Game Preview: WVU vs. Kansas State
Series: Kansas State 2-1
Last meeting: 2012: WVU 14, KSU 55 F
Television: 3:45 p.m., FOX Sports 1 (Adam Alexander - play-by-play, Chris Sims- analyst)
Line: +9 West Virginia
West Virginia (3-4, 1-3) makes its first ever trip to Kansas State (2-4, 0-3) this weekend in a matchup that has a much different feel than it did a season ago for both teams.
Last season the two teams were ranked near the top ten when the undefeated Wildcats stormed into Morgantown for a prime-time game and the visitors walked away with a 55-14 victory over the Mountaineers.
"They played a phenomenal football game when they came here last year," head coach Dana Holgorsen said.
Now West Virginia will have the opportunity to get some payback and spoil homecoming for the Wildcats this weekend.
This season both teams are still searching for their identities and trying to replace their veteran quarterbacks from a season ago after the graduations of both Geno Smith and Collin Klein.
The Wildcats are led by head coach Bill Snyder, who has built the Kansas State program into one of the most consistent in the country over his 22-years in Manhattan. He has amassed a career record of 172-89, including a victory over Holgorsen in the lone meeting between the two.
Kansas State has dealt with turnover much like West Virginia, attempting to replace a large portion of last season's Big 12 Conference Championship winning squad. At quarterback, the Wildcats have went with two players in junior college transfer Jake Waters and holdover Daniel Sams.
Waters is currently the team's leading passer with 1,036 yards and a four touchdowns on the season against five interceptions, while Sams holds the distinction of leading the Wildcats in rushing with 522 yards and 7 touchdowns on the season. The duo have split time throughout the first six games, although Sams had began to receive the bulk of the snaps in the Wildcats final two games before the bye week.
The Mountaineers must be prepared for both players to see snaps and must be ready to defend different offenses depending on which player is under center.
John Hubbert returns as the running back and has averaged around 4.5 yards per carry on 80 carries this season with four touchdowns. Wide receivers Tyler Lockett, who went for 9 catches for 194 yards and 2 touchdowns in last season's meeting, and Tremaine Thompson missed the Baylor game but are expected to return this week giving the Wildcats some much needed balance.
On defense the Wildcats are a solid unit that continues to improve every week. Although much like the offense they are dealing with replacing plenty of veterans from a season ago, the group has started to gel and kept Baylor's high powered offense in check two weekend's ago.
Kickoff is set for 3:45 p.m.
West Virginia Depth Chart:
QB - 9 Clint Trickett (r-Jr), 14 Paul Millard (Jr), 7 Ford Childress (r-Fr)
RB (A) - 3 Charles Sims (r-Sr), 4 Wendell Smallwood (Fr), 2 Dreamius Smith (Jr), 29 Dustin Garrison (Jr)
FB (B) - 88 Cody Clay (r-So), 42 Garrett Hope (So)
WR (X) - 12 Ronald Carswell (r-So), 5 Mario Alford (Jr)
WR (Z) - 85 Ivan McCartney (Sr.), 11 Kevin White (Jr)
IR (Y) - 6 Daikiel Shorts (Fr), 10 Jordan Thompson (So)
LT - 79 Nick Kindler (r-Sr), 63 Mike Calicchio (r-Jr)
LG - 67 Quinton Spain (r-Jr), 78 Marquis Lucas (r-So)
C - 76 Pat Eger (r-Sr), 65 Tyler Orlosky (r-Fr)
RG - 64 Mark Glowinski (r-Jr), 78 Marquis Lucas (r-So)
RT - 62 Curtis Feigt (r-Sr), 57 Adam Pankey (r-Fr)
DT - 98 Will Clarke (r-Sr), 97 Noble Nwachukwu (r-Fr)
NT - 90 Shaq Rowell (r-Sr), 93 Kyle Rose (r-So)
DE - 99 Dontrill Hyman (Jr), 45 Eric Kinsey (So)
BUCK - 2 Brandon Golson (Jr), 18 Marvin Gross (Fr)
SPUR - 31 Isaiah Bruce (r-So), 37 Wes Tonkery (r-Jr)
WILL - 33 Jared Barber (Jr), 35 Nick Kwiatkoski (r-So)
SAM - 47 Doug Rigg (Sr), 11 Sean Walters (r-Fr)
FCB - 34 Ishmael Banks (r-Jr), 22 Avery Williams (r-So)
FS - 8 Karl Joseph (So), 9 K.J. Dillon (So.)
