Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads says his team has steadily improved and the loss at Oklahoma on Saturday will not diminish that improvement as they prepare for the final regular season game at Kansas State.
Rhoads says his team is playing its best football of the year and they go into December with the opportunity to win two more
games, and that’s the position any team wants to be in. The second game will be a bowl game as the Cyclones are 6-5. They went to a bowl game in Rhoads’ first year, but weren’t eligible last year. He says they are in a position now to sustain a winning effort.
Roads says there are things he’s seen in the last two games that he didn’t see two years ago. He says then they played Oklahoma State and Oklahoma two years ago they “got whipped.” But he says they are physically stronger now and it has taken three years.
The defense played well in the win against Oklahoma State, and they also held the high-powered Oklahoma offense in check. Rhoads says experience is part of the reason.
He says they have a heightened understanding of the game plan and how specific it is to their success, an he says they are tackling well and speeding to the ball. While they are improving, Rhoads says Kansas State has a lot of advantages heading into this game. He says they have had two weeks to rest and prepare, it will be senior day, and they will be playing for a conference championship and a chance to upgrade their bowl. Rhoads says they have to be sure their preparation is what it needs to be to compete.
Jared Barnett lost his first start since taking over at quarterback for the Cyclones in the loss to the Sooners. He says the offense made too many mistakes. He says they offense didn’t execute and didn’t start well, and then the turnovers and penalties hurt them. Barnett says the defense held them in the game.
“The defense is playing great football right now, they are definitely the heart of this team right now,” Barnett said. He says they had too many three-and-outs and turnovers that didn’t give the defense time to rest. Barnett says they will have to do better against the Wildcats.
He says they have to run the ball better and he has to do a better job of realizing where the blitz is coming from, as that opens up running lanes that he has to take advantage of and run. Barnett says the offense will have to play better to have a chance at Kansas State.
Barnett says they need to get the ball to the backs early and avoid turning it over as he says K-State is good at taking advantage of turnovers. Kansas State is 9-2 overall. Kickoff is 11:30 in Manhattan.