Bill Snyder is gone and the Cyclones are on a one game win streak against the Kansas State Wildcats. This is Iowa State's chance to rewrite the script of this rivalry.
Iowa State plays Kansas State in its final regular-season game with bowl implications on the line.
"So much of what coach Snyder had built for so long at [Kansas State] — it’s been so well respected from my end,” said coach Matt Campbell. “Those fabrics are things you hope to implement in this program.”
The Cyclones sit in a tie for third in the Big 12. At 5-3 Iowa State is tied with Oklahoma State — a team the Cyclones lost to by seven — and one game ahead of Texas and Saturday's opponent, Kansas State.
The Wildcats are on their first year without the freshly retired Bill Snyder at the helm and they have exceeded all expectations for them.
Kansas State has a chance to vault itself into consideration for one of the top bowls in the conference with a win on Saturday. Oklahoma State is playing Oklahoma, so if the chalk holds, Kansas State and Iowa State will have a prime opportunity to pass Oklahoma State in bowl considerations.
One of the biggest reasons for Iowa State being in this position is quarterback Brock Purdy.
Purdy has inserted his name into the record books for Iowa State this season. The sophomore has already broken single-season records and if he continues his success, he will likely surpass the career records for passing yards and touchdowns.
Last week, Purdy led the Cyclones out of a late hole to an underwhelming Kansas team looking for an upset.
“I feel like when things are on the line and we understand, you know, we gotta score and the defense is doing certain things, we know how to exploit them,” Purdy said. “I feel like that’s why we have a lot of success in the fourth quarter.”
While the Wildcats' starting quarterback — Skylar Thompson — is not as good as Purdy, Kansas State has still seen good quarterback play, especially in wins.
Against Oklahoma, Thompson played well enough to earn an upset win against the Sooners and destroy an undefeated season for Lincoln Riley’s club.
Since then, Kansas State has looked like a team on its first year of a new head coach, but a 7-4 record is still nothing to downplay.
Where Kansas State excels the most is on the defensive end. The wildcats rank second in the Big 12 in points allowed and fifth in yards per game. Iowa State is third and fourth in those categories, respectively.
For both teams, they’ll be watching Oklahoma State and Texas’ games as they attempt to salvage the best spot in the conference. Since the race for third is so close, The Cyclones and the Wildcats have the chance to move up or plummet down in the eyes of the bowl committee.
“It’s always a fun game,” said Julian Good-Jones. “The fans have fun with it, call it ‘farmegeddon’ and stuff like that and yeah it’s always a fun matchup.”
The game could come down to which team’s defense can hold up and while the Cyclones and Wildcats have comparable defenses, the offensive disparity gives Iowa State a competitive advantage.