The Times West Virginian

Breaking News

WVU Sports

October 20, 2012

WVU ready for Kansas State’s challenge

MORGANTOWN — You wanted to know why West Virginia University jumped to the Big 12, you say.

The answer to that is easy. Just look what’s going on at Milan Puskar Stadium at Mountaineer Field at 7 p.m. tonight — No. 17 West Virginia vs. No. 4 Kansas State.

The opponent isn’t Syracuse. It isn’t South Florida or even Rutgers.

It is an unbeaten team with eyes on a national championship and a quarterback, Collin Klein, with eyes on the Heisman Trophy, and a coach, 73-year-old Bill Snyder, who is heading toward the College Football Hall of Fame.

It is a life-and-death game for the Mountaineers and for quarterback Geno Smith and his Heisman Trophy credentials.

Needless to say, a sellout crowd will be on hand, as well as Fox TV cameras bringing the show to the nation.

It may get better than this — WVU is coming off its first defeat, a rather gory 49-14 loss at Texas Tech that kept it from being a meeting of undefeated, Top 5 teams — but it does not get any more meaningful to the Mountaineers and their program.

Win this and they jump back into the Top 10 and remain in contention for the Big 12 championship and, who knows, a chance to get back into the national championship picture.

Lose it and, well, how does unranked and a two-game losing streak sound going into an off-week?

“Kansas State definitely presents a great challenge. They play tough football,” said WVU’s and the nation’s leading receiver, Tavon Austin. “That’s what Texas Tech did; they came in and hit us in the mouth. They’re going to come in like that this week, and we need to be prepared.”

This is a team that is different from anything WVU has seen this year and will see in the Big 12. It is a run-first, spread option team with a quarterback in Klein who reminds people a lot more of Tim Tebow than he does of Peyton Manning.

“Offensively, it starts with their quarterback. Collin Klein is a tremendous football player. You watch him on tape, and you have to stop the run because between him and their running back, John Hubert, they rush for 200 some yards a game,” WVU coach Dana Holgorsen said.

That may just play into WVU’s hands, as it has been totally inept all year at stopping the passing game but has gotten passing grades, so to speak, against the run.

“We will work hard on trying to stop the run, and we want to make them pass,” Holgorsen said. “You look at them throwing the ball, and it doesn’t look very good, but it goes exactly where you want it to go. They have big-play potential outside, and they have some receivers that can really run. You spend so much time on stopping the run that they have guys that make plays on the outside, and they do a great job on third downs.”

But just when you think they are running …

“A lot of times, he’ll look like he’s running the ball, then he’ll pretend to run the ball but throw it deep, and he has the arm to complete it,” said linebacker Doug Rigg. “The biggest thing for us is that we have to read our keys. We can’t just assume it’s going to be a run and give up receivers going deep.”

Already this season the Mountaineers have given up 15 pass plays of 30 or more yards, seven for touchdowns.

“They create such a different challenge than last week,” defensive coordinator Joe DeForest said. “It’s the total opposite. We’re going to have to get more hats on the ball.”

How they hope to accomplish that he won’t say.

“I don’t want to give away the game plan, but obviously you are going to have to keep a lot of sets of eyes on him,” he said, hinting that some kind of spy will be assigned to Klein.

Kansas State also will offer a throw-back philosophy in how it runs its offense.

It huddles.

“They stay out there, and it is going to be like it was against Maryland,” Holgorsen said, who expressed frustration with the style of play after the Maryland game. “They are going to huddle; they are going to sub; they are going to get their personnel groups in; they are going to go to the line of scrimmage, they are going to try and draw you offsides; they are going to make sure that they are in the right play; and they are going to play ball. We are going to have to do a good job of being patient and making sure that we take advantage of our opportunities.”

In the meantime, WVU must recover from last week’s loss and fight through injuries. The most notable new injury has sidelined cornerback Brodrick Jenkins, who will be replaced by true freshman Ricky Rumph.

