PREVIEW – West Virginia travels to the Little Apple to do battle with surging Kansas State

PREVIEW – West Virginia travels to the Little Apple to do battle with surging Kansas State

NCAA Football: Kansas State at West Virginia
Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

The Mountaineers hit the road to continue their two-step with a .500 record

OPENING THOUGHTS

Status Report – November 8th, 2021: The Climb was forced to return to Base Camp 1 after an unexpected storm blew in from the Southwest and consumed all offensive activities for the weekend. We now plan to hunker down and ride it out before trying again next weekend.

WHEN/WHERE

Date: November 13th, 2021

Kickoff: 12:00PM EST

Where: Bill Snyder Family Stadium – Manhattan, KS

Tickets: General Public

WATCH/LISTEN

Channel: FS1

Online Streaming: FoxSports app with a valid cable subscription

Cord Cutters: Mountaineer fans can catch all the action on fuboTV. fuboTV is an over-the-top streaming service that carries all the major networks, including CBS, NBC, FOX, and now….the ESPN Disney networks! It also carries ABC, CBS Sports Network, FS1, SEC Network, and more. fuboTV comes with a cloud DVR feature, so you can record the game and watch it later. Sign up for a free seven day trial of fuboTV, and get 15% off the base family plan, by following THIS LINK.

Radio: Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG (Radio Affiliates) | SiriusXM Channel 200 | WVU Gameday App (Apple | Android)

Radio Announcers: Tony Caridi (PBP), Dwight Wallace (analyst), and Jed Drenning (sideline)

Reminder: It is against site policy to post links to illegal streams in the comments.

DEGENERATES UNITE

Spread: WVU +6

Over/Under: 52.5

The total seems high but it’s hard to argue with +6. We haven’t done anything consistently enough to earn any more respect than that.

WEATHER FORECAST

Partly cloudy – high 55/42 low – 0%

Forecast looks clear, gang – should be another outstanding day for football.

THE ENEMY

Where are they from? Kansas State University is in Manhattan, Kansas, which is just under a 2 hour drive west from Kansas City.

All-time series record: 6-5, good guys. State took 4 in a row from us upon joining the Big 12, but we’ve won the 5 games since then. Would love to stay above .500 against these cats.

Last game: We blasted the Wildcats 37-10 in Morgantown last year in one of the rare outings where both the offense and defense had it working at the same time.

Head coach: Chris Klieman (3rd season, 18-14). Klieman seems to finally be putting things together in his third season in Manhattan, but that should come as no surprise considering he won 4 natties in 5 years at North Dakota State before taking the job.

2021 record: 6-3. State fans were probably a bit disappointed following a 3-3 start, but three straight wins in the conference should have them feeling better about themselves. Much like our own situation their next three games (us, Baylor, @ Texas) will probably reveal a lot about where the program is headed.

NUMBERS THAT MAY INTEREST YOU

49% – K-State running back Deuce Vaughn’s usage rate on the 420 snaps he’s been on the field for this year (153 carries, 53 targets). Nobody else in America receives a higher percentage of their team’s opportunities.

14 – Combined pressures allowed by tackles Brandon Yates (7) and Wyatt Milum (7) against Oklahoma State after allowing just 5 combined over the previous two games.

13 – Sacks for K-State edge and national sack leader Felix Anudike. Not the best pick-me-up after last weekend.

KEYS TO THE GAME

PUT OUT THE APB ON APB DEUCE VAUGHN

The diminutive Vaughn has been Kansas State’s primary playmaker since he arrived on campus last year and is clearly the guy we have to slow down to stop their offense on Saturday. Vaughn is one of the more dangerous ball carriers in the conference with about one out of every five runs going for 10+ yards, but they also do an outstanding job of manipulating matchups to get him isolated in the passing game, which is worrisome when you consider the issues our linebackers have had in coverage. I mentioned that he’s already been targeted 53 times this year, and with the vast majority of those looks coming in the middle of the field between 0-10 yards from the line of scrimmage (40%, no other area above 11%) those backers will likely be tested early and often. We need them to be up to the challenge and force somebody else to beat us.

GET THE TACKLES SOME HELP (OR GET RID OF THE BALL QUICKER (OR PLAY SOMEBODY WHO CAN RUN AWAY))

You literally could not ask for a better two-week case study of how pressure affects Jarret Doege. Iowa State went into their shell and gave Doege all the time he needed to engineer our best offensive performance of the Neal Brown era; Oklahoma State went Bear, played man, rushed 5, and our offense produced its lowest yardage total in over 20 years. And here’s where it gets fun – you can bet that every other team we play is going to watch that Oklahoma State tape and try to do exactly what they did. It’ll be a bit riskier for our remaining opponents considering that none of them can match the talent or depth of the Cowboys’ front 7, but you can pretty much guarantee that Kansas State is going to throw some heavy fronts at us to try to get Anudike isolated against our tackles. We have to use this week to figure out a counter, whether that be straight up max protecting on any plays that’re going to take longer than about 2.5 seconds to develop or just committing to a gameplan more centered around short, quick passes. And if all else fails, we have to break glass and ride-or-die with Greene or even Goose Crowder because at least they have a chance to create something out of nothing with their legs.

HOW AFRAID SHOULD WE BE?

This is certainly a team that we can beat, but at this point in the year with the inconsistency we’ve displayed anything less than a 7/10 would be naive.

PREDICTION

This isn’t an original observation but it’s one I can’t help but subscribe to – this team, for whatever reason, seems to handle adversity better than it handles success. Following up the Iowa State performance with Oklahoma State is a prime example, but we were similarly flat against Texas Tech after a strong showing against Oklahoma. I think that means we see a strong bounceback, especially from an offensive line that was absolutely dominated last weekend. LFG.

West Virginia 31-21 Kansas State