(Photo by WVU Athletics)
When WVU travels to Ames, Iowa next Saturday, they will do so with the odds stacked against them. The Iowa State Cyclones are one of the hottest teams in College Football, and are on track to make their first appearance in the Big 12 Championship Game.
However, while the Mountaineers will almost certainly go in as a rather large underdog, they have the tools needed to beat the Cyclones, spoiling their magical season under Matt Campbell.
Here are five reasons WVU will beat Iowa State next Saturday:
- Leddie Brown
Leddie Brown has easily been WVU’s best surprise of the season. The junior from Philadelphia has been difficult for teams to stop, and we can expect he will be fed early and often in this one. Now that he has had time to heal after the postponed Oklahoma game, we can expect Brown to show why he is the best running back in the Big 12.
This one will be a battle of the running backs, and my money will be on Leddie to have the bigger game.
West Virginia comes into the game with the best defense in the Big 12. They will need to play their best game on Saturday against a Cyclone squad who have been red hot on offense as of late.
It has been difficult to move the ball on the Mountaineer defense all season long, and it will be the same story for Iowa State. Brock Purdy will be pressured all day by the Stills brother, and he will make mistakes against a WVU secondary who has been playing lights out.
- Neal Brown
Under Dana Holgorsen, games like this would be shoe-in losses. However, the program is different under Neal Brown, and are overdue a major upset victory.
I trust Neal Brown will have a solid game-plan against the Cyclones. He will have his team ready to play, and his presence will be a factor in the outcome.
- Special Teams
One area WVU has been solid in all season long has been special teams -minus a muffed punt or two by Alec Sinkfield. They don’t allow teams to beat them in this area of the game, and it usually keeps the Mountaineers in the game late.
On the road, you absolutely have to play solid special teams. I expect this unit to play mistake-free football for West Virginia, keeping them from giving Iowa State a short field with a prime opportunity to score.
After having 21-days off, West Virginia will be coming into the game well rested. On the other hand, Iowa State is coming off of an emotional win over Texas, and could be in for a letdown on their home turf.
Expect West Virginia to have fresh legs, helping them take momentum early. This will set the trend for the game, leading to a huge Mountaineer victory.