Kansas St.-Iowa St. Preview

While Kansas State was knocking off the rust in its opener against an FCS school, Iowa State was getting knocked around by a foe from the same level.

The 20th-ranked Wildcats can certainly empathize after opening last season with a loss to the same opponent, but will try to hand the Cyclones a second home defeat Saturday while extending their winning streak in the series to seven.

Kansas State did what was expected of it in Saturday’s 55-16 home win over Stephen F. Austin a season after losing its opener to North Dakota State.

The disparity, though, doesn’t necessarily have coach Bill Snyder feeling more optimistic about his team’s performance.

"I don’t want to take away the positives and all of the good things the guys did," Snyder said. "I would probably dwell on the things that weren’t so good. Overall, I thought we played reasonably well offensively. … Defensively, we have some work to do."

In particular, Snyder was referring to a 30-yard touchdown run his team allowed in the third quarter after already allowing two scoring drives of at least 72 yards in the first half.

Quarterback Jake Waters seemed plenty comfortable with his new offense, which features a trio of running backs with a total of 11 carries entering the season. The senior signal caller went 19 of 28 for 223 yards with two touchdowns and an interception while adding 55 yards and two more scores on 17 carries.

Top back Charles Jones saw eight carries for 55 yards and two TDs while DeMarcus Robinson led the team with 11 carries for 49 yards. Jarvis Leverett Jr. had six for 27.

Robinson led the team with four catches for 47 yards while no receiver had more than three receptions. Waters’ most prominent returning target, Tyler Lockett, caught a nine-yard TD in the first quarter for his only reception in limited action.

"I was so excited to see those guys get out there and play," Waters said. "They made some great plays tonight. Our running backs were running crazy and seeing the holes great. Then our receivers were stepping up their game, and we needed them too, so that was a good sign."

After falling in two of their first four contests with unranked foes a season ago, the Wildcats seemed to learn their lesson and have now won their last six by an average of 22.7 points.

This season, North Dakota State instead took it to Iowa State in Saturday’s 34-14 upset, the Cyclones’ second home-opening embarrassment in as many seasons after falling to Northern Iowa a season ago. They lost nine of their first 10 games in a 3-9 season.

"We’ll respond to it better than we did last year," quarterback Sam Richardson said. "We’ve got to respond to it quicker than we did last year."

It might not happen as quickly as this weekend. Iowa State has dropped 32 of its last 36 matchups with ranked opponents, including seven straight. Kansas State has won the last six meetings overall after last season’s 41-7 win.

When ranked, the Wildcats have defeated the Cyclones in 10 straight dating to 1994.

Still, Kansas State will need to show it can move the ball on Iowa State without the players that did most of the damage in the latest meeting between the Big 12 foes.

Each of the Wildcats’ four rushing TDs came from players no longer with the team, and Waters didn’t need to do much. He went 9 of 15 for 157 yards before backup Daniel Sams took over.

The Iowa State defense, though, showed little ability to stop North Dakota State. The Bison piled up 506 yards of offense, 302 of which came on the ground.

Offensively, things are nearly as grim after star wide receiver Quenton Bundrage was ruled out for the year after tearing his right ACL on the first series of the season.

"Urgency and getting your job done," coach Paul Rhoads said. "Whether it’s a tackle, a route, whether it’s a block. Everyone needs a little more urgency in coaching and playing."

Urgency is about to grow for Kansas State as well. Should it get out of Ames with a win, No. 5 Auburn looms on Sept. 18 after a bye week.