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West Virginia Gameday

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The Wildcats travel to Morgantown to take on Will Grier and the ‘Eers.

NCAA Football: Youngstown State at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Football

Kansas State is in Morgantown today to play No. 12 West Virginia. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 PM CDT and the game will air on ESPN. This is the Big 12 opener for both teams, and for the Wildcats, the first road game of the year as well.

Here’s your all-important How to Watch post courtesy of BotC photographer-at-large AMS. He also has your official homer pick of the day, with Kansas State beating the ‘Eers straight up.

TB is far less optimistic about the Wildcats’ chances in his Kicking the Tires feature, however. His thoughts are echoed somewhat in Drew Grier’s scouting reports on Heisman candidate Will Grier and on the Kansas State running game.

If you want to track our Big 12 brethren have been up to heading into this new weekend of college football, catch the latest Big 12 Roundup post. Like day-old bread, it’s a little stale but still useful.

So what can we expect in this game? Well, according to Kellis Robinett, the Wildcats are wary of Grier and his scrambling skills. Last year’s game is still fresh in the Kansas State defense’s collective memory. Safety Kendall Adams summarizes the threat nicely:

One thing I noticed, especially from playing him last year, is that he is a really good at scrambling. When he scrambles, he doesn’t just take off running, he keeps his eyes down field. It is really important for us to stay in coverage when he leaves the pocket.

Containing Grier is going to be a bigger challenge than usual with key players in the secondary—Denzel Goolsby and Kevion McGee—both sidelined by injury. Then again, Eli Walker has emerged as a reliable alternate to Goolsby and made a real impact in the UTSA game, so all is probably not lost (Arne Green, Topeka Capital-Journal).

Memories of last year’s loss to West Virginia linger, but one thing the coaches have emphasized is how well the defense played in the second half of that game, leaving Grier and the ‘Eers vaunted aerial attack stymied until the dying minutes of the contest. But as Bill Snyder notes, he doesn’t want to “wait until the second half to move in that direction.” (Ryan Black, Manhattan Mercury).

One thing working in Kansas State’s favor in this game is the emergence of Skylar Thompson as the quarterback. His connection with Dalton Schoen in particular could prove fruitful for the Wildcats. The pair have already connected on two touchdowns this season, displaying impressive confidence in each other in the process. (Greg Woods, Mercury).

The West Virginia beat writers don’t rate Kansas State too highly, and at this point, it’s hard to find fault with their view. (Tom Bragg, Charleston Gazette-Mail). On the other hand, as Bragg notes elsewhere in the same newspaper, the contests between these two teams have been so tight (barring the beating administered by Collin Klein and his cohorts in 2012) that you may as well throw away all the stats and predictions.

There is a ton of college football action today, so keep track of the schedule HERE.

As you gear up to watch the early game, spare a thought for our Iowa State brethren, as the school honors Cyclone golfer Celia Barquin Arozamena before the game at Jack Trice today.

Soccer

The Big 12 opener for Kansas State soccer did not go all that well. The Wildcats lost 3-1 to No. 15 Oklahoma State. After playing to a scoreless draw in the first half, Kansas State could not sustain on defense and Emma Malsy, who made five saves in the first stanza, was ultimately worn down by the Cowgirls’ potent offense. Kansas State’s lone score came in the 87th minute with Oklahoma State leading 3-0 when Haley Sutter put a hip shot into the net. It was her first goal of the season, the third in her career.

Up next, the team will take on Oklahoma in Manhattan. The match begins at 1 PM and is also Soccer Family Day, with a post-match clinic and autographs for young fans.

Tennis

At the Big 5 Challenge in Fort Worth, Kansas State’s results were a bit of a mixed bag. After losing five straight doubles matches (going 0-3 against Arizona State and then 0-2 against Virginia), the RacketCats did pick up three singles win on the day.

Maria Linares, Maria Ponomareva, and Anna Turco all beat their counterparts on the Virginia team, but Ines Mesquita, Margot Decker, Ioanna Gheorghita, and Rosanna Maffei all lost to the Cavaliers.

The event continues in Fort Worth this afternoon, with play beginning at around 2 PM depending on the weather.

Volleyball

The weekend did not begin well for the VolleyCats either. Making its first conference road trip of the season, Kansas State faltered and lost the match to Oklahoma in straight sets (19-25, 19-25, 21-25). The Wildcats were held to under .200 hitting for only the second time this season and also produced only 37 kills (12 for Gloria Mutiri, 10 for Kylee Zumach). Setter Sarah Dixon had her fourth double-double of the year with 30 assists and 12 digs.

The road trip continues for the Wildcats with a match against West Virginia in Morgantown on Wednesday. First serve is set for 5 PM.