rushing yards per game.

“When they play against the run, you know they’re gonna load the box up,” Haywood said. “They’re always gonna have an extra guy out there we can’t block.”

Things were so bad for Iowa State that at one point in the third quarter Kansas State had lost more yards (49) on one play than the Cyclones had gained in the game. It wasn’t until late in the third quarter that the Cyclones broke the 50 yards gained mark.

The Cyclones also failed to answer any critics who claimed Iowa State couldn’t win big games. Since 2000, Iowa State is 14-6, but none of those wins has come against a ranked team.

The Cyclones have been horrible against the Wildcats the past two seasons, losing by a combined score of 98-13, and even though Kansas State isn’t ranked right now, ISU offensive lineman Marcel Howard knows the importance of beating teams who get national recognition.

“We talk about getting respect,” Howard explained, “but until we beat one of these guys, we aren’t going to get any respect.”