BS - 25 Darwin Cook (r-Sr), 41 Ricky Rumph (So)
BCB - 7 Daryl Worley (Fr), 26 Travis Bell (r-Jr)
PK - 86 Josh Lambert (r-Fr)
P - 91 Nick O'Toole (So)
KO - 48 Michael Molinari (r-Jr)
LS -87 John DePalma (So)
H - 48 Michael Molinari (r-Jr)
PR - 12 Ronald Carswell (So), 10 Jordan Thompson (So)
KR - 7 Daryl Worley (Fr), 4 Wendell Smallwood (Fr)
Sixteen Mountaineers earned their first career starts this season with Mario Alford (WR), Ronald Carswell (WR), Ford Childress (QB), Mark Glowinski (RG), Brandon Golson (BUCK), Marquis Lucas (LG), Paul Millard (QB), KJ Myers (WR), Tyler Orlosky (C), WR Daikiel Shorts (WR), Charles Sims (RB), Dreamius Smith (RB), Clint Trickett (QB), Daryl Worley (CB), Josh Lambert (K), Nick O'Toole (P).
True freshmen that have played include: Marvin Gross (LB), Carlton Nash (CB), Wendell Smallwood (RB), Daikiel Shorts (WR), Jeremy Tyler (S) and Daryl Worley (CB).
In total, 30 Mountaineers saw their first game action this season including Mario Alford (WR), Justin Arndt (LB), Michael Calicchio (OL), Ronald Carswell (WR), Ford Childress (QB), James Gayeski (DL), Brandon Golson (BUCK), Mark Glowinski (RG), Jarrod Harper (S), Dontrill Hyman (DE), Josh Lambert (K), Devonte Mathis (WR), Logan Moore (WR), Carlton Nash (CB), Brandon Napoleon (CB), Noble Nwachukwu (DE), Tyler Orlosky (C), Nick O'Toole (P), Adam Pankey (OL) Daikiel Shorts (WR), Charles Sims (RB), Wendell Smallwood (RB), Dreamius Smith (RB), Clint Trickett (QB), Jeremy Tyler (S), Sean Walters (LB), Kevin White (WR), Daryl Worley (CB) and Maurice Zereoue (RB).
Injuries: Redshirt junior Wes Tonkery will be out six weeks with a broken thumb. Sophomore Christian Brown is out for the remainder of the season with a foot injury and will receive a medical redshirt. Redshirt senior and back up BUCK linebacker Dozie Ezemma broke his lower leg and foot against William & Mary and will miss the remainder of the season. West Virginia also will be without junior linebacker Shaq Petteway who will miss the entire season with a torn ACL. Sophomore cornerback Nana Kyeremeh also will miss the entirety of the season with a shoulder injury.
Redshirts: Players that will be redshirting this season include: junior running back Andrew Buie, sophomore defensive lineman Christian Brown, junior linebacker Shaq Petteway, sophomore running back Rushel Shell, junior offensive lineman Stone Underwood, freshman wide receiver Shelton Gibson, freshmen linebacker Al-Rasheed Benton, freshman fullback Elijah Wellman, freshman safety Isaac McDonald, freshman wide receiver Jacky Marcellus, freshman linebacker Hodari Christian, freshman defensive lineman Darrien Howard, freshman safety Malik Greaves, freshman offensive lineman Marcell Lazard, freshman offensive lineman Tyler Tezeno and freshman offensive lineman Grant Lingafelter.
Points to click:
* Be prepared for both looks. Kansas State has and will play both of their options at quarterback, with both providing a different look altogether for the West Virginia defense. The Mountaineers must be prepared to defend whichever one will get the call and be ready for the various looks the Wildcats can show.
* Defending Sams. Waters is another thing entirely, but Daniel Sams is one of the most dynamic running threats in all of college football from the quarterback position. The Mountaineers have to make sure they keep him in the pocket and avoid letting him get out into the open field for big plays.
* Stop the run. It goes without saying, but the Wildcats offense is predicated on being able to run the football effectively and move the chains. The Mountaineers will face their biggest test to date on the ground, but stopping the run has been one of the major bright spots of the defense thus far. If West Virginia is able to win in the trenches it can force the Wildcats out of their comfort zone and make them throw the football down the field, something that isn't a strength for the Wildcats. The Mountaineers must keep the Wildcats behind the chains in order to keep their offense out of a rhythm and avoid them controlling the clock as they did against Baylor.
* Handle the road. This is something that the Mountaineers have struggled with so far this season as the team has not played as well away from the confines of Mountaineer Field. West Virginia will need to come out early and build some momentum to avoid getting the Wildcats crowd in the game and making things even more difficult.
* Smart football. Three things you always hear to describe this Kansas State football team; smart, disciplined and tough. The Wildcats do not get penalized many times a game and also avoid turning the ball over and West Virginia must do the same. This is a team that doesn't make mistakes and knows how to capitalize on teams that do.