Since 2012, both teams have split the series each winning two games. Oklahoma State won in 2012 (55-34) and last season in 2015 (33-26), while the Mountaineers won in consecutive years in 2013 (30-21) & 2014 (34-10).
The Mountaineers continue to roll and remain undefeated after their dominating home win over the TCU Horned Frogs last week. The Mountaineers are averaging 33 points per game and are very balanced rushing for 206 yards per game along with passing for 303 yards per game this season.
Quarterback Skylar Howard is completing 66% of his passes for 1,821 yards with 12 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Howard has looked very calm running the offense this season compared to last year where he looked to force passes into coverage at times. He has engineered an offense that can run an up-tempo attack and also slow down the pace when the team has a lead. Howard will be facing a very tough environment this coming weekend in Stillwater and must keep his poise on the road.
Running back Ruschel Shell is the most important player for the offense this Saturday. Shell’s ability to run between the tackles to wear down the Cowboys defensive front seven will dictate whether the Mountaineers get the road win. On the season, Shell leads the team with 465 rushing yards averaging 4.8 yards per carry with 5 touchdowns.
Wide receiver Shelton Gibson is the main target for Howard in the passing game. Gibson has caught a team leading 25 passes for 501 yards with 3 receiving touchdowns.
West Virginia is converting 48% of their third down attempts and will look to get into third down and short situations.
Defensively, the Moutaineers are giving up 17 points per game and are allowing 158 rushing yards to opposing offenses. West Virginia is giving up 233 passing yards per game and must be able to get pressure on Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph this weekend. West Virginia only has recorded 12 sacks through the first six games and must utilize blitz packages to put pressure on the Cowboy’s offensive line this weekend.
Entering this game on Saturday, the Mountaineers are giving up 44% of to opposing offenses on third downs and must force Rudolph into passing situations which will make the Cowboys offense one dimensional.
West Virginia is +3 in turnover margin entering this game.
The Cowboys are slowly under the radar heading into this Big 12 contest this weekend. While West Virginia seems to be getting all the hype, the Cowboys only have one conference loss (Baylor) and can make some noise with a home win in T. Boone Pickens Stadium.
Oklahoma State is averaging 41 points per game and is rushing for 144 yards per game on the ground along with passing for 336 yards per game through the air this season.
Quarterback Mason Rudolph has completed 62% of his passes for 2,259 yards with 14 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. He is an accurate passer that loves throwing the deep ball to stretch opposing offenses. Last year, the Cowboys had the benefit of quarterback J.W Walsh that was a dual threat signal caller that rushed 359 yards with 13 touchdowns along with passing for 787 yards with 13 passing touchdowns. With Walsh in the game, defenses had to defend against the read option and forced pressure on the edge of opposing defensive schemes. However, with Rudolph, that threat is non-existent and makes the Cowboys offense “predictable” in certain situations.
This has put pressure on the offensive line that is allowing 23 sacks through the first seven games of the year.
Running back Justice Hill leads the team with 565 rushing yards with 4 touchdowns. While Hill does not have pure breakaway speed, he does possess great vision in hitting running lanes.
Wide receivers James Washington and Jalen McClesky are two of the best wide receivers in the conference and have combined for 75 receptions for 1,276 yards with 10 touchdowns. Both players have the speed to take the top off of the defense and love going over the middle to make plays.
Defensively, the Cowboys are allowing 27 points per game and are giving up 181 rushing yards per game to opposing offenses. The secondary is allowing 267 passing yards per game and will need a better effort on Saturday.
Oklahoma State is +7 in turnover margin and must be able to force turnovers at home to get the win.
Oklahoma State is holding opposing offenses to 35% on third down conversions and has recorded 18 sacks through the first seven games of the year.
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