Good Cop/Bad Cop: Kansas State


Good cop: Anthony Hanson

The Cyclones have another top-25 opponent coming to Ames this week. With Kansas moving into the top-25 just after taking down Iowa State, the Cyclones have played three nationally ranked teams in as many weeks.

The strength of the schedule has taken its toll on Iowa State. Matt Campbell’s team dropped two-in-a-row and is dinged up where it counts. Running back Jirehl Brock was out against Kansas, and Cartevious Norton is also facing injury concerns in the backfield.

Injuries and inexperience have severely limited the offensive attack both in the air and on the ground. Iowa State scored only one touchdown last week against Kansas. But, Iowa State’s defense has given it a chance to win every game of 2022.

The Cyclone defense has shown in five games it runs deep. Iowa State has talent at every level. They’ve forced fumbles, interceptions, sacks and, most importantly, they neutralized one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation, Jalon Daniels, last week.

This week the Cyclones face another dual-threat quarterback with big play potential. This time Iowa State faces Big 12 Newcomer of the Week Adrian Martinez. The Wildcat quarterback has 300 rushing yards and 7 touchdowns in the last two games.

Running back Deuce Vaughn and Martinez will challenge Iowa State’s ability to stop the run, which is why this is a good matchup for Iowa State. Iowa State tacklers will swarm the Kansas State rushing attack, O’Rien Vance might force another fumble and Iowa State will be healthier and have fewer mistakes on offense.

Prediction: Iowa State 17, Kansas State 10

Bad Cop: Payne Blazevich

Coming off two consecutive Big 12 losses, Iowa State will be in for another challenge against Kansas State. An explosive offense paired with a seasoned defense will cause problems for the Cyclones. 

The Wildcats have been on a tear recently, taking down Oklahoma — who was ranked No. 6 at the time — and overcoming Texas Tech after scoring 17 points in the fourth quarter. The duo of quarterback Adrian Martinez and running back Deuce Vaughn has been a problem for defenses in the league. 

While Iowa State was able to shut down Kansas’ mobile quarterback Jalon Daniels, the Kansas State offense is more dynamic. Vaughn is able to carry an offense all on his own, and Martinez can both run and throw with efficiency. 

Iowa State’s defense has struggled to be multifaceted this season, being able to limit one area of an opponent’s offense while becoming vulnerable in another.

Baylor’s ground attack was a nonfactor for a majority of its matchup against Iowa State, but quarterback Blake Shapen was free to make deep throws across the middle. Daniels was shut down, relative to how he was playing earlier in the season, but Kansas running back Daniel Hishaw Jr. had a breakout performance. 

A limping Iowa State offense will have to find its footing against one of the more seasoned defenses in the league. Defensive lineman Felix Anudike-Uzomah, linebacker Daniel Green and defensive back Julius Brents were all preseason All-Big 12 players. The ability to make offensive adjustments against Kansas State’s veteran defense will prove to be the deciding factor Saturday. 

Quarterback Hunter Dekkers struggled for the first time in his college career against Kansas, and he will have to regain some confidence against a much more talented team. It doesn’t help that running backs Jirehl Brock and Cartevious Norton remain questionable for Saturday. 

Iowa State has the talent to find success on both sides of the ball in the Big 12. But, the young team still has a lot of growing to do, and Kansas State won’t provide many opportunities. 

Prediction: Kansas State 21, Iowa State 17