Week 9 - West Virginia at Kansas State

Posted Oct 24, 2013

Week 9 Fearless Prediction - West Virginia at Kansas State

West Virginia (3-4) at Kansas State (2-4) Oct. 26 3:45, FOX Sports 1

Why You Should Give A Hoot: For all intents and purposes, this is an elimination game in the bowl race. Kansas State is a shadow of its former self with the defense struggling and the offense ineffective, but it had two weeks off to prepare after giving Baylor its toughest battle of the season. With Iowa State and Kansas still on the slate, there's still plenty of time to get to six wins, but it'll be a tough road to climb without a home victory over the struggling Mountaineers.

The Oklahoma State win was a bit of an aberration for West Virginia. Unlike Kansas State, there wasn't much luck against Baylor in a 73-42 loss, but it came up with a decent fight for about three quarters in a loss to Texas Tech. There are plenty of winnable games left, playing Kansas and Iowa State to close out the year, but the Mountaineers might be the layup game for everyone unless the offense can be more consistent and the defense far stronger.

Why West Virginia Might Win: Kansas State hasn't been Kansas State when it comes to giving the ball away. The Wildcats dominated the stat over the last few years, but it's 0-4-2 this year in turnover margin with the giveaways a disaster in the tight loss to Oklahoma State and going -3 against Texas. West Virginia couldn't give it up fast enough against Maryland, but that's the only game on the wrong side of the turnover margin. Giveaways have been a problem, but the Mountaineers are 3-1-3 in the stat. Kansas State might not be able to win this without being +2 – it's just not consistent enough offensively, however …

Why Kansas State Might Win: Finally, Kansas State should be able to do what Kansas State needs to do to win. The Wildcats have to own the clock and keep the chains moving, and for all the problems, the offense has been good at connecting on third downs and West Virginia has been horrible when it comes to coming up with the key play. With no WVU pass rush to worry about, if Kansas State wants to get the passing game moving – it's hitting 63% of the passes - it will. The Wildcat offense should control the game.

Who To Watch Out For: Kansas State is basically saying that enough is enough – run quarterback, and run some more. Daniel Sams only completed 4-of-7 passes for 41 yards with a pick in the loss to Baylor, but he completed 15-of-21 throws for 181 yards and two scores with three picks against Oklahoma State. KSU is about the running game, and that's what Sams has been doing running 27 times for 118 yards and a score against OSU and 30 times for 199 yards and three touchdowns against Baylor. He says he can handle the workload, but he's taking a beating.

What Will Happen: Kansas State will be effective enough offensively to control the game, and the West Virginia offense will be too rocky and too inconsistent to take advantage of opportunities.

Prediction: Kansas State 31 … West Virginia 27
Line: Kansas State -10.5 o/u: 53