West Virginia will host Iowa State on Saturday, a team that has beaten the Mountaineers three-straight years in a row and the games have not been close. Iowa State has increased their point total year after year, going from 30 points to 38 points to 42 points while the Mountaineers have gone in the opposite direction – 14 points to 14 points to 6 points.
Keep the Turnover Train Rolling
Brock Purdy is once again doing Brock Purdy things and if he keeps up his pace, Purdy could finish his career in the top ten all time in the Big 12 passing department. He has already thrown for over 10,000 yards in his career and has at least 6 more games to go. On this season, Purdy has thrown 11 touchdowns and 4 interceptions BUT three of those interceptions came in one game when the Iowa Hawkeyes beat the Cyclones 27-17 despite only totaling 173 yards on the day. True, its tough to total a ton of yards when you are already in your opponent’s territory but Iowa did basically nothing all day and held Purdy down and taunted him. The Mountaineers are coming off a 3-takeaway performance of their own against TCU and it is notable for West Virginia since they had not played aggressively all season. the cornerbacks and safeties were playing tentative and not attacking. That changed last week, rewarding West Virginia with two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
Points Off Turnovers
The Mountaineers turned the turnovers into nine points against TCU, converting a field goal after the first interception, scoring a touchdown (but missing the two point conversion) on the second and going for it on fourth down and failing. The nine points were enough as TCU was shut out in the second half but against Iowa State, nine points won’t be. In their four conference games the Cyclones have scored 16, 21, 13 and 17 points in the second half so West Virginia is going to need points and they will need to score touchdowns when they get turnovers. In fact, if the Mountaineers can somehow keep Iowa from scoring in an entire quarter that should be considered a win since the Cyclones have scored every quarter but three this year. They did not score in the third quarter against Northern Iowa, the third quarter against Iowa and the first quarter against Oklahoma State. The Cyclones scored in 17 straight quarters before their first quarter shutout against Oklahoma State.
Run. The. Ball.
I know TCU’s defense is bad but the team doesn’t want to believe that is the only reason they were finally able to run the ball. They think, that perhaps they saw that the scheme’s they’ve been teaching, they drills they’ve been forcing are starting to work. They showed the linemen that if you do the footwork right, get to the right man, block at the right angle, we can run the ball. Will they be able to do that again this week? They better since the weather looks crappy and it might take the air out of the ball. A low-scoring, grind-it-out slugfest is the type of game that scrappy underdogs win. Neal Brown has only ever beat Kansas State as a ranked team and a very bad Virginia Tech (still got that Black Diamond Trophy!). It is time for Neal to get his signature win.