Cats ready for first trip to Ames since 2007

The last time Kansas State traveled to Jack Trice Stadium, Iowa State handed the Wildcats a 31-20 loss in Ron Prince’s second year as head coach.

The Wildcats have since reeled off four straight wins over the Cyclones, but they came by an average of 5.75 points and none of them were played in Ames. K-State defeated Iowa State at home in 2008 and 2011. In between, the Farmageddon series briefly moved to Arrowhead Stadium.

So Saturday’s game will be a new experience for K-State players. None of them have played at Jack Trice Stadium before. Next week will bring a new stadium, too, when the Wildcats play their first game at West Virginia since 1931.

Question is: Will that have an impact on the games?

“I would like to think that’s not the case,” K-State football coach Bill Snyder said. “As we’ve said so many times, it’s keeping it all between the white lines. If you do that it all looks the same no matter where you happen to be. Grass is grass.”

Well, in this case that’s true. Iowa State has a grass field, but so does Oklahoma and K-State already won in Norman this season. The weather forecast indicates there is an 80 percent chance of rain and the possibility of strong thunder storms. K-State hasn’t played in those conditions this season, but games against Miami and Iowa State were delayed due to weather a year ago.

Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads doesn’t think his team will benefit from a home-field advantage.

“You can eliminate that piece of it,” Rhoads said. “Their team will be prepared. They will block it out. They will execute and they will play.”

One way in which trips to Iowa State are different from most is how business-like they are. The team flies from Manhattan to Des Moines, then buses to Ames. By the time the team arrives at its hotel and goes through meetings, it’s almost time to go to sleep.

And with an 11 a.m. kickoff on Saturday, the only thing the players do before leaving for the stadium is walk through the gameplan and eat breakfast.

As play-by-play man Wyatt Thompson puts it: “It’s the business trip of all business trips.”

Still, senior tight end Travis Tannahill is looking forward to it.

“I’m excited. It’s always fun to play on the road and play in a new place,” Tannahill said. “It will be interesting. Always a new atmosphere. Coaches will give us what knowledge they have on (the venue).”

In the end, though, it’s all about playing the game.

“It is a unique situation,” senior quarterback Collin Klein said. “But it’s just about keeping the game between the white lines and doing the best we can.”