KANSAS STATE WILDCATS (6-0)
at WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS (5-1)
Kickoff: Saturday, 7:00 p.m. EDT
Line: West Virginia -2.5, Total: 72
No. 4 Kansas State tries to stay unbeaten when it visits an angry No. 13 West Virginia squad coming off a sound beating last week.
These teams havenít played in 81 years, a 19-0 Kansas State win in 1931. Saturday's game features two of the nation's best quarterbacks in KSU's Collin Klein (264 total YPG, 17 total TD) and West Virginia's Geno Smith (75.3% completions, 379 passing YPG, 25 TD, 0 INT). The unbeaten Wildcats have a +8 turnover margin in three Big 12 games, thanks to a run-heavy attack with 248.5 rushing YPG. The Mountaineers are coming off a 49-14 shellacking in Lubbock to a Texas Tech team that threw for 508 yards (11.8 YPA).
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Klein has not thrown an interception in three Big 12 contests this season, piling up 300 rushing yards and six touchdowns in conference play. John Hubert has also made major contributions to the 11th-best rushing offense in the land (249 YPG), galloping for 101 yards per game (3rd in Big 12) and eight scores. Although Klein is among the top-20 QBs in the nation in passing efficiency, he's attempted less than 20 passes per game. This helps the Wildcats control the pace of the game, as well as keep sacks allowed (0.7 per game, T-9th in FBS) and turnovers (four, T-6th fewest in nation) to a minimum. KSU also has a superb return game, ranking second in the nation in punt returns (29.7 average) and return specialist Tyler Lockett who is eighth in the country in kickoff return average (30.7). Defensively, KSU has an excellent rushing defense (101 YPG, 15th in FBS), but its subpar passing defense (239 YPG) could certainly be picked apart by WVU's air attack.
Despite Geno Smith's 259 pass attempts this year (43.2 per game), he has yet to throw an interception, a big reason why WVU has just three giveaways all year. Both Tavon Austin (nation-leading 11.2 receptions per game) and Stedman Bailey (128 receiving yards per game, 4th in FBS) have been among the nation's top receivers all year. Despite the passing excellence, West Virginia still has a decent rushing offense, rumbling for 476 yards (159 YPG) in the past three games, led by Andrew Buie's 360 rushing yards and 4 TD. Defensively, this team has been gashed through the air, allowing 365 passing YPG (3rd-most in FBS) and 17 touchdowns. But the Mountaineers have allowed more than 135 rushing yards just twice all year and have forced at least one turnover in each game, totaling 10 for the season.