Iowa State- With one of the best running backs in the country, if not the best, many a defense has stacked the box and asked Brock Purdy to “Beat us”. And beat he has. Purdy has been nothing short of an MLB playoffs ace pitcher in the month of Brocktober. Purdy has had an 80% completion percentage in the last three games, seven touchdowns and zero interceptions.
His stellar play will need to continue against an on-again off-again West Virginia defense that has been inconsistent all year. I expect the Mountaineers to stack the box, and force Purdy to beat them over the top. The question is, how many times does Purdy need to beat the opposing team before defenses give up that strategy?
West Virginia- Leddie Brown, although he sounds like a 1950’s rock and roll front man, he is actually the senior running back for the Mountaineers and has been the main contributor to the scoreboard on this West Virginia team. Brown has 10 touchdowns on the year and over 500 rushing yards. Brown struggled against Iowa State last year in a 42-6 blowout. He was held to under 50 yards rushing, had four catches for only 18 yards, and zero touchdowns. He’ll have to perform a whole lot better this week for the Mountaineers to come out on top.
Iowa State- Will McDonald looked like a man amongst boys against Ok State last weekend, and he finds himself two sacks away from the all time sack leader at Iowa State. His former teammate, Ja’Quan Bailey, has been the record holder for less than a year. He got two crucial sacks, back to back, in Oklahoma State’s second to last drive, but was a defensive menace all game. If McDonald has another big game, he could put his name in the Iowa State record books as one of the all time greats.
P.S. Jarret Doege has 5 interceptions on the year, and the secondary should have some opportunities to make a big play this game as well.
West Virginia- Sean Mahone has been an anchor for the West Virginia defense all season. The senior is second on the team in tackles with 50 total, and has caused two turnovers. One of those coming last week against TCU with a forced fumble.
WVU and Iowa State are both coming off of big wins, and it may come down to which team can get the most stops in the second half.