November 2, 2007

Five Keys to Victory: K-State at ISU

When: Saturday, Nov. 3
Kickoff: 11:30 p.m. (CDT)
Location: Ames, Iowa
Venue: Jack Trice Stadium (50,000)
TV: Versus Network

The Iowa State Cyclones, Kansas State's opponent this Saturday in Ames, are 1-8 on the season and 0-5 in Big 12 Conference play. Don't be fooled, though. Unlike the Baylor Bears, K-State's foe last weekend, the Cyclones don't appear to be in a free fall.

In back-to-back losses to fourth-ranked Oklahoma and 13th-ranked Missouri, Iowa State has been competitive but tormented by untimely turnovers. Iowa State's offense actually out-gained Missouri's high-powered offense last weekend in Columbia.

Still, the Cyclones' win over Iowa earlier this season stands alone. Home games with K-State, Colorado and a road game at Kansas are all remain between now and the end of the season.

"We just need to keep on fighting through the rest of these games," said Devin McDowell, one of only three healthy cornerbacks for the Cyclones who will be available against K-State. "The way our coaches are, they harp on us, keep our spirits up."

Still, it's hard to escape the noticeable progress being made by Coach Gene Chizik's team, but it's those last two games that have not gone unnoticed in Manhattan.

"I'm very concerned about this game, this opponent," K-State coach Ron Prince said. "Everybody understands that Missouri is a terrific offensive team, terrific defensive team, one of the top-ranked teams in the nation. Iowa State out-gained them, had more first downs, more yards, more yards rushing, an astronomical time of possession. They just had some penalties and turnovers at the wrong time."

Iowa State is getting better, but K-State playing well. If the Wildcats can follow their five simple keys, an easy win will await.


K-State's offense is clicking, but the Wildcats missed first-half opportunities against Kansas and Baylor that quarterback Josh Freeman and his offensive mates need to cash in. Jumping on Iowa State early and often could put this game out of doubt early. It's certainly possible for an offense that is averaging more than 40 points a game in Big 12 play.

"It's our second year in the system, and I think the second year for anything is always a better year," Freeman said. "More people know what Coach (Prince) expects. We know the offense better, and we are able to actually run it now instead of kind of blindly playing."

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