Against K-State, it's tortoise vs. hare for WVU
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The best defense against West Virginia is a slow offense.
Patience is important for West Virginia's opponents against quarterback Geno Smith and the nation's No. 3 passing offense.
The fewer plays the Mountaineers run, the less chance they have of reaching their 45.7 scoring average.
No. 4 Kansas State won't change its philosophy when it faces No. 17 West Virginia at 7 p.m. Saturday at Milan Puskar Stadium. The Wildcats' offense is naturally slow.
“If you keep them out of the end zone and off the field, that is a positive thing,” Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said. “I do not want them scoring seven points a minute, and they are very capable of doing it.”
Maryland did a decent job of shortening the game against West Virginia on Sept. 22. The Terrapins won time of possession (31:14 vs. 28:46) and limited West Virginia to a season-low 68 plays in a 32-12 Mountaineers win.
If anything, Kansas State will play at an even slower tempo.
“We are going to have to control the clock, play defense with a good offense, which is our game,” Kansas State fullback Braden Wilson said.
Conversely, West Virginia plays at one of the fastest tempos, averaging 78.7 plays per game. The Mountaineers ran a season-high 91 plays in last week's 49-14 loss at Texas Tech.
Kansas State averages 63.2 plays per game.
The Wildcats' highest play total this season was 71 against Miami (Fla.). Their lowest total was 48 plays against North Texas.
“They stay out there and it is going to be like it was against Maryland,” West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said. “They are going to huddle; they are going to sub; they are going to get their personnel groups in; they are going to go to the line of scrimmage; they are going to try and draw you offside; they are going to make sure they are in the right play.”
Led by quarterback Collin Klein, Kansas State averages 40.9 points to rank No. 15 nationally. West Virginia is No. 10 in scoring.
“They are only snapping the ball 63 times a game, but they are averaging 40 points a game,” Holgorsen said. “They have big-play potential.”
John Harris is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.