Big 12 Predictions: Why No. 4 Kansas State Will Remain Unbeaten in Route against No. 13 West Virginia
The clash between No. 4 Kansas State and No. 13 West Virginia on Saturday afternoon in Morgantown is lining up to be the decisive Big 12 showdown of the year, of which few saw coming at the onset of the season.
The Wildcats are one of the most dangerous teams in the college football, aligning quarterback Collin Klein –a potential Heisman candidate — with a slew of talented offensive weapons around him. Klein has been one of the most reliable play-callers in the game, with an passer rating that ranks in the top 20 of all college quarterback and has helped the team in third-down efficiency, ranking 10th. In addition, his strength as a running quarterback (500+ running yards, 5.2 yards per carry) separates him as one of the best in the game.
Moreover, Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder thinks he has a successful blueprint against the Mountaineers.
“There might be philosophical thoughts in regards to how you defend Geno Smith and how you function on special teams that you say, ‘Maybe within our own schemes, we can do something,’ “ said Snyder.
While the matchup has national championship implications, it could’ve been a clash of two top-5 teams. In last Saturday’s West Virginia vs. Texas Tech game, the Red Raiders firmed up their defense to hold West Virginia to 2-for-7 fourth-down conversions in a 49-14 romp.
Clearly, Smith didn’t put his best foot forward, passing for 275 yards and a touchdown, which doesn’t compare to his season average of nearly 400 passing yards per game which equated to a 81.4 percent completion rate. Unfortunately, they’ll likely continue their downward spiral.
“It was embarrassing. Guys were disappointed. It’s no fun for anybody,” West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said. “And so we got in here, I didn’t sugarcoat anything. It wasn’t a positive session. It wasn’t, ‘It’s going to be OK. Don’t worry about it.’ That’s not what we did. Our job is to coach them and tell them what reality is.”
The reality is that the Mountaineers (5-1) need to bounce back quickly against one of the best teams in college football in order to sustain their grip on national title hopes. If they continued to be pressured on fourth-down conversions, they’ll be shredded against the Wildcats elite and clock-managed offense. Look for Kansas State to make mince meat out of West Virginia and their reeling offense.