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NCAA Football Big 12 FootballOklahoma State CowboysWest Virginia Mountaineers

WVU vs OSU Preview

Richard Rowe- US PRESSWIRE

The West Virginia Mountaineers travel to Stillwater, OK on Saturday to face the Oklahoma State Cowboys.

The Mountaineers are struggling as of late, coming off of their third consecutive loss since 2005, ranked seventh in the Big XII with a record of 5-3 (2-3).

Oklahoma State is coming off of a 44-30 loss to the No. 2 Kansas State Wildcats. They are currently ranked fourth in the Big XII with a record of 5-3 (3-2).

That being said, one of these teams will return to the win column this week.

The Mountaineer defense has come under fire the last few weeks for its sloppy play, but showed a huge improvement in the Mountaineer’s last game against the Texas Christian Horned Frogs.

The Mountaineer offense has struggled ever since playing the Texas Tech Red Raiders a few weeks ago, and really hasn’t looked great since the game against the Texas Longhorns.

A friend of mine recently suggested the idea that perhaps the Mountaineers were overrated to begin the season, coming off an unexpected Orange Bowl blowout, and the big games they showed early in the season were due to poor defense on the opposing side of the ball. He mentioned that the defense looked “average” against a weak TCU team led by a freshman quarterback, and they had two weeks to prepare.

After I began to think about that, I realized how much sense that made. The Mountaineer offense played extremely well in its first five games, and has looked average at best since then.

Mountaineer quarterback Geno Smith struggled against TCU, and played what head coach Dana Holgorsen called his worst game since he’s been at WVU.

Smith hasn’t been anything special against strong defenses, and the two conference games the Mountaineers won were against Texas and the Baylor Bears, both of whom were exposed later in the season.

Texas lost 63-21 against the No. 13 Oklahoma Sooners, and only won its next three games by a combined 19 points. Baylor quickly dropped, losing three straight games after losing to WVU.

OSU enters Saturday’s game ranked 47 in total defense, and second in total offense. If there is ever a team capable of taking advantage of WVU’s weak defense, it’s OSU.

The Mountaineer’s enter with the 19th best offense in the country, and the 111th best defense.

On paper, this looks to be a high scoring game.

Player to watch:

My player to watch for this game is WVU wide receiver Stedman Bailey. Bailey was almost completely shut down against TCU, and did nearly nothing with only 2 catches for 30 yards and a touchdown.

He was playing injured. He needs to be close to 100 percent against OSU if the Mountaineers will win.

If the Mountaineer offense is going to get going, Bailey needs to step up. WVU’s other top wide receiver Tavon Austin did his part in last game with 11 catches for 101 yards and a touchdown, and a punt return for a TD as well.

The offense has been sluggish lately, and part of Geno Smith’s poor play is due to Bailey not being as explosive as usual due to injury.

Against the number two offense in the nation, the WVU offense better be prepared to score a lot to stay in the game.

My Prediction:

I think OSU will have it’s way with WVU.

The WVU offense has been too slow against defenses much worse than OSU’s, and the defense had trouble with a TCU team plagued with injuries.

OSU will score early and often, and the Mountaineers will not be able to answer.

OSU wins big 56-14.

 

Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeAtkinsonRS or visit his author page.