West Virginia Mountaineers at Kansas State Wildcats
Bill Snyder Family Stadium – Manhattan, Kansas
Saturday, December 5, 2015, 2:30 pm Eastern, TV: Fox Sports 1
Opening Line: West Virginia -6 1/2
Current Line: West Virginia -5 1/2
Opening Total: 60
Current Total: 58
Opening Money Line: WVU -235 / KSU +195
Current Money Line: WVU -225 / KSU +185
The 7-4 West Virginia Mountaineers travel to the 5-6 Kansas State Wildcats Saturday in the regular season finale for both teams. The Mountaineers are in fifth place in the Big 12 at 4-4. West Virginia is already bowl eligible and looks to improve their bowl destination. Also, eight wins and only four losses to the four top 20 teams in the conference would be impressive. Kansas State is in 8th place in the division at 2-6. The Wildcats need a win to guarantee bowl eligibility but there is a good chance Kansas State could be selected even at 5-7.
Kansas State leads the series 4-1 against West Virginia, including wins in all three meetings since West Virginia joined the Big 12 four seasons ago. The Wildcats won last year in Morgantown 26-20.
West Virginia is coached by Dana Holgorsen. The Mountaineers opened the season with three straight non-conference wins all by blowouts. WVU beat Georgia Southern 44-0, Liberty 41-17 and Maryland 45-6. The Mountaineers have losses at Oklahoma 44-24, Baylor 62-38 and TCU 40-10, plus a home loss to Oklahoma State 33-26 in overtime. West Virginia has won four straight games after a four game losing streak. The Mountaineers have home conference wins over Texas Tech 31-26, Texas 38-20, and Iowa State 30-6 last week, along with a road win at Kansas 49-0.
West Virginia was a 13.5 point favorite against Iowa State and the total was 57.5. The Mountaineers led 13-6 at halftime, but would score 17 unanswered points in the second half to take the 24 point win. Iowa State had 284 total yards and 3 turnovers. West Virginia is 5-6 ATS and the total is 3-8 this season.
Kansas State is coached by Bill Snyder. The Wildcats have home wins over South Dakota 34-0, Louisiana Tech 39-33 and Iowa State 38-35, plus road wins at UTSA 30-3 and Kansas 45-14 last week. Kansas State has road losses at Oklahoma State 36-34, Texas 23-9 and Texas Tech 59-44, plus home losses to TCU 52-45, Oklahoma 55-0 and Baylor 31-24.
Kansas State was a 21 point favorite against winless rival Kansas and the total was 53.5. The Wildcats took a 28-7 lead by the end of the first, including 14 points off a botched punt and a blocked punt by the Jayhawks. Kansas State led 45-7 but Kansas scored a late touchdown that made over bettors very happy. It was the second straight win for KSU after a six game losing streak. The Wildcats are 5-6 ATS and the total is 7-4 this season.
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West Virginia is outscoring teams 34-23 this season. The Mountaineers are #41 or better in both categories nationally. West Virginia averages 465 yards per game on offense including 223 passing and 242 rushing yards. The Mountaineers are #28 in total offense and #13 in rushing. On defense, WVU is allowing 394 total yards including 224 passing and 170 rushing yards. West Virginia has forced 29 turnovers and has 19 of their own. The Mountaineers average 74 penalty yards per game and opponents average 65. West Virginia is 78/189 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 65/193. The Mountaineers have forced 26 sacks and allowed 26 this season. WVU is 39/49 scoring in the red zone with 29 touchdowns, and opponents are 31/36 with 18 touchdowns. The Mountaineers have allowed 2 defensive touchdowns, and have a kickoff return for a touchdown.
Quarterback Skyler Howard has completed 56.1% of his passes for 2,332 yards with 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, and also has 139 carries for 492 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns. Back-up William Crest, Jr. has seen some action. He has thrown for 124 yards and an interception, and has 20 carries for 107 yards and a touchdown.
Running back Wendell Smallwood has 200 carries for 1,306 yards and 8 touchdowns, along with 23 catches for 155 yards. Rushel Shell has 145 carries for 635 yards and 8 touchdowns, along with 13 catches for 95 yards.
Receiver Shelton Gibson has 33 catches for 733 yards and 8 touchdowns. Jovon Durante has 20 catches for 321 yards and 4 touchdowns. Daikiel Shorts has 32 catches for 363 yards and 3 touchdowns. Jordan Thompson has 23 catches for 302 yards. Four defensive players are listed on the injury report.
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Kansas State is outscoring teams 31.1-31 this season. The Wildcats are averaging 343 total yards a game on offense including 175 passing and 170 rushing yards. The Wildcats are #108 in both total offense and passing nationally out of 128 teams. On defense, K-State is allowing 442 total yards including 283 passing and 159 rushing yards. The Wildcats are #119 in pass defense and #101 in total defense. Kansas State has forced 13 turnovers and has 16 of their own. Kansas State averages 41 penalty yards per game and opponents average 58. The Wildcats are 68/163 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 79/179. KSU has forced 32 sacks and allowed 30 this season. The Wildcats are 46/49 scoring in the red zone with 33 touchdowns and opponents are 35/43 with 28 touchdowns. Kansas State has 4 special teams touchdowns this season, and has allowed 2 pick sixes.
Quarterback Joe Hubener has completed 49% of his passes for 1,752 yards with 9 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, along with 168 carries for 598 yards and 13 rushing touchdowns. Hubener was injured against Oklahoma State and receiver Kody Cook had to come in as the emergency quarterback. Cook also came in against Oklahoma in the blowout. He has thrown for 163 yards with two touchdowns and 3 interceptions, along with 36 carries for 105 yards and a touchdown. Jesse Ertz was supposed to be the starter but is out indefinitely with a knee injury suffered in the first game of the season. Another quarterback Jonathan Banks is out indefinitely with an illness.
Running back Charles Jones has 122 carries for 612 yards and 5 touchdowns, along with 11 catches for 140 yards. Justin Silmon has 74 carries for 348 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with a catch. Winston Dimel has 27 carries for 76 yards and 5 touchdowns, along with 6 catches for 186 yards and a touchdown.
Cook has 26 catches for 397 yards and 3 touchdowns. Deante Burton has 29 catches for 342 yards and 3 touchdowns. Dominique Heath has 27 catches for 298 yards and 3 touchdowns. Kyle Klein has 17 catches for 258 yards and a touchdown. Glenn Gronkowski has a receiving touchdown, a rushing touchdown and also threw a touchdown pass. Morgan Burns has 3 kickoff returns and a punt return all for touchdowns.
West Virginia is 4-0 ATS against teams with losing records, and after allowing less than 100 rushing yards. 13-2 against teams with losing home records, 4-1 after a straight up win, and 3-7-1 in December.
Kansas State is 6-1 ATS against teams with winning road records, 19-6-1 against teams with winning records, 9-3 after a straight up win, 40-17-1 in Big 12 games, 1-4 after a cover, and 0-4 after scoring more than 40 points.
Both of these teams took their lumps against the best teams in the conference. West Virginia is more talented but I think Kansas State finds a way to win a close low scoring game at home.