The long road trip to Ames, Iowa, to play Iowa State this weekend is a potential trap game, a proverbial stumbling block, if you will, for No. 6 Kansas State.
The Wildcats (5-0, 2-0) can ill-afford to sleep-walk through the first half, like they did last Saturday morning in leading only 21-14 over the Kansas Jayhawks.
The Cyclones (4-1, 1-1) are a far better team than one-win KU, and their run defense is pretty salty.
Another 11 a.m kickoff on FX. Kansas State cannot be looking ahead to the Morgantown Showdown next weekend with No. 5 West Virginia, or it could be a possible ambush game in Ames.
Mack's pick: Kansas State 31, Iowa State 21.
No. 6 Kansas State (5-0, 2-0 Big 12)
At Iowa State (4-1, 1-1)
11 a.m. (FX)
By The Associated Press
Line: Kansas State by 6 ½.
Series Record: Iowa State leads 49-42-4
WHAT'S AT STAKE
If Kansas State loses to the Cyclones, they'll be staring at the very real possibility of two straight Big 12 losses with a trip to No. 5 West Virginia on tap for next week. A win for Iowa State likely gives the program its first spot in the AP poll in seven years.
Kansas State QB Collin Klein and RB John Hubert vs. Iowa State's front seven. Klein and Hubert have been among the nation's tough rushing tandems this season. The Cyclones rank fourth in the Big 12 in rushing defense and will look to force Klein to throw the ball more than he'd like to.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Kansas State. LB Arthur Brown. He causes havoc every week and is up for every major defensive award in the country. Iowa State quarterback Jared Barnett, in just his second start of the season, will need to account for him on every play.
Iowa State. K Edwin Arceo. He's missed three extra points already this season. In what could be a close game, Arceo can't afford to leave easy points on the field.
FACTS & FIGURES
After months of drought in the Midwest, it's expected to pour in central Iowa on Saturday. But perhaps no two teams in the Big 12 are prepared for sloppy conditions more than the Wildcats and Cyclones, who both like to run the ball ... Iowa State punter Kirby Van Der Kamp has placed 16 of his 31 punts inside the opponent's 20-yard line with just one touchback ... Kansas State is 11th in the nation with 43.6 points per game, largely because the Wildcats usually get seven points instead of three. They've scored 29 touchdowns, including 14 total TDs by Klein, with just five field goals.