Cats, Cyclones bound to play a close game

By Joel Jellison

When Kansas State and Iowa State get together for a football game, it’s probably going to godown to the wire.

At least that’s how it’s been the last five times the teams have met — all Wildcats’ wins — with the game being decided by an average of less than a touchdown.

K-State coach Bill Snyder, who is 17-4 all-time against Iowa State and coached the Wildcats to the last four wins in the series, said his team has been fortunate to win each game over the Cyclones.

“Our ballgames have been close for the last four years,” he said. “We won by one, by six and by seven twice. It’s always been a one-score ballgame. “

In Ron Prince’s final season as the Wildcats’ coach in 2008, Iowa State totaled 626 yards, but lost 38-30.

From there, it was back to the Snyder era. And in the first one in 2009, played in Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Emmanuel Lamur blocked an extra point attempt by ISU with 32 seconds left, leading to a 24-23 win for the Cats.

A year later, back in Arrowhead, Daniel Thomas scored a touchdown with 6:47 to play to give K-State the lead. The Wildcats held on to win 27-20.

When the Cyclones finally returned to Manhattan in 2011, it was close again. John Hubert scored on a 26-yard run in the fourth quarter to push the Wildcats ahead for good at 27-20 with 3:29 left.

Last season, Collin Klein had a 12-yard touchdown run in the third quarter to put K-State up by 10 in Ames, Iowa. The Wildcats held on to win 27-21.

K-State center B.J. Finney said the games are always so close because the teams are so similar.

“Their program is a lot like ours — blue collar, tough, hard-nosed physical football players,” Finney said. “When you match two teams up like that, it’s always a good game. Whoever makes the least amount of mistakes and executes better is going to win that game.”

Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads’ statement about the game was short and sweet this week. Rhoads took over as head coach four years ago, and each game he’s coached against Snyder has resulted in a heartbreaking loss.

With the Cyclones sitting at 1-6, they need to win their last five games to make a bowl game. Rhoads knows K-State presents another tough test for his team.

“Any time you’re facing Kansas State and a Bill Snyder-coached team, you better be extremely well prepared yourself,” he said.

Iowa State has had close losses in four of its six losses this season too. With the exception of the 71-7 loss to Baylor, the Cyclones lost to Northern Iowa by eight, Iowa by six, Texas by one and Texas Tech by seven.

The Cyclones trailed Oklahoma State 28-20 at halftime last week, but the Cowboys turned it on in the second half and won 58-27.

Rhoads’ teams have often drawn comparisons to Snyder’s teams because of the way they play. Like K-State, ISU tries to win with defense and a ball-controlling offense.

Snyder complimented Rhoads on his ability to put together hard-working football teams.

“I don’t know how much Paul and I are alike, I think he’s a better football coach than I am,” Snyder said. “He’s an awful good person that works extremely hard. I think the similarities are somewhat like that. Their players are accustomed to a demanding program. They work extremely hard and they play hard.”

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