|Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein (7) passes to a teammate during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Iowa State, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011, in Manhattan, Kan. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)|
Iowa State falls short against No. 16 Kansas State
MANHATTAN, Kan.—Paul Rhoads pulled out just about every trick he could think of against Kansas State, from faking a punt to a flea-flicker pass that resulted in a touchdown.
It was the Cyclones' failure to convert on the most simple of plays, a run on fourth-and-short on their final drive, which prevented them from finishing off another big upset.
John Hubert ran for 120 yards and the go-ahead touchdown Saturday, and No. 16 Kansas State stuffed Cyclones running back Jeff Woody in the closing minutes short of the first down to preserve a 30-23 victory.
"Everybody's hurting," Iowa State quarterback Jared Barnett said. "This was definitely a struggle. We fought hard and didn't come out with a win, and I think that's why it hurts so bad."
Woody ran for 85 yards and two touchdowns for the Cyclones (6-6, 3-6), who became bowl eligible for the second time under Paul Rhoads when they knocked off Oklahoma State a couple of weeks ago.
They nearly managed another surprise against the Wildcats.
"We were just executing," Barnett said. "I don't think K-State was expecting us to come out that way, and we just kind of took advantage of it, but then they definitely started catching on and made some adjustments."
Hubert scored the go-ahead touchdown on a tackle-breaking 26-yard run with 3:29 left, which gave Iowa State plenty of time to answer. Barnett converted a pair of third downs to move into Kansas State territory, and then gained eight yards on third-and-10.
Facing fourth-and-2 at the 31, Woody took the handoff and was stuffed at the line of scrimmage, the ball popping out. Kansas State recovered to seal the victory.
"They jumped the snap count," Woody said. "The rhythm of the cadence is the same, and we went on a certain cadence that they had heard before. As the ball was moving -- they didn't even react to it. They were reacting to the sound. They jumped the count and dug into one of our linemen and forced disruption in the backfield."
Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein ran for a touchdown and threw for another, and Anthony Cantele was perfect on three field-goal attempts, allowing the Wildcats (10-2, 7-2) to reach 10 wins for the first time since 2003, when they knocked off Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game.
Now, like the Wildcats, the Cyclones will await their bowl fate.
Iowa State jumped out to a 7-0 lead after lightning delayed the kickoff 90 minutes. Barnett threw a pass that wobbled so much it looked as if the ball was deflating, but Darius Darks managed to get the inside position on cornerback Nigel Malone and hauled in the 30-yard catch.
The Wildcats only needed 15 seconds to answer.
Klein dropped back and floated a pass on a deep post route to Tramaine Thompson, one of the fastest players on the team. He caught it with his fingertips just past the outstretched hands of defensive back Ter'Ran Benton and raced the rest of the way untouched for the 68-yard touchdown, the longest play from scrimmage for Kansas State this season.
Iowa State regained the lead moments later when Woody plunged in from a yard out, but Zach Guyer's extra point was blocked by Raphael Guidry, his fourth blocked kick of the season.
Anthony Cantele kicked a 37-yard field goal for the Wildcats to get within 13-10.
Kansas State took over at its own 38 just before halftime, and Klein mixed in a couple of option keepers along with a pair of 14-yard completions to Hubert. He took the second of them down to the goal line, and Klein's TD sneak gave Kansas State a 17-13 lead at the break.
Guidry's second big play, this time an interception off a tipped ball, gave Kansas State prime field position early in the third quarter, and Cantele's 47-yard field goal made it 20-13.
"We had one turnover -- they didn't have any," Woody said. "If you look at the stat sheet ... it's like looking at a reflecting pool. One side or the other, it's almost identical: rushing yards, passing yards, total yards, first downs, everything is identical. If there are two more evenly matched teams in the country, I'd like to see them."
Perhaps that's why Iowa State seemed to always have an answer.
The Cyclones responded to Cantele's field goal by going 64 yards in 12 plays, converting three third downs, and Woody's rumbling 13-yard scamper allowed them to draw even late in the third quarter.
Kansas State squandered a chance to take a touchdown lead, failing to score in three tries from the 3-yard line before Cantele knocked through his third field goal of the game. The Cyclones matched it when they converted a pair of fourth downs and Guyer made good on a 43-yarder with 6:12 left.
The Cyclones finally ran out of answers, though, and they still haven't beaten the Wildcats in Manhattan since 2004 -- the last time they had a winning season.
"We play the same way -- hard, physical, and we play with a chip on our shoulder because no one respects us," Woody said. "K-State was only favored in four games and they won, 10 wins. We were favored in two and we won six, so we're two tremendously similar teams, and that showed."