Kansas State Wildcats at West Virginia Mountaineers
An interesting Big 12 matchup will open week 13 in the BCS as the Kansas State Wildcats (7-2, 5-1 Big 12) visit Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown to take on the West Virginia Mountaineers (6-4. 4-3 Big 12) on Thursday, November 20 (7:00 p.m. Eastern).
Last weekend, the Wildcats saw their five-game winning streak come to end at the hands of TCU. Kansas State is 22nd in the nation in both scoring offense and defense (scoring 36.2 points per game, while allowing 21.1), but both sides of the ball let them down in the 41-20 loss to the Horned Frogs. Kansas State’s defense had no answer for TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin, in particular, who put up four touchdowns in the game (three rushing and one passing).
Not only did that loss kill any chance at the playoffs for the Wildcats, but it also bumped them into a three-way tie at the top of the Big 12 standings. Now 5-1 inside the Big 12, Kansas State still has to face No. 23 West Virginia and No. 12 Baylor on the road (plus a gimme against Kansas at home).
Two weeks ago, a road game against West Virginia looked like one of the most dangerous games for Big 12 teams. They had won four straight, including a home win over then-undefeated Baylor. However, the Mountaineers have since dropped two straight; in week 10, West Virginia lost at home (31-30) to the same Horned Frogs team that just beat K-State. In week 11, the Mountaineers were surprised by the 5-5 Texas Longhorns (33-16) in Austin. After surprising teams in September and October, it seems the Mountaineers are running out of gas at the tail end of the season.
Turnovers have been a significant cause of the two-game losing streak. Against TCU, the Mountaineers turned the ball over five times. They added two more in the loss to Texas. Their 16-point output against the Longhorns was a season low. (Though West Virginia can take some comfort from the fact that they outgained the Longhorns 448 yards to 351.)
On the season, West Virginia is averaging 34.1 points per game (38th best in the nation) and 26.4 points against (67th in the country).
Kansas State and West Virginia have met twice over the last two seasons and the Wildcats have cruised to victory in both: 55-14 in 2012 and 35-12 in 2013.
(Photo credit: Alex (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)