After a bye last weekend, the Kansas State Wildcats are hungry to earn their first Big 12 Conference win of 2013, giving the mighty Baylor Bears a scare the week before. Kansas State entertains the West Virginia Mountaineers this Saturday, after losing to the Texas Tech Red Raiders 37-27 the past week. Can Coach Snyder have the Cats ready to right the ship after their bye week, we can only hope. I will showcase my key match up against the Mountaineers in this week’s installment of “A Summers View” as the offensive line gains my attention.
But first let’s look at West Virginia’s previous matchup. West Virginia (3-4, 1-3 in Big 12 play) almost pulled off another upset over the undefeated Red Raiders three weeks after upsetting the Oklahoma State Cowboys. West Virginia held a 27-16 lead during the 3rd quarter before the potent Tech offense scored 21 unanswered points to seal the victory 37-27. Quarterback Clint Trickett threw for 254 yards and 1 score, while the Mountaineers were led in receiving by Daikel Shorts with 9 catches for 78 yards. Charles Sims, who is 5th in the Big 12 in rushing yards per game at 79.6, held consistent by chipping in 79 on the ground, while splitting carries with Dreamius Smith, who led West Virginia in rushing with 90 yards and two TD’s. West Virginia’s second season in the Big 12 has been an up and down rollercoaster. After barely beating William & Mary to start the season 24-17 (I honestly didn’t know William & Mary even had a football program….), the Mountaineers barely lost to the Oklahoma Sooners 16-7 in Norman. Then after a win against Georgia State 41-7, the Maryland Terrapins dismantled WVU, 37-0. What did Dana Holgorson’s group follow that up with? An upset victory at home of then undefeated Oklahoma State 30-21. Exhausted yet? Then up, arguably the two best offensive teams in the Big 12, Baylor and Texas Tech; Baylor hung 73 to West Virginia’s 42 and we have already mentioned the Texas Tech lost. Wow, what an up and down year.
Here are some points about West Virginia that Kansas State fans should know before tomorrow’s match up. Both KSU and WVU’s offense are averaging right at 400 per game, so no easy advantage either way. But, West Virginia’s defense has shown some statistics that may bode well for the Kansas State offensive line. As I mentioned last week, the Baylor game showed the offensive line excel like it did last year. Both Daniel Sams and John Hubbert contributed heavily on the ground, piling up 289 yards just amongst themselves. The o-line, anchored by BJ Finney at center and Cornelius Lucas at left tackle, opened lanes for Daniel Sams that proved to me that Snyder would have to use the speedy QB more and more. Sams efforts against Baylor was the second best day rushing for a Kansas State quarterback ever, second only to Ell Roberson’s day in 2002 against Nebraska where he gained 228 on the ground. The offensive line and the ground game controlled the clock and held Baylor to its lowest point total of the year, 35 points. West Virginia sits low in many Big 12 defensive categories. The Mountaineers sit 3rd to last in rush defense, allowing 196 yards per game, while also placing 9 out of 10 in total defense with 453.1 yards per game. To add to their defensive woes, they average only 1.29 sacks per game, last in the league. All these stats should make the offensive line smack their lips. I see these are all keys to getting the ground game going, controlling the ball and winning football the Bill Snyder way. Will this turn come to fruition, thus giving the Wildcats their first conference win? Or will it be another gut wrenching defeat? We will find out tomorrow.