Inside the Numbers: Kansas State

After eight games the Iowa State Cyclones are on the ropes, but help is on the way. Up next on the schedule is quite possibly the Cyclone's easiest road trip of the season. Check in here to see this week's statistical breakdown of the Kansas State Wildcats.

After Saturday's game, the Cyclone football team continues its slide down the rankings of the Big 12.  The latest loss puts them at 0-4 in conference play and 3-5 overall, but the hardest games are behind and there is only room for improvement, right?  Next up for the Clones is a road trip to visit the Kansas State Wildcats.  If the Cyclones let this game slide, there is a good chance that they will be staying home for the bowl season, with only three games left after K-State and one of them hosting #23 Missouri.  If the Cyclones lose this game that would probably put ISU as underdogs in the rest of their games this season.  As a little statistically bonus, I looked into how much Iowa State is paying Dan McCarney per win.  Dan gets 1.1 million as a base salary, which means that thus far ISU is paying $366,667 for each of their victories.  To put it in perspective, Kirk Ferentz (third highest paid college football coach) is getting $417,190 per victory (only $50,523more).  Take that info anyway you want, I am just giving you something to chew on.

 

 

Cyclones Statistical Breakdown

 

The Cyclones had one of the worst games of the season last week against Texas Tech, statistically speaking.  The defense gave up 475 total yards while the offense managed to squeak out a measly 221 yards. That is even worse when you think about the fact that Texas Tech lost two muffed punts and had 129 yards worth of penalties.  There were a lot of mind blowing stats but here are the ones I thought were the craziest:

*   5        Number of sacks ISU's offensive line gave up

*   3-15   Cyclones' third down conversion ratio

*   77.5% Texas Tech's pass completion percentage

*   7.9     Number of yards Texas Tech averaged per offensive play

 

Up Next

 

As I have previously stated, the Cyclone's next game is in Manhattan, Kansas against the Kansas State Wildcats.  The Wildcats enter the game with a record of 4-3, but that is a bit deceiving.  Those four wins came against Florida Atlantic (2-5), Marshall (2-5), Oklahoma State (4-3), and I-AA Illinois State.  Not exactly powerhouse teams.  ISU leads the series with K-State 48-37-4, but the Wildcats have the advantage at home, leading 22-21-1.  Dan McCarney is only 2-9 against the Wildcats, but they are now under new management.  The Wildcats will be lead by first year head coach Ron Prince, making this the first time McCarney and Prince have squared off.  This game also happens to be Kansas State's homecoming, but as we just found out, that doesn't always mean a victory.

 

Offense

           

Kansas State's offense isn't exactly a "wildcat"; in fact, I would probably call it an angry kitten.  The unit as a whole is ranked 89th in the nation, averaging 309 yards per games.  The passing game is ranked 76th (186.4 yards/game) and the rushing game is 79th (122.6 yards/game).  The quarterback position has been a see-saw between senior Dylan Meier and freshman Josh Freeman.  Both have seen plenty of play time, with neither really showing a lot but Freeman will get the start on Saturday.  He has a 40.6% completion percentage and only 726 passing yards this season.  The real mind boggler is this: Freeman has zero TDs and eight (yes eight) interceptions.  The rushing game has the same dilemma as the QB position.  Senior Thomas Clayton and freshman Leon Patton both have about the same yards (333 for Patton, 322 for Clayton) so look for both to get some playing time.  As for receptions, the Wildcats like to spread it around.  Four players have over 200 yards this season, led by Jermaine Moreira with 419 yards (18.2 yard/catch) and two TDs.

 

Defense

 

The K-State defense is definitely an improvement over their offensive counterpart; coming in as the 49th best D in the nation (315.13). The rush D averages 125.3 yards/game while the pass D averages 189.88 yards/game.  This defense just took a big hit though, with FS Marcus Watts being out for the rest of the season.  Watts leads the team in interceptions (3), had 19 tackles, and was a leader on the field.  The team is led in tackles by senior LBs Brandon Archer (63) and Zach Diles (56).  Also, one of the Cat's biggest stars is sophomore Ian Campbell DE.  Campbell is third on the team in tackles (98) and leads the team in sacks (8.5), which is good for 7th in the nation.  In fact, sacks are becoming a K-State specialty, with the team having a total of 24, ranking them at 20th in the nation.

 

Special Teams

 

The Cat's special teams is hit or miss.  Take, for example, the field goal kicking of senior Jeff Snodgrass.  He is 10-15, having missed a 22 and a 38 yarder, but also having nailed kicks from 53, 52, and 48 yards.  Snodgrass also does kickoffs, averaging 61.3 yards with 10 (out of 24) touchbacks.  Punting is handled by Time Reyer who averages a respectable 40.3 yards/punt.  Punt return duties are taken by senior WR Yamon Figurs, with a 11.1 yard average and one TD.  Finally, the Cat's are dangerous on kickoff returns, with three people splitting time.  WR Figurs averages 23.0 yards (8 attempts), RB Patton averaging 34.3 yards (7 attempts) with a TD, and CB Justin McKinney 38.6 yards (5 attempts) and a TD.

 

Final Verdict

 

Alright, it is time for the wrap up.  Offensively, the Wildcats like to spread the ball around but have yet to find any real success.  Defensively, the Cats are good but have taken a big hit with the loss of Marcus Watts.  Also, watch for the Cats to put up big numbers in the sack column.  Finally, special teams is good, with the skill to make long kicks (and miss short ones).  They are especially dangerous on kick returns.  Looking at the numbers, the Cyclones can get a much needed road win again Kansas State.  Both teams desperately need this win to get to bowl eligibility.  If the Cyclones can pull out the win, they can use the momentum to get wins against upcoming foes Kansas and Colorado.  If the Cyclones fail....well, it could be a long, cold winter.

 


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