Game Preview: Rushing Powers meet in Fort Worth - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Game Preview: Rushing Powers meet in Fort Worth

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WVU quarterback Will Grier talks with receiver David Sills during Saturday's game against Delaware St. game. WVU quarterback Will Grier talks with receiver David Sills during Saturday's game against Delaware St. game.

By Ryan Decker

The Big 12 isn’t a conference known for a ground and pound style of play, but when its two top teams at running the football square off this weekend in Fort Worth, versatility will be on display.

Only 1.2 yards per game separates No. 23 West Virginia (3-1) and No. 8 Texas Christian (4-0) in terms of production from its ground game. They’ve been that close so far this season but will look to distance themselves from one another on Saturday.

“TCU is always a fun one,” head coach Dana Holgorsen said Tuesday. “I just think if you look (at) the similarities between the two programs it builds a lot of interest in this game.”

For West Virginia, the combination of the Big 12’s leading rusher Justin Crawford, Kennedy McKoy and Martell Pettaway will try to outdo TCU’s rushing attack of Darius Anderson and Kyle Hicks, who returns from injury.

Not only are the Horned Frogs good at running the ball, but they’re also good at defending it.

TCU is the best in the Big 12 at defending against the run and is one of just two teams in the conference that is allowing fewer than 100 yards per game on the ground. The Horned Frogs are also second best in the Big 12 in terms of total defense.

Whereas Gary Patterson’s defense has excelled in limiting opposing team’s rushers, West Virginia has not.

WVU is giving up, on average, 130 rushing yards more per game than the Horned Frogs. Holgorsen said combatting that trend this week starts up front.

“We got to do a better job up front holding gaps,” he said. “We need guys to step up and be real dudes.”

The whole game won’t be about the running game, though. Two of the best passers in the Big 12 will also be on display.

TCU quarterback Kenny Hill has completed nearly 73 percent of his passes, while WVU’s Will Grier is 17th in the nation in passing yards and has been one of the best on passes deep downfield.

Road teams have fared well in this series. The visiting team won each of the first three meetings between the two as conference foes on the final play of the game.

It was TCU that won in Morgantown in 2014 when ESPN’s College GameDay made its second visit to the WVU campus. This time, West Virginia will try to play party spoiler with the GameDay crew in Fort Worth for the game.

Both West Virginia and Texas Christian are coming off bye weeks, which allowed the two clubs to get healthier. Holgorsen, especially, used the bye week to beef up his defense, with some key players expected to return to action.

That added depth is important when playing against TCU because of the Horned Frogs style of play, which has kept them on the field over half the game of each contest played this season.

Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Saturday on FOX Sports 1. Fans can listen to pregame coverage starting at 12:30 p.m. on u92.wvu.edu.

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