WVU Needs to Bounce Back Against ISU
Only two home games left in the season, and the Mountaineers want to redeem themselves after an ugly loss to Oklahoma State.
The Mountaineers could really use a bounce back performance against Iowa State on Saturday. WVU has two home games left on their schedule, and with the next one being against a ranked Iowa State Cyclones, it would be good to erase the Oklahoma State game from everyone’s memory.
What makes this game different from years past, is that Iowa State is no team to sleep on. They did not become the No. 15 ranked team in the nation over night. After a tough overtime loss to Iowa early in the season, the Cyclones have been on a roll, getting out to their best start in the last five years, and since WVU joined the Big 12.
It is really difficult to look at Iowa State and see what makes this team talented considering they play sound football all-around. The Cyclones limit their mistakes on special teams, they have a fairly balanced attack on offense, and a defense that has surprised many this season. There is not anything particularly special about the Cyclones, but they are coached well and it shows, so I will not speak to much on Iowa State.
The Mountaineers are preparing for a team that has their eyes set on a date with the Big 12 title game. WVU can ruin that with a win this weekend, but it is going to require a balanced attack from Offensive Coordinator Jake Spavital. Spavital will have to feed Justin Crawford and Kennedy McKoy in order to open things down the field for quarterback Will Grier and the WVU receiving corp. Crawford opened up the season rushing for 100-plus yards the first five games of the season, and we have not seen the Crawford from last year, which has hurt WVU on offense. As great as the numbers are that the Mountaineers put up through the air, but defenses would respect the offense more if it offered more balance, as a result of the run game not being there we have seen Grier face an immense amount of pressure the last few weeks since straying away from the rushing game.
On defense the Mountaineers will have to have the mentality of linebackers David Long Jr. and Al-Rasheed Benton. The two have been a sideline-to-sideline wrecking crew, always hovering around the ball. The only thing is, WVU is still sacrificing lots of yards on the ground. With Long coming off of a 18-tackle day last week, you can expect for him and Benton to come out fired up and ready to play.
Wide Receiver Marcus Simms will also have to be a factor in Saturday’s game. It has been weeks since Simms has made a big play in the return game, and given the Mountaineers favorable field position. It is easy to keep the ball away from Simms in the Kick return game, but in the punt return game, the defense will have to help by keeping Iowa State drives short to give special teams room to work with.
It is really hard to tell how this game goes, but seems like it may be an ugly low-scoring game, for a rainy Saturday.