West Virginia vs. Kansas State Game Preview - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

West Virginia vs. Kansas State Game Preview


After suffering the worst loss since the 2001 season, the No. 13 West Virginia University (5-1, 2-1) football team has an opportunity to bounce back against the No. 4 Kansas State Wildcats (6-0, 3-0) in a game under the lights at Mountaineer Field.

This game will contain two of the best quarterbacks in college football and two legitimate Heisman contenders with WVU's Geno Smith and KSU's Collin Klein. 

Last week for WVU, Texas Tech came in with a game plan on defense similar to what Maryland did earlier this season, which was bring a lot of heat, and it rattled the Mountaineer offense.  They only mustered 14 points against the Red Raiders.

The Wildcats played Iowa State in Ames last week in a tough contest, but KSU got the victory because of a 105-yard rushing and three-touchdown performance by Klein.

After back-to-back weeks of playing in Texas, West Virginia returns home to Morgantown where they have averaged 56.7 points per game this year.  The last time they played at home, they put up 70 points on Baylor.

Geno Smith is still No. 1 in the country in pass efficiency, even after a poor [to the standards he has set] showing against Texas Tech.  WVU as a unit is 3rd in passing yards, averaging 384.8 yards per game through the air.  They are also putting up 159 yards per game on the ground.

Dana Holgorsen said during his weekly press conference Tuesday that true freshman wide receiver Travares Copeland will start, likely replacing other true frosh Jordan Thompson.  After injuring his ankle last week, wide receiver Stedman Bailey says he'll play against the Wildcats.  The status for running back Shawne Alston, like it has been for the last month, is still in question.

The Kansas State defense is 19th in scoring, allowing 16.5 points per game.  They have been vulnerable against the pass this year, ranking 76th and giving up 239.3 through the air.  Their rush defense has been much better, ranking 17th and giving up 102 yards per game.

"They have a really good defense and good players on the front end as well as in the back end," Quarterback Geno Smith said.  "They play extremely hard and they all play together and work on one page.  The important thing for us is not to worry about what the other team does but to perfect our craft and worry about what we can do which is control the game."

The key for WVU on this side of the ball sounds like a clearly obvious answer, but the Mountaineers need to score almost every possession they have.  The KSU offense is not like others' in the Big 12 because they produce methodical drives and will try to keep the ball out of Geno's hands as long as they can.  WVU needs to take advantage of their opportunities.

The WVU defense was gashed last week against the Red Raiders and have really shown no improvement so far in 2012.  They rank near the bottom in many major statistical categories: 114th in points allowed [37.3], 117th in total yards allowed per game [496] and 122nd in passing yards allowed per game [364.7].  They have been good against the run however, ranking 44th and giving up 131.3 yards per game on the ground.

The Kansas State offense [averaging 40.8 points per game] is run directly through Collin Klein.  He is a major threat with his legs, rushing for 510 yards and 10 touchdowns through six games this season.  He can also beat you with his arm if need be, but that hasn't been the case so far.

"He's an amazing athlete," Defensive Coordinator Joe DeForest said.  "That's why he's one of the best players in the country.  You see people try to defend him in several different ways and he's still successful so we're going to have to get more hats on the ball.  They create such a different challenge than last week, it's totally opposite so we have to switch gears this week and prepare differently."

Klein, John Hubert, Daniel Sams and Angelo Pease have rushed for 1,425 yards and 21 touchdowns combined this year.  These numbers are good enough to put KSU 11th in rushing yards per game.

The key for WVU on this side of the ball is much easier said that done, but do not let Klein beat you with his legs.  Force him to stay in the pocket while putting a hand(s) in his face.

The weather forecast for Saturday is going to be chilly with a high of 54, but a beautiful partly cloudy day with a 20% chance of rain.  This is what we like to call "football weather."

The game is at 7:00 p.m. ET and will be aired on FOX.



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