The West Virginia football team has only one game left this season. A loss to Kansas erased any hope of playing in the post-season. Now, on senior day, the Mountaineers will look to end their season with a win over Iowa State.
It seems fitting to end the year with a Big 12 match-up. It's no secret that West Virginia struggled when it came to conference play. The Mountaineers have a 2-6 record in the Big 12 and the recent loss to Kansas really put into perspective how difficult it's been for the Mountaineers to compete in this conference.
"You can't dwell on losses. You can't sit there and feel good about victories...for about 12 hours," said head coach Dana Holgorsen. "Then you've got to come in here and move on."
Iowa State enters Saturday's contest with a 2-9 record, a 1-7 record in Big 12 play. Despite their record the Cyclones are tough team. On several occasions they found themselves right in the thick of games, and although they may have come up short, Iowa State is definitely capable of giving West Virginia a run for their money.
"Without a doubt they are most competitive 2-9 team in the country," said Holgorsen. "[They're] really, really, sound and well-coached."
The Cyclones have found life at the quarterback position. Redshirt freshman, Grant Rohach, has given Iowa State new life offensively. Rohach and company downed Kansas in their last game. Roach threw for 300 yards and two touchdowns in that win.
"They've found their identity offensively," Holgorsen said. "Three really good running backs, huge offensive line; they've got a lot of depth."
Holgorsen also recognized that Iowa State's defense is a solid unit. The Cyclones' defense didn't surrender any points to Kansas, who put up 31 points against West Virginia. They also came away with one interception and a fumble recovery.
"They do a great job at holding their gaps," said Holgorsen. "They're going to try and take away the run. A lot of corner, zone blitz stuff. They bring down the safeties late; play a lot of man coverage outside. We're going to try and do what we do offensively, which is try to establish the run."
A lot of the rushing yards that Iowa State has given up come from the opposing team's quarterback. West Virginia is at a disadvantage when it comes to that stat. The Mountaineers' play at quarterback has been questionable all season, and they certainly don't possess any mobile quarterbacks.
Once again it's up in the air as to who will be the starting quarterback on Saturday. Most likely Ford Childress won't see any playing time. This leaves the usual duo of Clint Trickett and Paul Millard.
Trickett was recently cleared to play after suffering an injury against Texas and missing all of the Kansas game. Millard took Trickett's place in the Texas game and although he struggled early, he was able to control the offense for the majority of the game. Millard also got the start against Kansas. Millard threw for 242 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
"They're practicing hard, they're competing," said Holgorsen in regards to his quarterbacks. "I feel like we can win with either of them."
West Virginia will most likely try to rely on their versatile running back, Charles Sims. Sims is playing his last game for the Mountaineers on Saturday and will hope to go out just like the other seniors, with a win. Sims is only 54 yards away from having 1,000 rushing yards on the season. He has only this game against the Cyclones to pick up those yards.
"I'm just thankful to be here and preparing for this last game," said Sims. "Thankful to be here with these guys."
Sending the seniors out with a win is all the motivation West Virginia needs against Iowa State. There are a lot of questions going into this offseason, but they'll need to address those when the time comes. For now, it's all eyes on Iowa State and finishing this roller coaster of season with a victory.
"Hopefully this Saturday we can get a win," said Millard. "Right now, we're focused on Saturday. This is the last chance to send them [the seniors] out the right way."
The Mountaineers and Cyclones will clash on Saturday at 4 PM at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown. The game will be broadcasted live on Fox Sports 1.