Cyclones’ Program Built Around What WVU Lacked In Last Outing
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – After a tough 50-39 loss to Oklahoma State in which West Virginia’s defense gave up 462 total yards, 27 first downs, and recorded zero sacks, sophomore defensive end Reese Donahue faces another tough opponent in No. 14 Iowa State.
“I feel like (Iowa State) is a very similar team to us, which is a good thing” Donahue said. “I feel like they base a lot of their foundation kind of similar to what we strive for, toughness, effort, and I feel like we have to do everything all week long perfect. Just like last week, but this time we have to accomplish it. We have to be the team that we anticipated being last week, but we have to be that team this week.”
The Cyclones are one of four teams in the Big 12 that currently hold a 4-1 conference record. Despite being 3-2 in Big 12 play, West Virginia still has a chance at a solid season over the final four regular season games.
“Execution,” Donahue said on what the team needs to reach their next level. “I think that we have all the stuff in our preparation aspect. Practice, film, everything I feel like it’s all in line you just gotta put it together and execute it this time. We know what we have to do but it’s just a matter of a doing it now.”
Iowa State’s quarterback, senior Kyle Kempt, is at the helm of the passing offense that ranks 35th in the nation with 269.4 yards per game. In the running game, ISU may be only 117th in the nation in rushing yards per game with 112.9, but the Cyclones have been solid in the red zone in scored 11 rushing TDs thus far, eight coming from sophomore running back David Montgomery. As a result, Donahue and the rest of the West Virginia defensive line face another dangerous offense.
“They’re a good team,” Donahue said. “They can hurt us. It’s not like any week we can have a bye week or an off week. We have to prepare, whether it’s Oklahoma, Kansas, a I-AA team, all the preparation has to be the same every week.”
Saturday’s game will be the fourth in the last five where West Virginia faces a Top 25 team; Games against unranked Kansas State and Texas remain, along with the regular season finale’ at Oklahoma. A victory against Iowa State will edge WVU’s record against top 25 teams to 2-3 this season, a much better looking mark than 1-4.
“I think they’re well deserving of it,” Donahue said of ISU’s rank. “I think all these teams deserve their rank, but rank is just a number. One person can be in the top 10 one week then the next week not even be on the ranking. Like I said it doesn’t matter what team it is, you have to prepare the same way each week and ultimately that’s how you get the result you want.”