My, what a difference a year makes.
Last year, K-State's meeting with West Virginia in Morgantown was a top-15 matchup, and I was on ESPNU to preview it (I swear I was, even if I can't find the video now). The Mountaineers had a suspect defense and a lethal offense. K-State had Collin Klein and Arthur Brown.
Nobody in purple will ever forget the result. K-State crushed the 'Eers, 55-14, and launched itself squarely into the national-title picture. West Virginia faded into an obscurity from which it has yet to recover, finishing 7-5 last year and limping into this game at 3-4.
K-State has its own issues, as we're all aware. Though the Wildcats put up game efforts against Baylor and Oklahoma State, moral victories still show up as 0-1 in the record book. K-State desperately needs to beat West Virginia as it begins the second half of the 2013 season. A loss Saturday effectively ends all hope of bowl eligibility.
Players to Watch
Passing: Jake Waters, 76-122-5, 1,036 yards, 4 TDs, 8.5 yards/per attempt, 172.7 yards/game
Rushing: John Hubert, 80 carries, 358 yards, 4.5 yards/carry, 4 TD, 59.7 yards/game
Daniel Sams, 86 carries, 522 yards, 6.1 yards/carry, 7 TD, 87.0 yards/game
Receiving: Tyler Lockett, 31 receptions, 475 yards, 15.3 yards/reception, 1 TD, 95.0 yards/game
Passing: Clint Trickett, 33-80-3, 470 yards, 2 TD, 5.9 yards/attempt, 156.7 yards/game
Rushing: Charles Sims, 97 carries, 480 yards, 4.9 yards/carry, 4 TD, 80.0 yards/game
Receiving: Ronald Carswell, 16 receptions, 330 yards, 20.6 yards/reception, 2 TD, 55.0 yards/game
Those numbers show the primary concern in facing the Mountaineers. Though Trickett has been less than advertised this year at quarterback, Ronald Carswell is still a threat, with a long reception of 69 yards. Both Sims and Dreamius Smith are putting up decent numbers in the rushing game, with Smith the more explosive of the two.
While West Virginia also runs a spread offense, Dana Holgorsen's Air Raid is a different animal from Art Briles and Baylor's attack. But K-State will likely employ a somewhat similar game plan, working to make the 'Eers one dimensional by taking away any semblance of a run game. Here's hoping that facing a team with a running back not name Lache Seastrunk means our defensive backs won't get caught with their eyes in the backfield on play action as much. Or that, if they do, Carswell and WVU's other wide receivers -- to say nothing of Trickett instead of Bryce Petty -- can't take advantage like Antwan Goodley and Tevin Reese.
K-State Advanced Statistics
- F+: 37th
- Offensive S&P+: 41st
- Rushing S&P+: 28th
- Passing S&P+: 48th
- Drive Efficiency: 32nd
- Standard Downs S&P+: 35th
- Passing Downs S&P+: 68th
- Defensive S&P+: 46th
- Rushing S&P+: 60th
- Passing S&P+: 9th
- Drive Efficiency: 35th
- Standard Downs S&P+: 29th
- Passing Downs S&P+: 11th
- Special Teams F+: 5th (#FireSeanSnyder?)
West Virginia Advanced Statistics
- F+: 71st
- Offensive S&P+: 88th
- Rushing S&P+: 68th
- Passing S&P+: 53rd
- Drive Efficiency: 96th
- Standard Downs S&P+: 61st
- Passing Downs S&P+: 55th
- Defensive S&P+: 58th
- Rushing S&P+: 57th
- Passing S&P+: 35th
- Drive Efficiency: 63rd
- Standard Downs S&P+: 43rd
- Passing Downs S&P+: 35th
- Special Teams F+: 56th