Wildcats, Cyclones similar

By Joel Jellison

In just a few short years, Paul Rhoads has given Iowa State something it lacked for a while — a consistently competitive Big 12 football team.

When Kansas State coach Bill Snyder talks about Rhoads and his team at Iowa State, it sort of sounds like he’s talking about his own team.

The Cyclones are 4-1 this season and coming off an upset win at TCU last Saturday. K-State, undefeated at 5-0 and ranked No. 6/5, is coming off a 56-16 win against rival Kansas.

“They’re a hard-nosed football team and obviously a very good football team,” Snyder said Monday during the weekly Big 12 teleconference. “They execute extremely well, they have some gadgets that they can execute, but they do what they do, and they do it in a very sound way. They’re an excellent football team.”

But it goes even further than that. Snyder, who said he’s known Rhodes since he was a “youngster” and has been friends with his father for a long time, even draws comparisons in the way the Cyclones use quarterback Jared Barnett.

“They have a quarterback that is a ‘dual-threat’ type of guy,” he said. “He can run it and throw it as well. He had four touchdown throws against TCU and we know he can run the ball well. He played against us last year, so obviously, they’re a very fine football team, as they’ve proven up to this point in time.”

As complimentary as Snyder is of what Rhodes is doing at Iowa State, the Cyclones coach is just as keen on what Snyder has done in his career, and is doing now.

Rhodes said he knows K-State will always be one of the best-coached teams in the league with Snyder at the helm.

“I have a whole novel full of why they’re the smartest team in the Big 12,” he said. “It is a struggle to find a better coached and better prepared team than Bill Snyder and Kansas State. The number one way to win a game is not to lose it — that’s Bill Snyder. They do it better than most people.”

Rhodes also made a few Snyder-esque quips during Monday’s Big 12 teleconference.

Similar to the way Snyder makes clever jokes, with and directed at the media, Rhodes told a reporter who asked what changes now that his team is ranked 25th in the USA Today poll.

“I told the people at the bagel store this morning and they still made me pay for my bagel and coffee,” Rhodes said.

After two weeks of high-scoring outputs from Big 12 teams — notably West Virginia — Rhodes was also asked how many points it takes to win a game in the league.

And he was just as clever.

“Seventy-one points, generally,” he said. “Forty-one points is not going to do it in the Big 12 every game. We are going to have to put up high-40s, low-50s, even high-50s maybe against certain teams.”

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