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Weather: High 48º/Low 40º with a chance of rain
|Points Per Game||40.2||33.0|
|Points Allowed Per Game||29.9||24.8|
|Pass Yards Allowed||254.9||295.8|
|Rush Yards Allowed||193.1||126.8|
West Virginia has not fared well against Kansas State since joining the Big XII. The Mountaineers are just 2-5 against the Wildcats and 1-4 since conference realignment. Kansas State has outscored West Virginia 31.2 to 17.2 since 2012.
Kansas State quarterback Jesse Ertz status is still unknown, although he is listed as the #1 quarterback on the depth chart this week, but Wildcat head coach Bill Snyder has expected him back for several weeks. Ertz was looking to have a big year for Kansas State, but has missed the last four games with a knee injury.
Ertz is a big part of the of the Kansas State offense. He is the typical Kansas State quarterback, he will beat you with his legs, then the moment he sucks the defense in, he will throw the ball over the top of the defense.
If Ertz does not start, Alex Delton will take his place behind the center. You will get a lot of the same from Delton, and with every week he has started for the Wildcats he has improved. In Ertz’s absence, Delton has accumulated 887 yards of total offense, 4 total touchdowns and 2-2 in his 4 starts.
The Kansas State offense does have their playmakers, but inconsistency has hurt the Wildcat offense. This is mainly attributed to the injury of Jesse Ertz. They are ninth in total offense, last in passing offense, but third in rushing offense in the Big XII.
Wide receivers Byron Pringle and Dalton Schoen are playmakers on the outside, that can make defenses pay dearly when they get the ball in their hands. Pringle averages 24.3 yards per reception and Schoen 22.0. Isaiah Zuber is there go to receiver, leading the team with 38 receptions on the year.
Running back Alex Barnes leads the team in rushing (587 yards). He averages 5.8 yards a carry and can score any time he touches the ball.
The defense for the Wildcats has not been as good as years past and part of that reason is, they are on the field too long. With their 4-3 defensive scheme they are a physical defense and know how to slow the Big XII offenses down.
Kansas State has the worst passing defense in the Big XII (295.8 ypg) but have physical corners in DJ Reed, whom leads the team in interceptions, and Duke Shelly. Free Safety Kendall Adams watches over the secondary, while strong safety Denzel Goolsby will secure things in the running game and in the intermediate passing game.
The linebacker for the Wildcats have been phenomenal in the run game. Jayd Kirby is 7th in the Big XII in tackles for a loss (8.5) and Trent Tanking is 6th in tackles. These guys are well coached and find themselves in the right position to make plays.
The pass defense has not done well this year due to the lack of pass rush, but keep an eye on defensive tackle Will Geary bull rushing up the middle. They have some talented bookends in Reggie Walker and Tanner Wood, but they just haven’t made much of an impact this year.
With a Bill Snyder team there is two things that are certain; 1. They are going to be well coached and 2. They are going to take care of the ball.
West Virginia needs to take care of the ball and play physical the way they did against the Cyclones last week, they will also need to stay patient in the running game.
Defensively for West Virginia, they will have to stay disciplined. They can’t afford to miss tackles or have any blown assignments. The secondary cannot creep up in run support or they will get burned in the passing game. The defensive line and linebackers have to take care of business up front.
The special teams for the Mountaineers cannot give up any big plays, this has hurt the Mountaineers, not only this year, but most noticeably in this series.
I think West Virginia goes into Bill Snyder’s Family Stadium and takes care of business. The defense has improved every week and have become more physical in the process.
Offensive Coordinator Jake Spavital showed patience in his play calling last week and I see him continuing that this week against Kansas State and leaning more on the run game.
I have the Mountaineers rolling in this one, 45-13.