Many might not have guessed that the Cyclones are right behind the Wildcats.
Iowa State is third in the league at just 15.8 points allowed per game, a total nearly identical to the second-ranked Wildcats. The Cyclones will be facing an unbeaten opponent for the fifth game in a row, and yet they haven't given up more than 24 points in any game this season.
"They are a very experienced defense, very disciplined. They know how to execute what they are in, and how to make tackles," Klein said.
Iowa State's offense hasn't been anything special this season. But the Cyclones subbed out turnover-prone quarterback Steele Jantz for sophomore Jared Barnett last week, and Barnett responded with three touchdown passes to Josh Lenz in a 37-23 win at TCU.
The Cyclones need Barnett to give them productive and largely mistake-free play to have a shot against the Wildcats.
"He's got to do his job. He's got to do his job well, and that's the consistency you're talking about," Rhoads said of Barnett.
Kansas State has won the last four meetings with Iowa State, including a pair of close victories at Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium in 2009-10 and a 30-23 victory in Manhattan last December.
But it's been five years since the Wildcats have had to make the trek to Ames.
"''I think it is going to be a tough road test. I know coach Snyder talks about it all the time about keeping the game in between the white lines, and we know that they are going to play extremely hard, play disciplined and play well," Klein said.