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Players to Watch: West Virginia

These Guys Could Have a Homecoming to Remember

Oklahoma v Iowa State Photo by David K Purdy/Getty Images

Iowa State

Offense- Pass? I don’t know man. After that Oklahoma game I had this profound moment of clarity where I thought to myself, “Hey, I just think we’re not good on offense”. By ‘pass’ I also don’t want us to do that 50+ times a game because it’s pretty clear we don’t have a good enough passer to warrant that. So, let’s run it more? Nope, it’s been probably our worst running game in the Campbell era. I don’t know where this offense turns to. We can move the ball, sort of, but we seem to fall off at midfield or shoot ourselves in the foot with silly mistakes.

Because I have to make hard decisions, I’m going to nominate Xavier Hutchinson because it will most likely be his last homecoming as an Iowa State Cyclone and hopefully that’ll give the seniors some extra motivation come Saturday.

Defense- Hopefully, it’s a much better performance than last year defensively. For whatever reason, a pretty mediocre West Virginia offense looked like the Kurt Warner and the Greatest Show on Turf against us last year. Heacock has a super special group this year, which makes the offensive shortcomings all the more frustrating.

Someone who isn’t getting enough praise in the press is TJ Tampa who has been putting on a clinic all year and is one of the highest graded pass defenders in the country. Corner is the hardest position to play in football, and I will stand by that. Tampa makes it look easy at times.

West Virginia

Offense- What if I told you JT Daniels was on possibly the greatest high school football team of all time? Well, that was nearly a decade ago, and over two transfers ago. Daniels is still a solid QB but can be accident prone when he tries to do too much. He has 12 touchdowns and 7 interceptions with a 63% completion percentage. This West Virginia team held their own against conference leader TCU and have the firepower to be in any game.

One thing to note, CJ Donaldson, the team’s leading rusher for this Mountaineers team, had surgery and will be out for the season. Someone will have to step up to fill that production.

TCU v West Virginia Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Defense- No one super stands out on this West Virginia defense. Lee Kpogba leads the team in tackles and has two sacks on the season. The defense as a whole has been, not great. They give up 40 points to just about everyone not named Towson and Virginia Tech. This team gave up 40 points to Baylor and still won.

If Iowa State wants to win this game, I think we’d be better off in a low scoring affair, the weather might be the best defense West Virginia has this weekend.