#12 West Virginia
Kickoff: Noon est
Location: Morgantown, WV (Mountaineer Field)
Announcers: Anish Shroff and Ahmad Brooks
|Points Per Game||28.8||42.3|
|Points Allowed Per Game||24.2||17.8|
|Pass Yards Allowed||202.4||212.8|
|Rush Yards Allowed||177.2||131.0|
The West Virginia Mountaineers (4-0, 2-0) host the Kansas Jayhawks (2-3, 0-2) on homecoming weekend. The Mountaineers are 6-1 all-time versus the Jayhawks and won last year’s meeting in Lawrence 56-34.
Kansas started the season losing to FCS program Nichols State before winning back to back games versus Central Michigan and Rutgers. The Jayhawks were looking like a team on the rise after they drubbed Rutgers 55-14. Freshman running back Pooka Williams ran for 288 yards in their two wins and Kansas was averaging 43 points per game. Williams has carried the offense in the last four games averaging 118.5 yards rushing per game and has four touchdowns on the season.
The Jayhawks struggled in the passing game until Carter Stanley got the start under center last weekend. It was the first time Kansas had broken the 200-yard mark in passing as Stanley went 24-32 for 247 yards and three touchdowns in a 48-28 loss against Oklahoma State.
Stanley has playmakers on the outside in Steven Sims, Kerr Johnson, and Jeremiah Booker. All three have the capability to win one on one match ups. Kansas has yet to throw an interception on the year.
Kansas has done a great job taking care of the ball this year and lead the nation in turnover ratio at +12. The defense has been opportunist forcing 14 turnovers on the season. Eight different players have an interception.
The Jayhawk defense is led by preseason All-Big 12 defensive team selections Joe Dineen and Daniel Wise. Dineen patrols the middle of the defense and leads the team in tackles (63). Wise is a force in the middle of the defensive line. He has 13 tackles on the year, 3 tackles for a loss and a sack.
The secondary is full of veterans except freshman Corione Harris. They rotate four corners in throughout the game and only give up 202.4 yards passing per game.
West Virginia is coming off a win over then 25th ranked Texas Tech 42-34. The Mountaineers started fast scoring 28 points in the first quarter and accumulating 279 yards of total offense. WVU was winning 35-10 at halftime. They came out in the second half showing a lack of focus and energy that allowed Texas Tech to get back in the game.
It’s been a priority all week in practice to not only start fast but to finish strong. West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen emphasized all week that the Mountaineers had to play a full 60 minutes and should be excited to play every week no matter who the opponent is.
Despite the poor offensive showing in the second half last week, the Mountaineer offense has been one of the most efficient offenses in the country. They rank first in the Big 12 and fourth nationally in third down conversions (59%). WVU has scored 25 of their 44 drives this season and is 15-15 in the red zone, 12 have gone for touchdowns.
Quarterback Will Grier has guided his offense to a tone of 531.3 yards per game, ranking them ninth nationally. He is third among the nation’s quarterbacks with 367.3 passing yards per outing and in touchdowns (17).
Marcus Simms had a career day last week with nine receptions, 138 yards and a touchdown. That marked his third straight game with over 100 yards receiving.
The Mountaineers have of trio of running backs that combine for 153.8 rushing yards per game. Kennedy McKoy is averaging 6.4 yards a carry and Martell Pettaway is at 5.5 yards per rushing attempt.
West Virginia’s defense has been tormenting offenses this season. They’ve held every team under their averages and is third in the nation in tackles for loss, averaging 10 a game.
Their coming off an impressive performance against the nation’s number one offense in total yards, holding them to nearly 200 yards below their season average. They put a lot of pressure on freshman quarterback Alan Bowman and knocked him out of the game in the second quarter, when Ezekiel Rose and Josh Norwood sandwiched him in the backfield.
The WVU coaching staff have stressed playing four quarters all week long and the Mountaineers will receive the message and stay focused the entire 60 minutes. I anticipate the Mountaineers will start the game and the second half fast and cruise their way to a victory.
Mountaineers win 59-20.