A Duel of the Quarterback is Brewing in Morgantown
Will Grier and the Mountaineers look to improve their season resume with a big game in Morgantown this Saturday.
As repetitive as it sounds WVU faces another season defying week as they prepare for their biggest home game of the season. This game has been circled on many many calendars as Oklahoma State sports the number one scoring, passing, and total offense in the Big12. So if there was ever a week that the Mountaineer defense has to step up, this would be the week.
Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph has posted big numbers so far this season, enough to garner national Heisman attention. The Cowboys do not just rely on their passing game, this Mike Gundy team is well-rounded on both sides of the ball, and will have a balanced attack for WVU. Oklahoma State running back Justice Hill leads the Big 12 in rushing, averaging 107-yards per game this season, which does not bode well for a Mountaineer team that has given up an average of 198-yards a game this season.
Oklahoma State to go along with a Heisman candidate quarterback and Big 12 leading rusher, add the Big 12’s leader in receiving yards to Oklahoma State’s list of weapons. Wide receiver James Washington is averaging 24-yards a catch, and 130.6-yards per game. Washington does a great job of using his body to shield off receivers to make tough catches. Washington also does a great job after the catch, which is why there will have to be an emphasis on wrapping up and not making arm tackles.
This game will be a big opportunity for WVU corner Mike Daniels to make a name for himself. Daniels has played the most consistent football amongst WVU corners this season. Daniels through seven starts has 28 tackles, an interception, and six pass break ups. The only player who may be playing better than Daniels in the WVU secondary is safeties Dravon Askew-Henry and Kyzir White. Both have been leaders on the defense, and have been around the ball making plays and tackles all season.
Oklahoma has a very good team to be proud of, although most of what they have made their name for is on offense, but Oklahoma State is no slouch on defense either. The Cowboy defense has only given up four touchdown passes the entire season, making them the number two pass defense in the Big 12, they are also fourth in the conference in rushing yards allowed. The Cowboys defense is not star-studded like the offense is, but Corners Tre Flowers and Justin Phillips have been one of the better cornerback tandems in the nation this season combining for four interceptions and twelve pass break ups.
The one thing that does play in the Mountaineers favor is that Oklahoma State has not played a quarterback as good as Will Grier this season. Next to Grier, the best Quarterback the Cowboys have faced is TCU’s Kenny Hill. Hill had a decent day against Oklahoma State, but it was the run game of TCU that put them over the top of Oklahoma State that day. So, yes the Cowboys defend the pass very well, which leaves room for worry as WVU running back Justin Crawford has not been himself the last two weeks. You can blame nagging injuries maybe even fatigue. Fact of the matter is Crawford is not touching the ball enough this season, especially for him to have been voted Preseason All-Big12.
The Mountaineers will need a balanced attack on offense to defeat Oklahoma State, but it will also require, a damn near perfect performance from Al-Rasheed Benton and the WVU defense.
Prediction: The Mountaineers will have their hands full in you guessed it: A Shootout. This is a game that has the potential to go down to the last possession.
Oklahoma St 42 WVU 39