photo by Sean McNamara
WVU PASS OFFENSE VS K-STATE PASS DEFENSE
West Virginia had its best passing game of the season last week, with starting quarterback Austin Kendall throwing for 355 yards, but with no touchdowns and two interceptions. The Mountaineers have not been great through the air this season, while Kansas State has the Big 12’s best pass defense at 194.8 yards allowed per game. Junior defensive back A.J. Parker leads the Wildcats with three interceptions and eight pass breakups.
K-STATE PASS OFFENSE VS. WVU PASS DEFENSE
As good as the Wildcats have been at defending the pass, they have not fared nearly as well on the offensive side. K-State ranks last in the Big 12 at 180.7 passing yards per game, but quarterback Skylar Thompson — also a threat with his legs — did throw for 253 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions last week at Texas. The WVU pass defense was not good last week, but senior cornerback Keith Washington continues to play well for the Mountaineers.
WVU RUN OFFENSE VS K-STATE RUN DEFENSE
The Mountaineers struggled to run the ball again in last week’s loss and have shown little improvement in that area as the season begins to wind down. True freshman running back Tony Mathis got in last week’s game and caught a touchdown pass. K-State’s run defense is only slightly better on average than the Mountaineers, but you haven’t needed to be great to stop WVU’s run this season. Sophomore defensive end Wyatt Hubert leads KSU with five sacks and 7.5 tackles for a loss.
WVU RUN DEFENSE VS K-STATE RUN OFFENSE
West Virginia has not been great at stopping the run so far in 2019, but defensive line play has been a bright spot. Junior lineman Darius Stills didn’t do much against Texas Tech, but remains a matchup nightmare for opposing offensive linemen. K-State averages nearly 200 rushing yards per game, but could be down two running backs. Harry Trotter has started the last two games for KSU with usual starter James Gilbert recovering from an ankle injury. No. 2 running back Jordon Brown was hurt last week too.
Josh Growden is still a pretty good punter and Winston Wright’s elite speed make him a constant threat on kick return for WVU. Casey Legg could see action at placekicker for the third consecutive game with Evan Staley’s status still uncertain. K-State’s special teams, however, are pretty stacked. Joshua Youngblood is the Big 12’s leading kick returner and has a touchdown this season. Devin Anctil is the league’s leading punter and kicker Blake Lynch is 11 of 12 on field goal attempts and perfect on PATs.
There is a lot working against West Virginia in this department. First-year K-State coach Chris Klieman has the Wildcats playing much better than many thought they would this season, and Manhattan can be a difficult environment when it gets rocking. Neal Brown and the Mountaineers have a tall task on their hands this weekend, and it will be interesting to see how Brown manages the roster and playing time with “everybody” and “everyone” under evaluation.
Quip — Is Willie the Wildcat a mascot with a human body, or a human with a mascot head?
Pick — K-State 31, WVU 17