Waters Returns Home | Iowa State Preview
The Council Bluffs, Iowa, native laughed when asked if he'll have his own cheering section today when the Wildcats kick off against the Iowa State Cyclones at 11 a.m., in Jack Trice Stadium, but he then smiled and said he'll have close to 30 friends and family members in attendance.
"I probably asked just about every person on the team for extra tickets," said Waters with a smile. "I have a bunch of family members and friends going. It's just a great opportunity for them to see me play, and being able to play at Jack Trice will be pretty special."
Waters' grew up on Iowa State football. He went to games with his father, Rick - an Iowa State alum - and as a kid he imagined himself playing football in a cardinal and gold uniform.
However, things didn't quite work out the way Waters had thought, and, after spending two seasons at Iowa Western Community College where he earned 2012 NJCAA Offensive Player of the Year honors, the talented quarterback chose to play football in Manhattan, Kansas.
"I always wanted to play Division I football growing up, I just never knew where it would be," said Waters. "I figured my best shot would be at Iowa State or Iowa, one of the schools that was closest to me, but that obviously didn't work out. I wouldn't change my route or where I'm at here at Kansas State for anything, but it's definitely going to be cool playing there."
The Wildcats' first Big 12 opponent of the year, the Cyclones (0-1) are coming off of a tough 34-14 loss to North Dakota State and won't be taking this weekend's game lightly. Senior linebacker Jonathan Truman fully expects Iowa State to come out with added motivation and corrected mistakes because of its loss last weekend.
"Every team coming off of a loss is going to come back harder because they've seen their mistakes and know what to correct," said Truman. "Just about everybody says that week two is where everyone makes their corrections and where the most improvement is made."
Though Iowa State opened last weekend's game with a quick 14-0 lead on North Dakota State, the Bison took over by totaling 503 offensive yards and scoring 34 unanswered points. The Cyclones recorded only 253 yards last weekend, including just 57 in the second half, and quarterback Sam Richardson went 20-of-31 for 151 yards and had two interceptions while also rushing for 58 yards on 15 attempts.
"I've always thought that he's a good quarterback," said K-State head coach Bill Snyder about Richardson. "The diversity that Richardson has, he can scramble in a heart beat. You go back to last week's ballgame and he was probably their leading rusher. He can do a lot of things. He puts pressure on you and your coverage in the passing game because he's mobile and can get outside and buy a bunch of time."
Though the Cyclones couldn't quite contain the North Dakota State offense, Snyder knows Iowa State doesn't play games like that very often. The K-State offense is focused and prepared to handle a hard-nosed Iowa State defense and expects improvement this week.
"They're so sound and well coached; you have to work for everything that you get against Iowa State," said Snyder. "They did this past week, but they normally are not going to give up plays. They make you work it down the field the majority of the time. They play hard. They're all Midwestern young guys that really compete and play hard. They're physical."
The Wildcats have won the last six matchups against the Cyclones, but each game - especially those played at Jack Trice Stadium - has been a tightly contested matchup.
"It doesn't make any difference who you play, anybody can beat anybody," Snyder said. "These are young guys are no different than our young guys. They want to succeed, and they want to play well. When they're motivated to do so, they'll play hard. Anybody can beat anybody, that's been proven day in and day out in college football for the last 100 years, so you better be ready to play."
Waters was ready to play last weekend as he threw for 223 yards and two touchdowns on 19-of-28 aim while he also rushing 17 times for 55 yards and two more scores.
Like Snyder, Waters said he takes no game lightly, and while he is excited to get in front of his family and friends in his home state, he understands the task at hand and said he won't let the excitement of playing close to home get to his head.
"It's going to be a special place," said Waters, "especially the experience for me going there as a kid and seeing the game. I never really knew if I was going to play there, so this is going to be a great experience, a great time.
"But I've got to treat it just like every other game. I can't go out and try to win the game on the first play or one single play. I've got to go out, prepare like I know how and take what the defense gives me."
Preparation is key, and come 11 a.m., today, the two teams will battle to prove which one is better prepared.
To check out even more on K-State football before kickoff today, visit http://www.kstatesports.com/gameday.