Whether or not star wide receiver Stedman Bailey, who leads the nation in TD receptions with 14, is back from an ankle sprain was unclear in mid-week, as was the situation with running back Shawne Alston, who has sat out a month of games with a thigh bruise.

Austin said Bailey will be back, while starting offensive guard Jeff Braun, also out with an ankle, vowed he would return for the game.

Email Bob Hertzel at or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.

Text Only
WVU Sports
  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Under pressure, NCAA decides to change rules

    At first glance, it appears that they do not go hand-in-hand, a pair of rules changes the NCAA’s Legislative Council approved this week, sending them off for what seems to be smooth sailing toward becoming rules.

    April 18, 2014

  • Means, WVU baseball shut out Oklahoma

    Junior left-hander John Means of the WVU baseball team threw eight shutout innings and the Mountaineers had a five-run first inning en route to a 7-0 victory over Oklahoma on Thursday evening at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
    The Mountaineers (18-15, 3-6 Big 12) broke a six-game Big 12 losing streak after being swept by TCU and Oklahoma State in back-to-back weekends. WVU had 16 hits and did not make an error for the second-straight game.

    April 18, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Dr. Graber disagrees with Gee’s stance on Turnbull firing

    Dr. Stephen Graber, an associate professor at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, is among the latest WVU teachers to deplore Oliver Luck’s firing of veteran wrestling coach Craig Turnbull.
    He raised some significant questions about that issue last Monday in a meeting of the WVU Faculty Senate.

    April 18, 2014

  • Huggins signs junior college guard

    Coach Bob Huggins completed his 2014-15 West Virginia University recruiting class on Wednesday and deemed it a success after receiving a signed letter of intent from junior college guard Tarik Phillip.
    Phillip joins Jevon Carter of Maywood, Ill., and Daxter Miles of Baltimore’s Dunbar High and out of Notre Dame Prep in Massachusetts in the 2014-15 recruiting class.

    April 17, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU gymnast hopes to stick her final landing

    The reaction, one suspects, was the same as most people who see either a picture of West Virginia University gymnast Hope Sloanhoffer or meet her for the first time in person — a quick double take, maybe even stumbling over the first few words of an introduction.

    April 17, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Comparing pay of coaches and professors

    Stringing together some odds and ends which may be of interest to you:
    • A beautiful lady came up to my table last Sunday at brunch in the Village of Heritage Point’s main dining room with a message.

    April 17, 2014

  • Bussie looks forward to WNBA

    On Tuesday, the weather turned cold, the wind blew and amongst the raindrops that fell a few snowflakes fluttered quietly to Earth.
    It was as if it was a celebration of Asya Bussie being drafted on Monday night by the Minnesota Lynx, champions of the WNBA, with the third selection of the second round, the 15th overall pick of the draft.

    April 16, 2014

  • WVU’s Harlee named Big 12 Scholar-Athlete

    The Big 12 Conference announced its Scholar-Athlete of the Year recipients for the 2014 winter sport season, and West Virginia University senior Jess Harlee earns the honor for women’s basketball.
    Harlee was selected as the award winner based on a vote of each respective sport’s head coaching group, with coaches not permitted to vote for their own student-athletes.

    April 16, 2014

  • Gyorko, Padres agree to extension

    Jedd Gyorko, who hasn’t hit much of anything with a .178 start on this season, hit the jackpot on Monday, signing a six-year contract extension with the San Diego Padres for $35 million with a one-year club option at $13 million.

    April 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Spring game showed defense has improved

    From Dana Holgorsen’s viewpoint, which was standing right behind the offense, West Virginia’s Gold-Blue Spring Game on Saturday was a rousing success for it showed very little of what the Mountaineers will be in this coming season, probably not even showcasing the man who will direct the offense in the quarterback position.

    April 15, 2014

Featured Ads
WVU Sports Highlights
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos