Now that the bad taste is out of our mouths, we can begin to look forward to next week’s matchup against Kansas State. The 34-27 loss to Texas Tech was a heartbreaker, but there is still a lot of season left. Though it was a bad loss, West Virginia is not a bad team right now. All it takes is one moment to turn around the course of a season, and I think that moment comes this week against Kansas State.
Call me crazy, but this is a game I am very confident West Virginia will win. Yes, the Wildcats are nationally ranked, and also knocked off Oklahoma. However, their schedule also hasn’t been the most difficult so far.
They drew both Texas Tech and Kansas at home, and played a TCU team that is obviously struggling this season on the road. Their win over Oklahoma was impressive, but the Sooners are breaking in several new players at key positions. Therefore, it takes away from the impact of the victory. Their record may say 4-1, but they have had several things work out in their favor.
This week, the Wildcats will not have the same fortune. They will be traveling to Morgantown, which is never an easy venue to play in, and will be competing against a pissed off Mountaineer team that just lost in Lubbock. Outside of Oklahoma’s talent, this will be Kansas State’s toughest challenge of the season.
Defensively, this matchup is ideal for West Virginia. Kansas State is not the worst offense in the Big 12, but they are certainly not the best either. They will be coming into Morgantown with a backup quarterback. Though Will Howard has yet to lose as a starting quarterback in college, West Virginia’s defense will be the best he has faced so far. The freshman will have the Stills Brothers coming after him early and often, and that could very likely get into his head.
Offensively, I expect West Virginia to come out with a fire under their tails. They have quite literally dropped the ball this season, and will be looking to prove doubters wrong. Kansas State’s defense has surprisingly been mediocre this season. Right now, they are eighth in the Big 12 in total defense, and are one of the worst in the conference against the pass. If receivers can hold onto the ball and make plays this weekend, it will put the pressure on the Wildcats early.
Despite their ranking, Kansas State provides a winnable game for West Virginia. It will be which team wants it more, and I feel the Mountaineers will be a little more desperate this week. I expect a big performance from WVU this Saturday.