It’s GAMEDAY in Morgantown.
And it’s a big one.
No. 4 Kansas State at No. 17 West Virginia, 7 p.m., FOX
What’s on the line?
Well, only the team’s Big 12 title hopes. It could be possible to win a share of the Big 12 title with two losses, but there are too many variables at this point to predict that with certainty. Simply put, this is a big game for West Virginia, which has stated an intent to win the Big 12 all season. Win, and that goal is still very much in sight.
This game is also important to wipe away the memory of last week’s pounding by Texas Tech. Certainly the match-up in Lubbock posed problems and a loss was very possible going in. But it was the way West Virginia lost that game that made them tumble down the national polls from No. 5 to No. 17.
What are the big questions?
*Can Kansas State QB Colin Klein be stopped? He’s rushed for 10 touchdowns this year and was difficult for Dana Holgorsen and staff to simulate in practice this week. The good news is the WVU defense is pretty solid at stopping the run so far – ranked No. 43 in the nation at that. But Klein can make plays when he needs to, and can throw the ball when necessary.
*Can the WVU offense rebound from its worst output of the season in Lubbock? They got behind early and showed no ability to respond. QB Geno Smith was slowed dramatically and will be counted on to shake that game off.
*Will Stedman Bailey play? He is officially “day to day” but something tells me he plays. Let’s face it, the 1-2 punch of Tavon Austin and Bailey just doesn’t have the same cache without the Bailey. He left the Texas Tech game with an ankle problem but Austin seemed to think he would be joining him on the turf for this one.--
Best case scenario:
The offense gets back on track early, the defense can slow Klein and his offense enough to let Geno Smith build a lead. That way, when the Wildcats possession style offense eats up clock, the pressure on the offense will be alleviated some.