The West Virginia Mountaineers, after a lenghty legal battle and months of waiting, finally get to play in the conference they desire: the Big XII. The inaugural Big XII game comes against the 25th ranked Baylor Bears. The game promises to be quite the high scoring affair, as both teams are well equipped in the passing game. Both teams have put up tons of points and features many future NFL prospects. The difference is that Baylor isn’t in Kansas anymore (yes, Baylor is in Texas, I’m aware), this is West Virginia. The Mountaineers fans will show the Bears just how loud Milan Puskar Stadium can be, and hopefully for Oliver Luck’s sake, how well we can stripe a stadium!
Now to the good stuff:
West Virginia’s offensive line got pushed around by the Terrapins last week. This week, I’m expecting the line to put up a big redemption performance. WVU will need to be able to run the ball effectively to temper the Bears pass rush. I’m predicting that the offensive line will clear room for the Mountaineers to rush for 125 yards and will keep Geno sack free.
As far as the game is concerned, I think this game will be somewhat of a shoot out. After watching Louisiana Lafayette air it out on the Bears secondary, I have no doubts that Geno will shread them. The biggest concern is whether our defense will be able to match-up with a deep Baylor receiving corps. I think our defense will come up with a pair of turnovers that will make the difference in the game. The Mountaineers will win their first Big XII game by a final count of 51-40.
Last week, the WVU offense struggled to find rhythm and was inconsistent throughout the game. The coaches and players won’t let that happen this week. WVU’s offense will be running on all cylinders. Most people think this game will be a shootout, and I agree. Neither defense is very impressive and will be able to consistently stop the opponent. The game very will could come down to what defense is able to make a crucial stop though.
Onto predictions… Expect lots of scoring and lots of big plays. Geno Smith is going to have a huge game and cement himself as the #1 contender for the Heisman. I predict he’ll be 35-42 with 415 yards, 5 TDs, and 0 INTs. This is going to be a close game, with both teams scoring early and often. But sometime in the second half, WVU’s defense will come up with a big turnover or stop and turn the tide of the game, allowing WVU to pull away late for a 48 – 38 victory.
I am predicting 48-36 Mountaineers; after all we like bear hunting and have the rifles to do so. I would look for Stedman to have a similar week to what Tavon had last week on less touches. A pair of TDs and 150-170 yards. I would also look for guys like JD Woods to get involved in decent yardage as well. This should be a shootout and hopefully we are still living afterwards. How our defense performs will show us a lot of what we should expect the rest of the year.
Abbreviated prediction cause I’m on the road! I’ll swing my attention back to the D this week. The WVU secondary will have its work cut out for them as Baylor uses every last inch of the playing surface. Look for Pat Miller to make a pick and Karl Joseph to apply pressure to the QB in specialized blitz packages.
Karl Joseph: 2 pass break ups, 6 tackles, 1sack
Pat Miller: 1 pick, 9 tackles, 2 qb hurries.