FACTS & STATS: Site: Jack Trice Stadium (55,000) — Ames, Iowa.
Television: FS1. Home Record: WVU 3-3, ISU 1-5. Away Record: WVU 3-1, ISU 1-3.
Neutral Record: WVU 0-1, ISU 0-0. Conference Record: WVU 4-4, ISU 0-7. Series
Record: Series is tied, 1-1.
GAME NOTES: The Iowa State Cyclones will try to win their first Big 12
Conference game of the season in their home finale on Saturday afternoon, as
they take on the West Virginia Mountaineers at Jack Trice Stadium.
WVU was in the thick of the Big 12 race just a few weeks ago, as it was 4-1 in
league play heading into November. It has since fallen off the radar by losing
three straight to dip to 6-5 overall. The Mountaineers most recently lost a
home bout with nationally-ranked Kansas State on Nov. 20, 26-20.
Iowa State, meanwhile, is bringing up the rear in the conference standings at
2-8 overall and 0-7 in the league. The Cyclones extended their losing streak
to four last Saturday by dropping a 34-31 decision at home to Texas Tech.
The teams have split the two previous meetings in the all-time series, with
the Cyclones claiming a thrilling 52-44 triple-overtime win last season in
their biggest come-from-behind victory in program history (24 points).
The Mountaineers can usually be relied on for strong offensive performances,
as they tally 32.8 ppg and 495.9 ypg on the season, but the unit has slipped
up of late by scoring 20 points or fewer in two straight.
Clint Trickett is in the midst of a great campaign with 3,285 yards, 18
touchdowns and 10 interceptions on 67.1 percent completions, but he was forced
to leave the Kansas State loss early with a concussion. If he’s unable to go,
Skyler Howard (15-of-25, 198 yards, two TDs) would start in his place.
Kevin White is one of the nation’s elite receivers, as he ranks in the top-
five in the FBS in both catches (98) and yards (1,270) while scoring nine
touchdowns. With White receiving most of the attention from opposing defenses,
Mario Alford has stepped up his play with a strong season of his own with 57
receptions for 802 yards and eight scores.
The running back-by-committee approach has yielded positive results for WVU
with 178.6 rushing ypg. Rushel Shell (620 yards, six TDs), Wendell Smallwood
(612 yards, two TDs) and Dreamius Smith (446 yards, five TDs) have all been
WVU also boasts a sound defense, as it allows just 26.4 ppg and 386.6 ypg,
although the unit has only forced 11 turnovers in 11 games.
Nick Kwiatkoski has team highs in both tackles (85) and TFL (9.5). Shaq
Riddick is the Mountaineers’ best pass-rusher with 9.0 TFL and 6.0 sacks,
while Daryl Worley, KJ Dillon and Dravon Henry have combined for eight
The Cyclones don’t fit in very well with the rest of the high-scoring Big 12,
as they register just 25.1 ppg and 382.4 ypg, although they are coming off one
of their best performances of the year with 569 yards in the loss to Texas
Sam B. Richardson completes less than 59 percent of his passes but he’s
otherwise been solid, throwing for 249.1 ypg with 16 touchdowns paired with
only six interceptions. He’s also a solid rushing option with 392 yards and
Richardson spreads the wealth to E.J. Bibbs (382 yards), Allen Lazard (547
yards), D’Vario Montgomery (492 yards) and Jarvis West (244 yards), all of
whom have at least 35 receptions. Bibbs averages less than nine yards per
catch but is Richardson’s preferred target in the red zone with eight
The Cyclones’ running game has not been effective with 127.0 ypg at less than
four yards per carry. Aaron Wimberly rushed for 102 yards and a pair of scores
last week to up his season totals to 492 yards and six touchdowns.
Iowa State’s defense has been porous to say the least, as it ranks 115th in
the nation in scoring defense (37.4 ppg) and 120th in total defense (505.5
T.J. Mutcherson has registered 76 tackles and a pair of interceptions. Nigel
Tribune and Sam E. Richardson have three interceptions apiece, and Corey
Morrissey has 6.0 of the team’s 14.0 sacks
If Trickett is unable to suit up, WVU could be in trouble on the road against
a desperate Iowa State squad. However, the Mountaineers will still likely have
enough offensive firepower to light up the scoreboard against an uninspired
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: West Virginia 35, Iowa State 28