The Mountaineers go into Kansas State this weekend looking for their first road win of the season.
In three games away from Morgantown, the Mountaineers have been less than sharp. It all started in Norman against the Sooners. West Virginia got off to a promising start in the first quarter against Oklahoma when Dreamius Smith ran 75 yards for an early touchdown to put the Mountaineers on top 7-0. That would be the last time any points were scored by West Virginia, and Oklahoma walked away with a 16-7 win.
The second road game wouldn't be much better for the Mountaineers. Going into Baltimore, the Mountaineers were expected to give rival Maryland a game. Six turnovers by West Virginia was the story in this one, and the Terrapins shutout the Mountaineers 37-0 for their first win against the Mountaineers since 2004.
Then there was Baylor. The night in Waco will haunt Mountaineer fans for years to come, as West Virginia got a taste of just how good the Bears are this season. With the likes of Bryce Petty and Lache Seastrunk, Baylor produced a school record 872 while tallying 73 points. Credit Baylor Head Coach Art Briles for not running up the score, as the Bears had 56 points at the half.
It has been, for the lack of a better term, ugly on the road this season, and the task does not get any easier this weekend when the Mountaineers travel to Manhattan, Ks. to take on the Kansas State Wildcats.
Last season, Kansas State senior quarterback Collin Klein led his team into Morgantown and won 55-14. It was all Wildcats that night, and the Mountaineers lost for the first time in consecutive weeks, making them 5-2. Kansas State advanced to a 7-0 start, and ultimately to the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.
This season both teams come into the game with a search for identity. The Wildcats sit at 2-4, coming off a bye week before playing the Mountaineers. West Virginia comes in at 3-4 off of a loss to Texas Tech last weekend at Milan Puskar Stadium. Despite the tough loss, the Mountaineers remain motivated. Linebacker Nick Kwiatkowski says it's important to forget the loss as quick as possible.
"You have to move on," said Kwiatkowski. "It's just one loss."
A big reason why the Mountaineers have struggled on the road this season is their lack of first quarter offensive production. According to Offensive Coordinator Shannon Dawson, it is important to get off to a good start.
"I don't think we've come out and scored on the first drive all season," said Dawson. "Maybe William and Mary, but we need to come out and score on our first possession."
Scoring on Bill Snyder's Kansas State defense is no easy task. In the Wildcats last game, they were able to hold Baylor to just 35 points, half of their season average.
On the flip side, the Mountaineer defense will need to be ready both physically and mentally. Defensive Coordinator Keith Patterson says that his defense will face a tough challenge.
"They are very physical," said Patterson. "They will run the same plays over and over, forcing you to make a mistake."
The Mountaineers face a tough test against the Wildcats in Manhattan, Ks., but quarterback Clint Trickett is excited for the game. Trickett says he's been a fan of Snyder ever since he was little.
"I've always looked up to Coach Snyder," said Trickett. "He doesn't have the best situation as far as recruiting goes at Kansas State, but he continue to win. I'm excited to play against a legend."
West Virginia and Kansas State is scheduled to kickoff at 3:45 central time on Fox Sports 1.