Peter G. Aiken-US PRESSWIRE
The Mountaineer Defense can only hope that the Wildcats will try to keep it on the ground
I’m allergic to cats. However, in spite of the Kansas State Wildcats coming to town ranked higher and favored, I am looking forward to this game. One big reason is that our defense can ONLY get better. As well, with K-State’s emphasis on the run, at least that reduces the number of times our defensive backs get beat on wheel routes.
As well, after titling last week’s pre-game notes "Four Reasons WVU will beat Texas Tech," I feel compelled to tweak the name of this piece to "Four Reasons WVU SHOULD beat Kansas State." Here they are:
Catch the ball – Last week’s injury to Stedman Bailey exposed just how big a talent gap there is between Tavon Austin & Bailey - and the rest of the receiving corps. While J.D. Woods has been a nice 3rd receiver this year, it is all he apparently can be at this time. Ivan McCartney and others who get shots at playing time need to make catches and keep the chains moving. We catch the ball and we’ll be just fine.
Assault the quarterback – Wow, does our defensive line lack a push! Not only are we often only rushing three lineman, but those three aren’t getting into the backfield at all. This will get even more difficult this week because (1) K-State’s O-line is top notch, (2) The Wildcat running game is strong, so our guys won’t be able to simply pin their ears back and run hard – they’re going to have to respect the run.
Third down stops - Simply put if we can get Kansas State into 3rd downs, our defense at least has a chance getting off the field. I know that seems obvious, and our defense has shown little signs of being able to do consistently make stops. But I’m actually hopeful that we have a chance to compete because the Wildcats spend a lot of time on the ground game. As bad as WVU has been against the pass, we’re holding opponents to 3.2 yards per rushing attempt.
Season’s Brink Pressure – This game is it on two levels. (1) We lose this and we’re out of the Big 12 and BCS race. (2) Geno doesn’t outperform Collin Klein and his Heisman campaign is over, too. This type of pressure is ALWAYS a good thing for West Virginia football. It’s when we play at our best.
My prediction: WVU 45 – K State 42.