Match-Up Preview: West Virginia-Oklahoma State

Match-Ups & Unit Battles As WVU Duels Oklahoma State


 

Match-Up Preview
West Virginia vs Oklahoma State
West Virginia rushing offense vs. Oklahoma State run defense
The Mountaineer ground attack was strong through the season’s first four games, eclipsing 200 yards in each contest. But then came a slowdown at TCU (142 rushing yards) followed up a complete shutdown by Texas Tech (44). As for Oklahoma State, its rush defense has been feast or famine, allowing over 200 yards to Tulsa (244), TCU (238) and Baylor (219), but limiting South Alabama (41), Pitt (103) and Texas Tech (54).
Advantage: West Virginia

West Virginia passing offense vs. Oklahoma State pass defense
The Cowboy pass defense was No. 1 in the Big 12 after six games, allowing just 222.7 yards per. But much of that was a product of its opponents. OSU only played one high-powered aerial attack in the first half of the season, and that one, Texas Tech, burned the Pokes for 330 passing yards. As for WVU, only in a pass-happy league can the Mountaineers be middle of Big 12 in passing yards (fourth, 362.2 ypg) but sixth nationally. Will Grier threw for better than 300 yards in each of the first six games.
Advantage: West Virginia
 
Oklahoma State rushing offense vs. West Virginia run defense
After years of trying to establish a running attack worthy of OSU’s strong passing offense, the Cowboys have found that desired balance. Midway through the season, the Pokes are tied for the Big 12 lead in rushing offense, averaging 199.5 ypg. OSU sophomore Justice Hill provides 105.5 of those rushing yards. WVU’s rush defense has struggled most of the year (210.7 ypg).
Advantage: Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State passing offense vs. West Virginia pass defense
Mason Rudolph and the Cowboy aerial circus are putting up ridiculous numbers, as he’s completing two-thirds of his passes and leads the nation in passing yards per game (394.5). And he has nearly a 5:1 TD:INT ration. It doesn’t hurt that he has the nation’s leader in receiving yards – James Washington, 147.0 ypg on 34 catches. West Virginia’s defensive pass stats are OK (243.2 ypg), but the best two passing attacks it faced – ECU (328) and Texas Tech (323) – both had success against the Mountaineers.
Advantage: Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State special teams vs. West Virginia special teams
Both these clubs are in the middle of the Big 12 pack in most special teams categories. WVU does lead the league in kickoff returns (25.9 ypr) and OSU is second in the conference in kickoff coverage (41.9 ypk), but other than that, each is fifth or lower on almost every other Big 12 special teams statistical list.
Advantage: Even
Intangibles
The overall series between WVU and OK State is tied at 4-4, but OSU has won three of the five meetings since WVU joined the Big 12, including each of the last two. OSU, which has split its previous two trips to Mountaineer Field, is an impressive 15-7 on Big 12 road games since 2012, while WVU is 12-11 in Big 12 home games. West Virginia is just 10-62-1 all-time against top 10 foes.
Advantage: Oklahoma State
 
Prediction
The ultimate question is whether WVU’s young defense can slow down a outstanding Oklahoma State offense that leads the nation in yards (610.7) and is second in points (48.8). WVU’s offense has shown plenty of fire power of its own (547.2 total yards and 44.2 points), but it will likely have to be white hot to keep up with the Pokes. WVU probably needs to reach 50 to win, and that’s tough.
Predicted Score: Oklahoma State-46 West Virginia-42