REASON #1: Biletnikoff Battle
Thursday’s matchup features two wide receivers who were selected to the Biletnikoff Award semifinalist list earlier this week (which features the top 10 receivers from around the country): Kansas State’s Tyler Lockett and West Virginia’s Kevin White. White was the nation’s leader in receiving yards earlier in the season, a number that tapered off for the Mountaineer in games against Oklahoma State and TCU. White, however, rebounded during the Mountaineer’s last outing against Texas, a game where White had a career-high 16 receptions with 132 receiving yards in a loss. On the other hand, Lockett is coming off a 11-reception, 196 yard performance in a Wildcat loss against TCU. Number 16 for the Wildcats ranks 16th in the nation with 97.6 receiving yards a game, and is 122 yards away from becoming the first Wildcat with two 1,000-yard receiving seasons, doing so in consecutive years.
REASON #2: Discipline
While a theme for the entire Kansas State season , disciplined play will make a huge impact on the game and should be a Wildcat advantage. Kansas State is 5th in least turnovers lost and 2nd in fewest penalties, whereas West Virginia is 107th in turnovers lost and 78th in fewest penalties. If Kansas State can stay disciplined and West Virginia executes in a similar fashion as what is indicated in statistics, the Wildcats will have a major X-factor in their favor, potentially enough to cancel out the challenge of winning in Morgantown on senior night.
REASON #3: Clint Trickett
Last year against Kansas State, former Florida State transfer and current West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett threw for 227 yards with no touchdowns against the Wildcats. 2014 has been a breakout season for Trickett as he has developed in the Mountaineer offense, a season that he has thrown for 3,173 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Despite a successful season overall, Trickett has struggled in the last two games he has played. During the Mountaineers two- game losing streak, Trickett has not passed for over 300 yards, despite doing so for the first eight of the games of the season, and has thrown one touchdown and three interceptions.
REASON #4: KSU Rushing Game
After November 8th’s debacle at TCU, the importance of Kansas State establishing a run game has become prevalent as a necessity in order to win. In victories, Kansas State has averages 191.7 rushing yards a game, whereas in two losses Kansas State averages 37 rushing yards a game. In good news for Wildcat fans, the Mountaineers average surrendering 181.5 rushing yards a game, compared to the 145.4 and 123.1 average rushing yards per game surrendered by Auburn and TCU, respectively.
REASON #5: Rushing D Rebound
While a lack of a running game was present in both Kansas State losses this year, Kansas State’s defense was exposed on the ground in a loss for the first time this year against TCU. In more good news for Wildcat fans, West Virginia struggled to establish a running game against Texas, managing only 42 yards in the first half until padding stats when the game was out of reach
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