The Mountaineers looked like a completely different squad last week. The Jayhawks looked like a completely different squad last week. Something has to give when these teams face off in Lawrence on Saturday.
Kansas broke its 48 road game loosing streak last week when they defeated Boston College in surprising fashion. Kansas blew out the Eagles in the second half en route to a 48-24 victory. Kansas looked night and day different compared to their week-two loss against Costal Carolina.
After week-two, West Virginia responded well with a blowout win against a solid NC State team. The Mountaineers came out of the first half tied at 21 and took off en route to a 44-27 victory. West Virginia looked leaps and bounds better than their loss against Missouri the week before.
The moral of the story is: both of these teams looked completely different following week-two losses. It should definitely be an interesting game and here’s what you should know heading into Saturday.
Kansas has the best running back pair in the Big 12
The Kansas running backs are legit, especially the top two. Last week against Boston College running backs Khalil Herbert and Pooka Williams Jr. ran for a combined 308 yards on 33 carries. They’re as dynamic as a duo gets. West Virginia will have an enormous task ahead to shut down one, forget both. Kansas should definitely call a lot of running plays and they’ll probably see a lot of success with that. The good news is WVU can definitely sell out to stop the run, Kansas passing game isn’t the greatest.
The West Virginia offensive line looks much better with young talent on the inside
West Virginia was struck with bad news when both guards were announced out before kickoff last week. Instead of folding over like expected the Mountaineers turned to freshman guards Briason Mays and James Gmiter. They both played every snap and dominated. West Virginia finally ran the ball like they were expected to this season and held NC State to only one sack on the day. That addition made a huge difference and shows the offensive line has new found depth.
Kansas had five methodical scoring drives of 78 yards or more last week. They also put up 48 points against a solid power five defense. West Virginia used the big play mixed with the long marching drives to put up 44 against a solid NC State defense. At the end of the day both teams carry great running backs, Kansas has their duo and West Virginia has the trio of McKoy, Pettaway, and Brown. The run game should be effective for both sides and play actions should lead to big plays. I don’t think this is a 2018 WVU-OU level shootout but it’ll definitely make you wish you had bet on the over.
What Tomorrow‘s headline will be:
“West Virginia and Kansas run all over each other, late McKoy touchdown gives West Virginia a four point victory to open Big 12 play.”
Cover Photo Credit: Shanna Rose, BGS