While the Kansas State Wildcats will be coming into Morgantown as the 16th-ranked team in the nation, they are actually an inferior opponent to the unranked Mountaineers.
Despite riding a four-game winning streak (4-1, 4-0 in Big 12 play), the Chris Klieman led squad has actually been rather mediocre on the stat sheet. Let’s start with the offense.
Though the Wildcats are averaging more points per game than the Mountaineers, they are lacking in all other categories. The worst stat for Kansas State’s offense, and the one that may just bite them on Saturday, is their third-down conversion rate.
K-State is only converting on 27.1% of their third-down attempts this season, succeeding on only 16 of 59 third-downs. As compared to WVU’s 35.8% conversion rate. Yardage wise, the Mountaineers also hold a large advantage.
West Virginia is averaging over 50 more yards through the air (291 to 238), and 40 more yards on the ground (169 to 129). Despite their struggles this season, West Virginia has still come up with some big plays on offense, and possesses a much stronger offense than Kansas State.
On defense, West Virginia has the best unit in the Big 12 while Kansas State ranks near the bottom. The Wildcats are currently being gashed through the air, giving up 268 yards per contest – good for dead last in the Big 12. On the ground, they are surrendering 159 yards per game. Placing them at the bottom half of the conference.
The Mountaineers on the other hand have been the exact opposite. They have the league’s best pass defense (152 yards per game), and are second in the conference in rush defense (109 yards per game). The Wildcats are also giving up more points per game than West Virginia (23 to 21 per game).
The Wildcats have had their fair share of lucky bounces, but they may be running into a buzzsaw this weekend. If these averages stay true, West Virginia will be in position to win this game late. In case you needed something to inspire you coming into this matchup, remember these stats, and keep your eye out for how each category plays out on Saturday.
(All stats are per ESPN)