We lucked into something a little more conventional this week as Bobby La Gesse, who covers Iowa State for the Ames Tribune. He’s a good sport – see the Cyclones’ 1-8 record – who seems knowledgeable about the team, which is always good.

These are his thoughts:

Kansas State should know
what Iowa State is going through.

It was only a year ago
that the Wildcats had to learn a new scheme under a new coach. The
Wildcats started slow and progressed as the year went on. That’s
what the Cyclones have done this year.

Coach Gene Chizik has said
his first season at ISU is all about small steps. The more steps the
Cyclones take in the right direction, the better off they will be in
the future.

While the Cyclones haven’t
been able to rack up the wins like the Wildcats in Ron Prince’s
first season, they played with two of the nations best teams —
Oklahoma and Missouri — in the last two weeks. Now the Cyclones
were never in a position to win either game down the stretch, they’ve
made enough strides recently that it wouldn’t be a shock to see
them in a position to win one of their final three games in the
fourth quarter.

If the Wildcats are to
become bowl eligible Saturday here is what they must do:

1. Overpower the ISU
offensive line and stop the run. The Cyclones offense is based on
the run. If they can establish the run, they can make the passing
game a bigger threat because than it is otherwise by utilizing play
action fakes. If the Wildcats can stuff the run, they will turn the
Cyclones into a one-dimensional team and the offensive line has had
trouble stopping the blitz in passing situations.

2.  Jordy Nelson and the
rest of the Kansas State receivers must wear out the ISU secondary.
The Cyclones only have three healthy cornerbacks. They can’t even
run a dime defense. Missouri had success spreading out the ISU
defense and picking apart the mismatches the Cyclones lack of depth
in the secondary has created. Kansas State must do the same.

3. The Wildcats need to
take advantage of what the Cyclones kicking game gives them. The ISU
kickers struggle to put the get the ball inside the 20 and the
Cyclones opponents average starting position is the 38-yard line. If
the Wildcats can turn their good field position into as few early
scores, they could pull away from the Cyclones before the game hits

Prediction: Kansas State
31 Iowa State 17. Kansas State knows how to win. ISU is still
learning how to win. That experience — and a bigger stable of
explosive playmakers — will make the difference.