#6 West Virginia
Kickoff: 7:00 pm est
Location: Ames, IA (Jack Trice Stadium)
Announcers: Tim Brando and Spencer Tillman
|Points Per Game||41.4||23.6|
|Points Allowed Per Game||18.6||24.4|
|Pass Yards Allowed||211.4||227.6|
|Rush Yards Allowed||120.8||122.0|
The sixth ranked West Virginia Mountaineers (5-0, 3-0) are traveling to Ames this weekend to take on the Iowa State Cyclones (2-3, 1-2). This will be the earliest in a season these two teams have played each other. All six games have been staged in November. WVU currently has a four-game winning streak over the Cyclones and lead the all-time series 5-1. WVU is 3-0 in Ames and have averaged 39 points in those games.
In the last meeting, the Mountaineers beat the Cyclones 20-16 for their sixth win on the season. Iowa State came in ranked no. 14 in the country after winning four in a row, including wins over then no. 3 Oklahoma and no. 4 TCU.
Iowa State starting quarterback Kyle Kempt may be available versus the Mountaineers this Saturday. He suffered a knee injury, in a loss, against in-state rival Iowa in the fourth quarter at the beginning of the season. Zeb Noland took over the offense and was poised in his first start versus Oklahoma, throwing for 360 yards and two touchdowns. In his next two starts he only threw for 312 yards and two touchdowns total.
After the second series last week against no.25 Oklahoma State, Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell put in true freshman Brock Purdy and he didn’t disappoint. He guided his Cyclones in the upset win with 318 yards passing, 83 yards rushing and five total touchdowns.
The Cyclones are possibly returning preseason All-Big 12 running back David Montgomery this week. He was injured on the first play of the season opener. He played injured in the next four games before he sat out in Stillwater last weekend. In his last two appearances, he rushed for 208 yards and two touchdowns combined. If Montgomery can’t go, look for Kene Nwangwu and Sheldon Croney to carry the load.
At receiver, they have playmaker Hakeem Butler averaging 20.7 yards per receptions and has four touchdowns on the year. Deshaunte Jones leads the team in receptions with 25 for 196 yards and a touchdown.
The Iowa State defense has been creating havoc in the backfield. They rank ninth nationally in tackles for loss per game (8.8) and have averaged 10 in the last four games. Defensive end JaQuan Bailey leads the team in tackles for loss with 7.5 and 2.5 sacks.
The Cyclones get pressure up the middle with Outland and Nagurski Trophy watch list member Ray Lima. The defensive tackle has 14 tackles and two TFL’s on the season.
Iowa State has one of the top cornerbacks in college football in Brian Peavy. He leads all active players in passes defended with 39.
They’re ranked in third in the Big 12 in total defense (349.6) and fourth in scoring defense (24.4)
In the last 16 games, the Cyclones are only allowing 7.6 points in the second half. The Mountaineers haven’t had a lot of production in the second half in the last two games, scoring seven against Texas Tech and 17 last week versus Kansas.
The Mountaineer offense is one of the best in the country. They rank tenth in the country in total offense (526.8) and fourth in third down conversions (57%).
Quarterback Will Grier has thrown for over 300 yards in all five games this year and 429 yards in the season opener in Charlotte. He has had three receivers this year that have led the team in receiving.
Marcus Simms (4th) David Sills (11th) and Gary Jennings (12th) are in the top 12 in the conference for receiving yards per game.
It’s been running back by committee for West Virginia. Whoever has the “hot hand” on gameday gets the bulk of the carries. Freshman Leddie Brown appears to be getting stronger as the season goes along. He leads the team in rushing with 296 yards and three touchdowns and Kennedy Mckoy is right behind Brown with 288 yards and two touchdowns. Martell Pettaway isn’t far behind with 213 yards.
This game is setting up to be a dog fight. In Iowa State’s last eight losses the last two seasons, they have been by 10 points or fewer and by an average margin of six points.
Although the West Virginia defense is first in the conference in points allowed (18.6), this might be their toughest test with Brock Purdy. His ability to run and throw could keep the defense on their heels. The Mountaineer defense has had a lot of success bringing blitzes, ranking fourth nationally in tackles for loss (9.6), Purdy could use his legs to avoid the pressure and find the holes in the defense.
The Iowa State defense is tough; however, West Virginia’s offense as talent and depth at every skill position. The Cyclones will move the ball but will not be able to put up enough points to pull off the upset.
Iowa State will score a touchdown late to make it close, but West Virginia wins 31-27 in victory formation.