Inside Slant

The Sports Xchange

November 20, 2018 at 10:22 pm.

Cyclones hope to end decade-long losing streak

Iowa State may not be able to win the Big 12 title, thanks to its loss last week to Texas. But the Cyclone seniors still have a chance to finish their careers with an achievement that the team hasn’t accomplished in a decade.

That achievement would be beating Kansas State. The Wildcats have won the last 10 meetings between the two teams, and Iowa State hasn’t walked off the field victorious in this series since 2007.

Kansas State enters the week with a lot to play for. At 5-6, the Wildcats become bowl-eligible with a win, while a loss ends their season. And the Wildcats looked dominant on defense last week in a 21-6 victory over Texas Tech.

“They’ve got really good guys back on the defensive side of the football — some guys on that side have played really good football for them for a long time,” Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said. “Knowing what they do, even the young guys who have played through the season, you can see them starting to become comfortable with what they’re being asked to do.”

As for Iowa State, Campbell’s team can finish as high as third place in the Big 12 with a win and put itself in position to be 8-4 heading into a bowl game. Not a bad mark for a team that began the season with three losses in its first four games.

Of course, to do that, the Cyclones will have to recover from their first loss since September. Iowa State didn’t look good on either side of the ball against Texas, failing to move the ball on offense and seeing its already banged-up defense continue to lose players to injury.

Campbell thinks his team will be able to overcome the disappointing loss and refocus on the Wildcats.

“The thing that’s been really great about this team is we’ve kind of worried about ourselves,” Campbell said. “We’re a really young team that continues to grow. We’ve kind of let all the other factors lie to themselves and us really work on us to be the best version of us we can be.”

The Cyclones will have another regular season game to play after this, however, as Drake will come to Ames on Dec. 1. The Bulldogs were a late replacement for Incarnate Word, which had to back out after earning an at-large berth to the FCS playoffs. And Incarnate Word was a replacement of its own for South Dakota State, originally scheduled to play the Cyclones in the season opener in a game cancelled because of weather.