Ames, Iowa has become the Bermuda Triangle of logic and reason thanks to Paul Rhodes. Then-No. 2 Oklahoma State had their national championship dreams shattered in Jack Trice Stadium last year. Texas and Texas Tech saw their rankings take a hit at the hands of the Cyclones in the past. Bill Snyder was well aware of the hornet’s nest his No. 6 Wildcats were walking into.
The first half saw the two teams exchange blows, the lead and rarely convert a third down, but one player remained a constant positive for Kansas State: quarterback Collin Klein.
Klein’s 6’5” 225-pound frame allowed him to pummel lighter ISU defenders. While he threw no touchdowns, his 187 yards through the air would eventually help convert vital third downs in the second half.
As the game wore on, Iowa State quarterback Jared Barnett lost any rhythm he had with his receivers. The Cyclones had two opportunities in the last stanza to advance drives that could’ve at least tied the game with field goals on each, but a lack of patience and poor effort by Barnett’s intended targets cost ISU the upset bid, losing 27-21.
In addition to Klein’s passing performance, he added 105 yards on the ground and three rushing touchdowns. Pundits and fans alike have been hesitant to add his name to the list of this year’s Heisman contenders, but today’s production against the Cyclones might be enough to tip the scales in his favor for some.
The win leaves Kansas State and West Virginia as the only two undefeated teams in the Big 12 conference. It’s appropriate that these two teams will be meeting next week in a game that could very well decide the league’s champion, especially when taking into account that the Wildcats took down Oklahoma in Norman earlier this season.
With the Sooners’ strangling of Texas in this year’s Red River Rivalry, they have a chance to rebound and win the league, but doing so isn’t going to be easy. They have to travel to Ames and Morgantown before welcoming Oklahoma State to Norman.
Even if Kansas State loses to the Mountaineers, their remaining slate isn’t extremely intimidating aside from a visit from Oklahoma State. However, the immediate goal remains clear – If the Wildcats can knock off Geno Smith and West Virginia, they have the inside track to the Big 12 crown for the time being.
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