AMES — The Iowa State (6-4, 5-3) football teams’s Big 12 championship hopes were dashed last week against Texas. Kansas State (5-6, 3-5) is playing for a bowl berth in Saturday’s 6 p.m. game at Jack Trice Stadium (FS1).
Here are 5 Things to know about the Wilcats.
1. Lifetime of coaching
Kansas State Coach Bill Snyder, in his 27th season at the helm, has been the Wildcats’ head coach for more years than I’ve been alive.
The key difference is that I didn’t take a three-year hiatus from living.
Snyder took over the worst football program in Division I history in 1989. The Wildcats were just 311-524-40 before Snyder took over. Kansas State was so bad that it still doesn’t have a winning record against Iowa State even though the Wildcats have won 10 straight matchups.
But Snyder turned around Kansas State’s losing ways. Snyder has a 215-116-1 record as the Wildcats’ coach. He’s led Kansas State to 17 bowl games and nine bowl wins as the coach.
As previously mentioned, Snyder took a three-year hiatus from coaching from 2006-08. He originally retired from coaching after the 2005 season, but after three unsuccessful seasons from his former team, he decided to get back into the game. Now, the talk after every season is when is the 79-year-old coach going to retire again? For what it’s worth, Snyder singed a new contract through the 2022 season before this season.
Before Snyder took over Kansas State, he was the offensive coordinator under legendary Iowa coach Hayden Fry.
2. Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium
Snyder is Kansas State football, so he gets two sections.
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After Snyder retired in 2005, Kansas State renamed its football stadium to Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium — it was formerly KSU Stadium.
Kansas State originally wanted to name it Bill Snyder Stadium, but Snyder wanted to have his family recognized as well.
Now that Snyder is back coaching, he’s the only coach to coach in a stadium named after himself, which has to be one of the coolest things ever.
Snyder hasn’t lost a beat since he came back to coaching, either. He’s won at least six games every season since his return, including winning a share of the Big 12 title in 2012.
3. Down season
Kansas State is in a down season by Snyder standards. The Wildcats started off the season slow, losing six of their first nine games. But a recent two-game winning streak has the Wildcats staring at an eighth-straight bowl appearance.
The Wildcats dominated a pretty good Texas Tech team last week, 21-6. The week before that, Kansas State found itself in a nail-biter against Kansas. The Wildcats came out on top, 21-17.
The Wildcats are a hard team to figure out because some games, they look like a classic Bill Snyder team that won’t beat themselves and makes the opposing team make mistakes. Other games, they look totally overmatched and it’s hard to predict which team will show up.
4. Dynamic running back
The Big 12 is known for its prolific passers, electric receivers and high-powered offenses. K-State has a dynamic running back in the backfield by the name of Alex Barnes.
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Barnes has been a reliable weapon for the Wildcats, playing in all 11 games. In those 11 games, he’s rushed 228 times for 1,217 yards and 11 touchdowns, averaging 5.1 yards per carry.
Barnes is also a threat as a receiver out of the backfield. He’s Kansas State’s fourth-leading receiver, catching 18 passes for 186 yards.
Barnes is aided by first-team All-American offensive lineman Dalton Risner, who had a chance to enter the NFL Draft last season but elected to return for his senior season.
5. 10 straight wins
As previously mentioned, Kansas State has won the last 10 meetings against Iowa State. The last four wins have been by a combined 13 points.
Snyder’s success against the Cyclones has earned him a couple of nicknames from Cyclone fans. The two most popular seem to be the Wizard — or the Purple Wizard — because he always seems to win close games in magical fashion. The other one is the Vampire, because he never seems to go away and it’s nearly impossible to kill his teams.
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