As if Iowa State didn’t have enough negative karma going against it in the season finale at Kansas State — nine straight losses this season and 16 consecutive defeats away from Jack Trice Stadium — Saturday afternoon’s game has another distracting subplot for the visitors:
K-State’s Ron Prince is coaching his final game at the school, which surely will have the Wildcats as motivated as they’ve been in a long time during their disappointing 4-7 season.
Prince is 2-0 against Texas, his biggest accomplishment in three seasons in Manhattan. He lost assistants at an alarming rate, signed what seemed like a million junior college players and couldn’t beat rivals Nebraska and Kansas.
But most of these Wildcats are Prince recruits, and players are loyal to their leaders. They are going to do all they can to send him out a winner.
“They are gonna play for their coach,” said Cyclone defensive end Rashawn Parker. “Their intensity is going to be high. We have to match it.”
And expect the unexpected. K-State may pull out all the stops — on both sides of the ball.
“They aren’t going to hold back at all,” ISU quarterback Austen Arnaud said.
It may be the final time the Cyclones face K-State’s quarterback Josh Freeman. The junior could probably use another year of seasoning, but he may not want to deal with the coaching transition and instead opt for the NFL.
That wouldn’t break any hearts in Ames. Freeman was the crown jewel of Prince’s first recruiting class, prying the 6-6, 250-pound star away from rival Nebraska.
“He’s a big guy with a strong arm,” Parker said. “He’s a beast of an athlete.”