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Weather: 60º Rainy
|Points Per Game||43.3||43.7|
|Points Allowed Per Game||29.0||22.3|
|Pass Yards Allowed||243.2||276.5|
|Rush Yards Allowed||210.7||241.2|
It’s Halloween weekend, Mountaineer Week, and all eyes are on Morgantown as the 11th ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys come into town for a noon nationalized tv game on ABC. It’s Saturdays like these that Mountaineer memories are made.
This series has seen back-to-back wins four times, dating back to the first game in 1928 when the Mountaineers won the first two games of the series. Oklahoma State won the last two games in this series, tying it up 4-4. If this trend stays the same, it would be West Virginia’s turn to win the next two games, starting this weekend.
Mason Rudolph and Oklahoma State comes in with the No. 1 offense in the country. Rudolph leads the country in passing yards (2,650/378.6 per game) and his favorite target, James Washington, is 1st in the country in receiving yards per game (130.6) and 6th in the country in yards per reception (24.1).
Getting pressure on Mason Rudolph will be key to the success of West Virginia’s defense. The Cowboy offensive line has been beaten up the past few weeks although they do return starting left tackle in senior Aaron Cochran and right guard Teven Jenkins is listed as questionable. The offensive line was questionable to start the season and with all the shuffling up front, I think the DAWGS will take advantage and get pressure on the quarterback.
If Rudolph has time in the pocket, he has two Biletnikoff finalists on the outside – Washington and Marcell Ateman (33 receptions, 655 yards, 4 TD) – that can light up the scoreboard.
The Cowboys have 1,343 rushing yards on the year led by Justice Hill (750 yards, 5TD) and J.D. King (308 yards, 3 TD).
There really is no shutting down the Oklahoma State offense but with the battered offensive line, I do believe that Tony Gibson will put together a good defensive game plan to slow them down. He did it in 2014 against the top offense, Baylor, and last season lining up across from the Patrick Mahomes and the best offense in the country, Texas Tech.
The Oklahoma State defense has had its weaknesses, especially in the run game, but they currently rank 3rd in the Big XII in total defense (359.7 ypg). Safety Tre Flowers leads the team in tackles (38) and linebacker Chad Whitener comes in with 36 of his own.
Defensive Coordinator Glenn Spencer runs a 4-3 defensive scheme. They have been weak in the middle against the run game. West Virginia should be able to run the ball against the Cowboys, but their safeties like to creep up to the line of scrimmage to make plays. If they do, it could be a big day for Will Grier and his receivers.
The Mountaineer offense has been able to fill up the stat sheet against some of the better defenses in the country, ranking them 5th in the country in total offense (539.4 ypg) and I don’t expect that to change this weekend.
This teams’ downfall in their two losses against ranked opponents has been mistakes. Limit the mistakes on all three sides of the ball and West Virginia wins this game.
The last two weeks, the Mountaineers have been on both ends of comebacks, but came out with a win each time. You can see this team improve each week on all three sides of the ball.
I have the Mountaineers winning this game. The defense puts a lid on an explosive Oklahoma State offense, although they will be contained they will not be shut down. The defense will hold them below their season averages.
The offense will be clicking on all cylinders as Will Grier and company will have a big day adding to their already impressive stats. The Mountaineers win 45-35 and David Sills and Grier will start to get more national attention after a big performance.