West Virginia will try to keep alive its slim hopes of qualifying for its first Big 12 championship gae when they travel to Kansas State on Saturday, Nov. 4, at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kan.
The Mountaineers (6-3, 4-2) will be gunning for their second straight victory over the Wildcats (5-4, 3-3), who they defeated 17-16 last season in Morgantown, W. Va.
Before that triumph, Kansas State had won five previous games in the series. And before that, West Virginia notched its only other victory over Kansas State in 1930.
It will be an interesting coaching match-up between Kansas State coach Bill Snyder, the only active coach to be a member of the College Football Hall of Fame. Snyder will be hooking up with a polar opposite among Big 12 coaches in West Virginia’s Dana Holgorsen.
West Virginia football TV channel for Kansas State game
West Virginia and Kansas State will be televised on ESPN2.
West Virginia football live stream online for Kansas State
Fans can watch West Virginia and Kansas State on the ESPN Mobile App with an active cable subscription.
West Virginia football picks for Kansas State game
Odds: Kansas State is favored by 2.5 points. The Wildcats were favored by 1.5 points when the line opener earlier this week.
Over/Under: 62.5 points, where it opened earlier this week.
Oddsshark.com: Kansas State 36, West Virginia 31.
College Football News: West Virginia 38, Kansas State 30.
Athlon Sports: West Virginia 38, Kansas State 31.
ESPN (Jake Trotter): Kansas State 26, West Virginia 24.
ESPN (Sam Kahn): West Virginia 34, Kansas State 20.
USA TODAY: 5 of 6 writers picked West Virginia.
Associated Press writer Ralph D. Russo: West Virginia 28, Kansas State 21
Oklahoma football game time vs. Oklahoma State
Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. CT on Saturday, November 11, in Manhattan, Kan. .
3 keys to the game
1. Contain Kansas State’s running game
The Wildcats are most effective when their running game, producing at least 200 yards in five games this season. Potent RB Alex Barnes has averaged 5.8 yards per carry and scored 5 TDs this season. West Virginia’s rush defense ranks ninth in the Big 12, allowing 4.74 yards per carry and ninth with an average of 193.1 yards per game.
But they came on to stifle Iowa State last week, limiting the Cyclones to 101 rushing yards for their best effort of the season. And in their last 3 games, WVU opponents have averaged 158 yards per game and 3.7 yards per game after permitting 210.7 yards and 5.3 yards per carry in the first 6 games.
The Mountaineers’ hopes of snatching a road upset will be greatly improved if they can negate Kansas State’s rushing attack and force whoever their quarterback will be into long-yardage situations.
2. Get David Sills V back on track
The Mountaineers’ prime receiver continues to lead the nation with 16 touchdown receptions, although he has produced only one TD catch over the last two seasons.
It would behoove Sills to return to his former he exhibited earlier in the season.
He has slumped noticeably in the last two games, producing 2.5 receptions, 28 yards and and 11.2 yards per catch.
Sills was one of the nation’s most potent deep threats earlier this season. The converted quarterback produced averages of 6.6 receptions, 105.3 yards, 15 touchdown grabs and an average of 16.0 yards per catch in West Virginia in the first seven games.
Gary Jennings, Ka’Raun White and Marcus Simms all have stepped up to provide increases in the last two games. But a return to form from Sills should enable the Mountaineers eto xploit Kansas State’s league-worst pass defense (295.8 ypg).
3. Special teams success
As usual, Bill Snyder’s special teams are strong. Kicker Matt McCrane is the Big 12’s best kicker and the Wildcats lead the conference in kickoff returns, are second on punt returns and are third in kickoff coverage.
West Virginia has sputtered at times with special teams. Marcus Simms leads the conference in kickoff returns, but their kicking is spotty with Mike Molina with the fewest field goals in the conference. Their return game has been an adventure with a league-low 3.8 yards per return as Simms has produced only 2 returns of longer than 10 yards this season.
In a tight game where field position and turnovers will be crucial, playing the Wildcats to a standstill in special teams will be critical for West Virginia.
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