MANHATTAN, Kan. - Iowa State viewed Saturday's game against Kansas State as the start of a new season.
The Cyclones entered the game with just a single win from their first seven games, and they knew they needed to win their final four just to become bowl eligible.
The start of their "new season" looked a whole lot like the rest of the season.
John Hubert ran for 105 yards and two touchdowns, and Kansas State nearly pitched its first Big 12 shutout in a decade in a 41-7 rout on Saturday.
"It's certainly one of those things I spoke to them about after the game," Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said. "I'm anxious to get to tomorrow. I'm anxious to teach."
Four of the Cyclones' six previous losses were by a combined 22 points, but they never were in it against the Wildcats (4-4, 2-3), who took a 17-0 lead at halftime and never looked back.
"We haven't gotten in a groove in quite some time and the same things every week - mistakes, not completing balls when they're in front of us," said Grant Rohach, who threw for 88 yards in place of Sam Richardson. "We didn't convert third downs and that killed the offense."
Rhoads said the move to Rohach was mainly because of execution.
"Still too many missed decisions and too many plays left out there," Rhoads said. "Not enough production and leadership of the offensive football team to get us in the end zone."
Iowa State (1-7, 0-5) didn't score until the Wildcats' Robert Rose coughed up the ball at his own 10-yard line in the closing minutes, and DeVondrick Nealy took a toss-sweep for a touchdown.
That was the only time the Cyclones ran a play in the Wildcats' red zone.
Nealy's TD run prevented the Wildcats from finishing off their first shutout since September 2011, and their first of a Big 12 foe since a 45-0 win over the Cyclones on Nov. 3, 2003.
"Shutouts don't happen in college football anymore, and our youngsters played well enough and coaches coached well enough that they deserved," Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said. "I'm probably more disappointed than they are which is fine."
The quarterback combo of Jake Waters and Daniel Sams combined to throw for 221 yards and run for 89 yards as the Wildcats beat the Cyclones for the sixth straight time.
It didn't help the Cyclones' chances that they were missing several key players due to injuries. Top running back Aaron Wimberly, who has an ailing hamstring, did not play.
After holding the Cyclones on fourth down to start the game, Waters led the Wildcats on a 79-yard march. He hit Tyler Lockett for a pair of completions, ran 23 yards for a first down and then handed off to Hubert, whose 10-yard touchdown run gave Kansas State a 7-0 lead.
"We just can't overcome that," Rhoads said. "With that slow start, it puts us in a catch up mode and we don't play very well with that."
Jack Cantele kicked a 44-yard field goal a few minutes later to extend the lead to 10-0.
Meanwhile, the Cyclones couldn't get anything going on offense. They punted on three straight possessions, and then Richardson tossed an interception on the next series.
"Mis-execution," Nealy said of the Cyclones offensive woes. "We didn't do the things we came in to do and we didn't fulfill the game plan we had from the get-go. All kinds of things went bad for us tonight. We kept turning the ball over."
That's when Kansas State also went to the quarterback bullpen.
Sams came into the game and ran 34 yards on six carries, while also completing 2 of 3 passes for 22 yards - one of them a wobbler intended for Lockett that Tramaine Thompson actually caught.
Sams finished the drive with a 1-yard run for a 17-0 lead just before halftime.
Cantele added another field goal early in the second half, and Hubert finished off an 83-yard drive with a 3-yard run early in the fourth quarter to extend the lead to 27-0.
The two biggest highlights of the game came when it had already been decided
After the Cyclones were again held on fourth down, Sams threw a 28-yard rainbow that Thompson hauled in over a defender - despite pass interference - while landing on his back in the end zone.
Rohach was picked off by the Wildcats' Dorrian Roberts on the ensuing possession, and Rose scampered nine yards into the end zone for a touchdown and a 41-0 lead.
The only drama left was whether the Wildcats would finish off the shutout. Rose's fumble and Nealy's touchdown run finally gave the Cyclones something to feel good about.