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West Virginia vs. Kansas: Stats For Hope & Despair

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If WVU loses this game this week, fans will be calling for the head coaches head, rightfully so. Kansas held TCU down last week but this is zero win Kansas. Fans should expect a win. Is there anything that Kansas can do to shock the conference and the Mountaineer faithful?

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

After gaining a fifth win of the 2015 season, their second conference win and second consecutive win, West Virginia looks to continue that momentum by taking on the Kansas Jayhawks this Saturday. Typically, I would dig into the stats and try to find something the opponent does well or does poorly and see where West Virginia stacks up. Is that area something WVU can exploit in order to gain a victory or is it something that we as fans need to worry about could be exploited and end with defeat for the Mountaineers.

The Texas Longhorns are a flawed, bad team. As you saw Saturday, Texas can't afford to make mistakes, doesn't pass the ball particularly well and the defense can be exploited. Kansas is an awful football team. They do not do anything well. They have not won a game this season and haven't won a game in over a year when they beat Iowa State on Nov 8, 2014.

If WVU loses this game this week, fans will be calling for the head coaches head, rightfully so. Kansas held TCU down last week but this is zero win Kansas. Fans should expect a win. Is there anything that Kansas can do to shock the conference and Mountaineers everywhere?

Stats for Hope for WVU

Wendell Smallwood has an outside shot at the single season record of 1744 yards for WVU. Sitting at 1,119 yards on the season, Wendell is currently 625 yards away from the record. At his current production of 6.7 yards per carry it would take 94 carries to break the record. That is 23+ carries a game at 157 yards per game. Doable but not necessarily a given. Except...Except Kansas.

Kansas has allowed teams to rush for 5.6 yards per rush. The Jayhawks have been so bad that teams are averaging 46 rushing attempts per game and over 230 yards on the ground. If I were Dana Holgorsen, I would remove all passing plays from the playchart this week and just run the ball.

Team Yards Per Rush Rushing Attempts Per Game Rushing Yards Per Game
Kansas (Defense) 5.6 46.9 264.9
West Virginia (Offense) 4.6 50.4 230.8

Except... Except Kansas is equally as bad against the pass. I told you, Kansas is an awful football team. Kansas is allowing teams to complete 70% of their passes. Not only are the Jayhawks allowing teams to complete 7 out of every 10 passes they attempt, they are allowing teams to gain over 9 yards per pass and compile 320+ yards per game.

If WVU wanted to throw the ball, they should be able to. The scout team should offer more resistance than the Kansas defense.

Team Yards Per Pass Passing Attempts Per Game Passing Yards Per Game
Kansas (Defense) 9.1
35.2
321.1
West Virginia (Offense) 7.1
30.8
217.1

Despair for WVU?

There are 128 teams who are at the highest level of college football, Division I FBS. Kansas ranks 100th or lower in nearly every major statistical category. Rushing YPG (#122), Yards per Carry (#127), Yards per Pass (#109), Points per Game (#123), Scoring Differential (#128). There are very few things that Kansas does well. There is one thing though and it may play a part in determining the final score.

Red Zone Scoring Percentage. A lot was talked about last year when WVU seemed it couldn't finish drives. WVU was lucky to have Josh Lambert who converted 30 of 39 chances. That trend seemed to pick up right where it left off last year at the beginning part of the season. It seemed to right it self but it has reared its ugly head again. WVU is not good at scoring once it gets within the red zone. WVU scores only 71% of the time they get into the red zone. This is good for 109th in the country.

Kansas is an extremely good red zone defense. They allow teams to score only 71% of the time, which is good for 13th nationally. If Skyler Howard, Smallwood, Rushel Shell and the rest of the offense is unable to put the ball in the end zone when they get into the red zone, this game may end up being a much lower scoring game and a much closer game than our fans would expect.

Kansas Offense (Rank) vs WVU Defense (Rank)
Team Points Per Game Rush Yards Per Game Pass Yards Per Game 3rd Down Conversion % Total Yards Per Game Turnovers Per Game
Kansas Offense 14.6 (123) 98.7 (122) 221.1 (65) 37.11 (83) 319.8 (117) 1.9 (94)
West Virginia Defense 28.9 (72) 199.6 (97) 233.5 (70) 34.71 (30) 433.1 (90) 2.8 (2)

Kansas Defense (Rank) vs WVU Offense (Rank)
Team Points Per Game Rush Yards Per Game Pass Yards Per Game 3rd Down Conversion % Total Yards Per Game Turnovers Per Game
Kansas Defense 46.8(128) 264.9 (124) 321.1 (126) 47.54 (114) 568.0 (128) 1.7 (57)
West Virginia Offense 32.0 (43) 230.8 (13) 217.1 (71) 37.98 (72) 447.9 (33) 2.8 (2)