AMES (AP) — Iowa State can achieve another milestone in the Matt Campbell era on Saturday, but the opportunity comes with a complication.
The Cyclones (7-4, 5-3 Big 12) visit longtime nemesis Kansas State with a chance to win eight regular-season games for the second straight year, something that has been done only once in school history and that was more than 40 years ago.
But to match that figure this year the Cyclones will have to beat a team that has been a constant source of frustration. Over the last 12 years, Iowa State has more victories over Texas (3) than it does Kansas State (1).
Before winning at home last year, the Cyclones had lost 10 straight to the Wildcats (7-4, 4-4), the only team that has defeated Oklahoma this season.
Iowa State hasn’t won in Manhattan since 2005, when ISU’s current quarterback, Brock Purdy, was just starting grade school.
“It’s a huge challenge for our football team,” Campbell said Tuesday.
But one that comes with the possibility of a significant reward, though Campbell says he’s more concerned with continuing the progress that got the Cyclones to this point than with an actual number.
When he took over in 2016, Iowa State was coming off a 3-9 season that ended with four straight losses.
“I think one of the things that’s been really fun to watch is us continuing to pound away at how to win here at Iowa State, how do we become successful and how do we sustain that success,” Campbell said. “Are we there yet? No. Are we getting a lot closer to where we want to be? I think you see it, you feel it. Even this season, I think it’s been a season we have grown immensely.”
Still, 8-4 would look at lot better at the end of the day than 7-5.
“We had eight last year and you’re always looking to improve, so we’d like to get eight this year and finish it out with nine in the bowl game,” offensive tackle Julian Good-Jones said.
“So that’s definitely a goal we have, but we have to handle K-State this week.”