MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – The rollercoaster ride of a season for West Virginia football has been consistent all of 2021.
West Virginia seemed to lose all of their momentum after falling to No. 11 Oklahoma State, 24-3. Now, the Mountaineers will travel to Manhattan, Kansas, to take on the Kansas State Wildcats this Saturday, which might as well be their biggest game of the season in regards to bowl eligibility.
Kansas State is currently on a three-game winning streak, defeating Texas Tech (25-24), TCU (31-12) and Kansas (35-10). WVU head coach Neal Brown talked about where the Wildcats stand at this point of the season.
“They’re playing their best football of the year, three-game winning streak,” Brown said. “I think they went through a little downturn there where they lost three and they’ve been able to turn it around.”
They’re going to have to if they want to participate in a bowl game this season. They have three games to win two of them: Kansas State, Texas and Kansas.
Brown has been his team fully focused on KSU, especially their good defense.
“They play three different noses. They play about four or five different units,” Brown said. “They rotate two-deep linebackers and rotate a bunch of secondary guys in.”
“They roll a bunch of guys in there defensively,” Brown added.
The Wildcats allow just 21.6 points per contest, which is 31st in FBS play. DE Felix Anudike-Uzomah has came out of no where for KSU, in his sophomore campaign. Anudike-Uzomah has recorded 13.0 tackles-for-loss and 11.0 sacks in nine games played.
West Virginia’s struggling offensive line will have to step up and maintain Anudike-Uzomah as much as possible. Against Oklahoma State, quarterback Jarret Doege was sacked eight times. The line has been a struggle all season and will have to do some work come Saturday.
“The thing that I respect watching him [Anudike-Uzomah] on film is he plays hard,” Brown said. “You an try and chip him, you can try and double him. Some pass rushers, they get frustrated. I haven’t seen the kid frustrated.”
If West Virginia wants to turn the tide again, they will have to do it without TE Mike O’Laughlin, CB NickTroy Fortune and now, LB Lance Dixon. Brown announced on Tuesday that Dixon is doubtful to play in the Kansas State game. O’Laughlin and Fortune will miss the remainder of the season with injuries.
Expect LB Deshawn Stevens to fill in for Dixon’s role against the Wildcats, if Dixon does miss it.
For the many up’s-and-down’s that WVU has dealt with this season, they need to find some consistency in the last three Big 12 games in order to become bowl eligible.
(Top Photo: Kelsie LeRose – WVSN)