MORGANTOWN W.Va. – The Bill Snyder Family Stadium will play host to the West Virginia Mountaineers for the fifth time today at 12 p.m. EST.
The 4-5 Mountaineers are on a roll in the series, capturing six of the 11 matchups, including the last five seasons straight. A win today would require only a single additional win (in either Week 11 vs. Texas or Week 12 vs. Kansas) in order to earn a below-average Mountaineer squad bowl eligibility. The only roadblock that WVU head coach Neal Brown is worried about today, though, is going 1-0 in Week 10.
Methodical processes are what captured back-to-back conference wins against TCU and Iowa State earlier in conference play. Now, the Wildcats may present a difficult target to nail down. Third-season head coach Chris Klieman’s crew is lead by senior quarterback Skylar Thompson. Back from a knee injury to open the season, Thompson has since registered stellar numbers; he’s thrown for 1,318 yards and eight touchdowns during the five conference games he’s seen the field during. That places him first in the Big 12 Conference for yards per conference game (263.6) and he’s not showing that slowing down is on the agenda.
As the WVU defense works through Thompson’s presence, the K-State defensive front will craft a response to WVU redshirt senior QB Jarret Doege. He’s punched 2,180 yards on 184 completions, good for 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 2021; that’s enough to lead the Big 12 Conference in passing in the Week 9 and 10 awards.
Of note to watch for coming off the Wildcat line of scrimmage is sophomore running back Deuce Vaughn, who ranks No. 12 in the nation in rushing touchdowns (12) and No. 24 in rushing yards (866) through nine games. Vaughn will be joined by an offensive line that has produced a No. 30 ranking in third down conversions. Nearly half of the third down situations that Thompson has gotten the Wildcats into have been quickly remedied.
It may not be that easy today, as the WVU defense ranks No. 24 in third down defense, only allowing 42 of this season’s opponent’s 124 attempts to convert. In the event that the ball penetrates the WVU red zone, defensive coordinator Jordan Lesley’s team still ranks No. 22 in the country in defending against red zone encroachment. Of 32 attempts to score, WVU’s opponents have only reached the end zone 13 times (six rush/seven pass) and 11 times via field goal increment.
Staying on the defensive side of the ball, the Wildcats have a steady stance off defensive coordinator Joe Klanderman. His schemes have allowed an average of three opponent touchdowns per game and have created 23 sacks from a mixture of the linebackers and defensive ends; one of the latter is sophomore Felix Anudike-Uzomah, who has rostered 11 of those QB takedowns (No. 1 in the nation) as well as 38 tackles (27 solo) and 13 TFLs (No. 6 in the nation). He’s sure to be a threat to Doege’s already-dissolving pocket presence.
In the event that Klanderman allows WVU to penetrate the red zone, they’ll have an issue on their hands. The Mountaineers rank No. 31 in the nation in red zone offense; the team has converted 15 rush/8 pass and 11 field goals on 38 attempts. Joined in the top-31 are fellow Big 12 foes Houston (18), Baylor (17), Texas Tech and Texas (T14), Iowa State (6), and Oklahoma (2).
If you can’t make it to the Little Apple, we have all the ways that Mountaineer Nation can tune into today’s game below!
TV Channel: FS1
TV Crew: Eric Collins (PBP), Petros Papadakis (analyst)
Radio: Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG
Radio Crew: Tony Caridi (PBP), Dwight Wallace (analyst), Jed Drenning (sideline)
Local Channel: WVU Football Radio Affiliates
The stream will also be on the free WVU Gameday app in the Apple App Store and Google Play.
SIRIUS XM: Ch. 98 on Sirius radios and Ch. 200 on XM radios