October 26, 2006

The game up close: Iowa State at K-State

Both Kansas State and Iowa State have lost four of their last five contests, meaning that the Wildcats and Cyclones figure to be hungry for a win when they meet Saturday in Manhattan. K-State had won 10 straight in the series before Iowa State earned back-to-back wins in 2004 and 2005; can the Wildcats regain their edge against ISU and move a step closer to bowl eligibility in 2006?

The Game Up Close: Iowa State (3-5, 0-4) vs. Kansas State (4-4, 1-3)

Saturday, Oct. 28, 2:35 p.m. kickoff
Snyder Family Stadium, Manhattan, Kan.

Iowa State rush offense vs. Kansas State rush defense
The numbers:
KSU rush defense: Allowing 125.2 yards per game, No. 8 in the Big 12, No. 52 overall
ISU rush offense: Averaging 98.2 yards per game, No. 10 in the Big 12, No. 97 overall

The breakdown: ISU running back Stevie Hicks must love the color purple. Hicks has had quite the career against K-State, running for 149 yards and a touchdown last season after posting 156 yards and one touchdown two seasons ago in Manhattan. The 6-foot-1, 220-pound Hicks is one of the Big 12's most experienced backs and enters the weekend ranked as the conference's seventh leading rusher with 523 yards. The Cyclones have a big and experienced offensive line, but it's a unit that has struggled at times this season. K-State's rush defense has taken some hits in the last month and has fell to eighth in the Big 12 in rush defense after a very solid start in its first three games. The Wildcats simply aren't tackling very well, and it's been tackling problems against Hicks that have allowed ISU's senior running back to roll up big numbers each of the past two seasons. K-State has a hard time stopping good rushing attacks, but ISU's production thus far doesn't earn them that distinction.

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