Same deal as last week. These ran in today’s paper and I will usually post them on Friday before the games, but travel threw a wrench in that plan and pushed it back to now.
WVU PASS OFFENSE vs. KANSAS PASS DEFENSE
Last week against North Carolina State, West Virginia showed it has some weapons at receiver, like redshirt freshman Sam James, who are more than capable of making big plays in the passing game for the Mountaineers. Kansas, meanwhile, has been decent in defending the pass, but far from great. KU has two interceptions for the season so far, including one by senior cornerback Hasan Defense, but both of those came in the opener against Indiana State.
WVU PASS DEFENSE vs. KANSAS PASS OFFENSE
KU senior quarterback Carter Stanley had one of the best performances of his college career last week against Boston College, completing 20 of 27 passes for 238 yards and three touchdowns along with an interception. There have not been many three-touchdown games in his career, and the Mountaineers have been pretty good against the pass. WVU ranks 29th nationally in pass defense, led by a pair of standout senior cornerbacks in Keith Washington and Hakeem Bailey.
WVU RUN OFFENSE vs. KANSAS RUN DEFENSE
West Virginia was much better at running the ball last week against North Carolina State, especially with senior Kennedy McKoy, but the Mountaineers still rank among the worst rushing teams in the country this week. Kansas hasn’t been great at stopping the run, allowing 182 yards on the ground per game to opponents. KU allowed a 150-yard rusher last week at Boston College, but senior linebacker Najee Stevens-McKenzie has done well to get into the backfield with a team-high three tackles for a loss.
WVU RUN DEFENSE vs. KANSAS RUN OFFENSE
West Virginia had better pack a snack for Saturday because it could be a long day for the Mountaineer defense trying to contain Kansas running backs Pooka Williams and Khalil Herbert — who both topped 100 yards on the ground at Boston College. WVU’s defensive front, however, has been one of its strong points with junior Darius Stills five total tackles for a loss causing a lot of problems for opposing offensive lines.
West Virginia has come up big on special teams a few times so far this season, with fullback Logan Thimons blocking an NC State punt last week to help WVU put the game away. The return game for WVU, however, has not produced any memorable moments, but there also have been no major mistakes by the Mountaineers in that department. Kansas has a weapon in junior punter Kyle Thompson, who was a preseason All-Big 12 first team selection by the media.
West Virginia’s Neal Brown coached his butt off in last week’s win against visiting NC State, and the Mountaineers feel like a team with some good momentum going into Lawrence this week. On the other side the same could be said for the Jayhawks after their win at Boston College. First-year head coach Les Miles has been around the block a time or two, and the KU fan base appears fired up after the big win last week. Throw in a rare KU home field advantage and it could be tough for WVU this week.