This week, the Mountaineers host the Wildcats in a redemption game. West Virginia is out to prove that they are far better than their devastating loss in Lubbock would suggest. Similarly, the staff of HailWV.com are looking to redeem themselves and prove that we are still capable of making semi-accurate predictions. Time to polish up those magic 8-balls.
Following how far off I was last week, I had to do some soul searching to figure out why I was so far off. I wore my usual Mountaineer attire (not tied to anyone set of gear for gameday) and I was fixed to my bar stool while watching the game. The only real x-factor was company and location. That’s where my buddy Mark and a bar called Bob’s Place check in. Mark failed to bring to my attention that he has seen as many losses as victories in Bob’s Place over the past few years. Had I known, I would have avoided that hole of bad vibes. So if you are looking for a completely farcical scapegoat for the Mountaineers loss last weekend, blame Mark. Better yet, blame Bob’s Place and their glut of Notre Dame fans (seriously, why were there so many golden domers in Avon, CO anyways?).
Now that we have moved on from last week’s game, let’s take a look at this week’s match-up with the Snydercats.
The Mountaineers face the toughest challenge of the season against Kansas State. They have a solid defense and a powerful, run-first offense led by Optimus Klein. The way Kansas State moves the ball should remind WVU fans of the old Rich Rod days. As odd as it is to type, I expect this to be a favorable match-up for our defense. The WVU defense, ranking near the bottom in almost every category is surprisingly strong against the run. I’m looking for a monster game out of the defense. My bold predictions this week will be focused on the defense, because without a solid effort from this unit, we could be in a for a long evening. Expect Doug Rigg to rack up 10 tackles and forced fumble. Bonus Prediction: look for the unheralded Josh Francis to have a multiple sack game.
For the game, I think this game will be high scoring like all the other games to this point. The Mountaineer faithful will be electrified to see their boys take on a top 5 team in a night game. I’m anticipating another sphincter tighteningly close game. I expect the Mountaineers to pull off the improbable and edge the Snydercats by a final of 51-49 in 2OT.
We’re still a week away from Halloween weekend, but this little trip down memory lane with Jack Fleming should get you in the mood for the game.
Night games in Morgantown are a special thing. They can’t be described, only experienced. I can’t imagine a better time and place to watch a college football game than a chilly autumn evening in Morgantown. We don’t lose these games very often (we’re something like 17 – 3 in night home games in the last 10 years). Kansas State has no idea of what they are walking into when they step through the tunnel and onto Mountaineer Field.
Last week’s debacle in Lubbock has lit a fire under this team. We are hungry again. Don’t be fooled by the oddsmakers (why we are favored to win I can’t explain), we are the true underdogs in this game. No one will give us much chance to win. Everyone is against us, our backs are against the wall. We are at our best in these situations.
Geno Smith is going to have a monster game. I’m sure he’s more upset than anyone else with his performance against Texas Tech, and he’s going to come out with a chip on his shoulder. The last time he felt like this entering a game was probably the Orange Bowl, and we all know what he did there. I expect a similar performance in the friendly confines of Mountaineer Field on Saturday night. I predict he’ll throw for 400 yards and 6 TDs against the Wildcats. Look for freshman wide receiver Travares Copeland, whose redshirt was burned last week at Texas Tech, to make an impact in his first collegiate start. He’ll have 5 receptions for 70 yards.
Part of me wants to say the defense finally gets it and shuts down an overconfident Kansas State team, letting WVU coast to a blowout victory… but that’s probably a bit optimistic. Realistically, I think we’ll see another shootout. Playing at night, at home, and in front of a sell out crowd will give us the edge we need to make some plays down the stretch and the Mountaineers will pull out a 48-44 victory.
On a side note- if you want an early indicator of our chances, watch College Gameday on ESPN Saturday morning. If Corso picks KState, get your couches ready.
Well, I was far off last week and looked like a slap dick. How do you come back from that? Be more absurd!
Kansas State runs the ball, our only strength defensively? Uh, yeah. How’s their pass defense? Terrible.
The crowd is going to be rocking tomorrow, Vegas likes us, and we’re hungry for a win. I say Tavon breaks everything but the hymen!
Mountaineers win 67-43. Go Eers!
The debacle that was last week is now officially behind us; a season starts anew tomorrow evening upon the turf at Mountaineer Field. I hate to say it, but I think WVU needed last week to happen, much like the Syracuse game of last year. Indeed, it very well could have ruined a shot at the National Title; however, this is college football and anything could and will happen. History has proven that to us time and time again.
After the dismal first half of last week’s game, the Mountaineer defense did provide a few opportunities for the offense to mount a comeback. That is not to say Tech did not let off the gas a little, but it did provide a glimmer of hope. I think WVU will rebound this week in a big way. Look for the Wild Cats to buck the trend they have created this season. We all know what their QB is capable of with his feet. Everyone expects them to come out running and grinding away, only throwing if need be.
Yes, the WVU defense has been weak in general, but why would Coach Snyder attack the one thing that WVU has shown it can consistently contain in the run? Look for Kansas State to rely heavily on play-action early in the game to throw our D out of order. The WVU coaching staff constantly emphasized stopping the run this week; I just hope that is not all they worked on during practice sessions.
If WVU can refrain from falling into play-action and maintain consistent coverage through their zones, a great opportunity for a prime time win will present itself. They need to quit focusing on making turnovers; the turnovers will happen through solid, fundamental football. This, coupled with a not-so-great Wild Cat pass defense can make a world of difference after last week.
Look for both Karl Joseph and Isaiah Bruce to play huge rolls in this game. I believe the LB will be tagged with the responsibility of spying Klein all game long. I think Joseph will also be brought to or close to the line of scrimmage often for we will see a loaded box and single, physical coverage on the outsides.
Bruce: 1 sack; 1 TFL; 6 total tackles
Joseph: 10 total tackles; 2 passes defensed