This Will Be A Shootout
The West Virginia Mountaineers and Oklahoma State Cowboys rank 12th and 11th, respectively, in total offense. The Mountaineers average 496 yards per game while the Cowboys average 511 yards per game. Both teams have already played in shootouts where the defense took the game off. Cowboys QB Taylor Cornelius averages 312 yards per game through the air and another 20 yards on the ground. Heisman trophy candidate Will Grier averages 329 yards per game.
Cornelius can still lean on senior Justice Hill, who has 930 yards and 9 touchdowns on the season. Hill has broken the 100-yard mark on five of the games this season. The Mountaineers, on the other hand, have Kennedy McKoy and his 500 yards to compliment Martell Pettaway and his 458 yards on the ground. Potent offenses all around will make this a track shoot.
West Virginia Can’t Get Caught Looking Ahead
I don’t mean looking ahead to the Oklahoma Sooners, I mean to Iowa St. Cyclones vs Texas Longhorns. That game has major implications for the Mountaineers. If West Virginia and Texas win on Saturday, West Virginia will have punched its ticket to the Big 12 Championship Game. That can be dangerous as a team knows it is in with a win and forgets to play the game. West Virginia has already done that once in its history.
That can’t happen this Saturday because West Virginia plays first. They have to play their best game and let the chips fall where they may. They can watch the game from their hotel or the plane ride home. That will allow the team to stay focused on the Cowboys without looking ahead.
The Defense Will Make a Statement
I said this game will be a shootout, but the defenses will be the story of this game. West Virginia’s defense is ranked 24th in the nation at only 20.9 points per game. All week the narrative has been how awful Oklahoma’s defense is. The Mountaineers playing the Cowboys the week after Oklahoma’s Bedlam shootout will provide the perfect contrast in teams. Now the playoff committee will have two different games to look at and be able to compare and contrast the two teams.