On Saturday, November 4 the West Virginia Mountaineers take on the No. 15 Iowa State Cyclones and attempt to end a recent skid on defense.
Coming into the game the Mountaineers record stands at 5-3 overall and 3-2 in the Big 12. Just last Saturday the Mountaineers were soundly beaten at home by the Oklahoma State Cowboys. The loss knocked WVU out of the top 25 and also really hurt any chances of reaching the Big 12 title game.
What’s wrong with the Mountaineers? Defense. Five games in a row the Mountaineers have given up at least 31 points. These have all been Big 12 conference games.
On the other hand Iowa State is one of the hottest teams in the country. Just last week they took down TCU by a score of 14-7. This marked the second victory of the season over a top five team.
Since joining the Big 12 the Mountaineers have dominating the series with Iowa State. West Virginia has won four of the five contests and three straight. Last years game in Ames, Iowa was a Mountaineer blowout win with a final score of 49-19.
West Virginia – Iowa State TV Channel, Time and Live Stream Info
TV: ESPN 2
Time: Saturday November 4, 3:30 p.m. EST
Live Stream: WatchESPN
The West Virginia – Iowa State matchup will be televised on ESPN2 pic.twitter.com/Nw4Ulxwspy
— West Virginia Football (@WVUfootball) October 29, 2017
West Virginia – Iowa State Odds, Pick
Odds: The Mountaineers are favored by 2.5 points. When the line opened WVU was favored by 3.5
Oddsshark.com: Iowa State 35, West Virginia 31.
College Football News: West Virginia 38, Iowa State 34.
Athlon Sports: West Virginia 31, Iowa State 30.
ESPN (Jake Trotter): Iowa State 24, West Virginia 23.
ESPN (Sam Kahn): Iowa State 34, West Virginia 30.
Keys to a West Virginia win
Can Will Grier bounce back after his first bad game of the year? Grier has been consistent all season long and finally ran into his first bad game. He completed 20 of 42 passes for 285 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions. How will he respond? For the Mountaineers to take down a hot Iowa State team they need to win the turnover battle and get Will Grier back on track.
Ever since moving into conference play the Mountaineer running game has struggled mightily. In their current four game stretch the Mountaineers have averaged only 91.5 rushing yards per game and 2.9 yards per carry.
Running back Justin Crawford needs to re-emerge in this key game. The Crawford that averaged 112.4 yards and 7.0 yards per carry (against much weaker opponents) needs to resurface. It could be tricky against an Iowa State defense that ranks 28th in the nation and fourth in the Big 12. There is hope as TCU ran for 172 yards on their defense and averaged over five yards per carry.
Needless to say, if the Mountaineers running game doesn’t get back on track and the Will Grier we all know and love does not come back, it’s going to be a long day for Mountaineer fans.