It’s “Rivalry Week”
By Jeff Vickers
Game 12 of the West Virginia Mountaineers’ 2014 campaign is against the Cyclones of Iowa State, a hatred born in the year 2010.
Ok, well not so much, the only part of this game that anything to do with a Rivalry is the fact that Iowa State Head coach Paul Rhodes served as the defensive Coordinator at Pitt from 2000-2007. Never-the-less, it is an important game for the Mountaineers, as they look to right the ship after 3 straight Big 12 losses. The Mountaineers also want to atone for the fiasco that happened against Iowa State last season.
West Virginia is 6-3 All time in games played on November 29th. The last time they played on this date was 2003, in which they beat Temple 45-28, the last time they played on the road was 1947 when the Mountaineers defeated the Pitt Panthers 17-2. In the two meetings with Iowa State, the visiting team has won both meetings.
Iowa State (2-8, 0-7) enter this game in the midst of a 4 game losing streak. The only wins on the season for the Cyclones have came against Toledo and in state rival Iowa. In 10 games this season the Cyclones have only managed to keep their opponents under 30 points once. The Cyclone defense is worst in the Big 12 conference in 3rd down conversion percentage, 47.1. Through 10 games, Iowa State’s defense is allowing 505.6 yards of offense per game, they have only allowed 12 passing touchdowns, but 33 rushing.
Offensively Iowa State has improved over last season, at least passing. Iowa State is tied with Kansas for last in the conference in rushing yards per game, 127 yards per game. They are led Junior Quarterback Sam Richardson. Richardson did not play against the Mountaineers in 2013, but did so in 2012, completing 13 of 31 passes for 162 yards and 3 touchdowns, and added 119 yards on the ground. Currently Richardson is 2nd on the team in rushing with 392 yards, 100 yards behind the teams leading rusher, Aaron Wimberly. Iowa State’s 3 top receivers are Allen Lazard (547 yards), D’Vario Montgomery (492 yards), and EJ Bibbs (382 yards). Bibbs perhaps the most dangerous weapon on the team, considered the top tight end in the conference.
While it is uncertain who will be the quarterback for West Virginia come Saturday, the emphasis will most likely be on the running game. In the last 3 games (vs. Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas Tech) the Cyclones defense has given up 1,010 yards rushing, and on the season teams average 5.6 yards per carry against Iowa State.
Somethings to keep an eye on.
Clint Trickett needs 23 yards to pass Marc Bulger for 3rd most yards passing in a a season at WVU. 283 passing yards and Clint will tie Major Harris for 7th on the career passing yards list
Kevin White needs 4 receptions to pass Tavon Austin for 3rd most receptions in a season, 20 yards to pass Austin for 2nd most receiving yards in a season at WVU. With 129 yards Kevin will enter the top 10 in career receiving yards at West Virginia. ]
Josh Lambert’s 32 FG attempts is 2nd most in a season at WVU, he needs 3 more to tie Paul Woodside for the season record. Lambert’s 24 FG’s made is 2nd most in a season, Woodside holds the record with 30 (1982).
Josh Lambert needs 4 more points to tie Jim Braxton and Pat McAfee for 6th most points in a season. Lambert (195 points) is currently 14th all-time in points scored at WVU, 12 more points puts him in the top 10.
What I will be looking for.
1. Quarterback play. If Trickett starts, will Holgorsen pull him if he isn’t on, or has a shaky start.
2. Defense – Can the defense continue to play hard, even if the offense doesn’t get a good start.
3. Focus – will the team be able to shake off the last 3 games and take care of a team that they should dominate on paper.