This season Big 12 football has been more exciting than it has been in quite some time and this match up between heavyweights the no.4 Kansas State Wildcats (6-0, 3-0 in Big 12) and the no.13 West Virginia Mountaineers (5-1, 2-1 in Big 12) in Morgantown, WV may just be the best game of the season involving the conference that almost wasn’t this season.
Kansas State is coming off of a close call last week notching a 27-21 road victory against the Iowa State Cyclones and will now have to pull off back-to-back road victories in order to improve to 7-0 and solidify their spot as one of the best teams in the nation. The Wildcats are ranked 112th in the FBS in passing yards gained per game (179 yards), 11th in rushing yards gained per game (248.5 yards), 15th in points scored per game (40.8 yards) and 19th in points allowed per game (16.5 points).
Kansas State senior quarterback Collin Klein (1,074 passing yards, 7 TD, 2 INT, completed 66.9% of his attempts, 98 carries for 510 yards and 10 TD) is having a very good season so far and will need to put together another terrific game in attempts to keep up with the explosive West Virginia offense.
Klein will also need help from junior running back John Hubert (98 carries for 606 yards and 8 TD along with 8 receptions for 26 yards), junior wideout Tramaine Thompson (17 receptions for 283 yards and 3 TD and Chris Harper (19 receptions for 258 yards and a TD). If these players along can step up and play well and the Wildcats can get a big game out of their very solid defensive unit then they could give West Virginia consecutive and place some major damage on the big time Bowl game chances, while in the process keeping their own National Title hopes alive.
West Virginia enters this game coming off of their first loss of the season at the hands to the no.17 Texas Tech Red Raiders in blowout fashion 49-14, looking to shake that off with a big time home victory. The Mountaineers are currently ranked third in passing yards gained per game (384.8 yards), 75th in rushing yards gained per game (158.8 yards), seventh in points scored per game (45.7 points) and 112th in points allowed per game (37.3 points).
West Virginia wins and losses based on the performance that their Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback Geno Smith does in a game. Last week Smith didn’t have a terrible game but it was by far his worst performance of the season completing 29 of his 55 attempts for 275 yards and just one touchdown.
On the season Smith has passed for 2,271 yards (2nd in FBS), 25 touchdowns (1st in FBS), completed 75.3% of his attempts (1st in FBS) and has yet to throw a single interception. Smith will need help as he does every week from his running game and that means that Andrew Buie is going to have to step and produce.
On the year Buie has 104 carries for 504 yards and five touchdowns. Smith Will also look to hook up with his dual threats at wide receiver Stedman Bailey (55 receptions for 766 yards and a FBS best 14 TD) and Tavon Austin (67 receptions for 761 yards and 8 TD) as he has done all season to put a plethora of points up on the score board. Getting their ghastly defense to actually play inspired wouldn’t be such a bad thing for their chances of pulling off the upset either.
I think this is the week Kansas State losses their first game of the season, I just don’t see Smith having another poor game. West Virginia 45 – Kansas State 32.