Holgorsen: Kansas State, WVU solid programs
MORGANTOWN – For the first time this season West Virginia (3-4, 1-3 Big 12) will take on a conference foe that is not undefeated or ranked among the Top 25 programs in the country when it faces Kansas State University (2-4, 0-3 Big 12) at 3:45 p.m. today at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kansas.
“If you remember last year when I was talking about Kansas State, they were top two or three in the country at that point in time,” WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen said. “They are 2-4 at this point this year. A lot of things I say about them this year is going to be the same things I said about them last year.”
One big difference between this year’s Wildcats and the ones that rolled into Morgantown a year ago and laid a 55-14 whipping on the players in old gold and blue is they will not be led by a Heisman trophy hopeful quarterback.
Collin Klein was responsible for seven touchdowns in last year’s contest at Milan Puskar Stadium, rushing for four and passing for three as KSU ended any hopes of the Mountaineers playing for a Big 12 title in their first season in the Big 12 Conference.
“It starts with (KSU head coach) Bill Snyder and the job he has done as a head coach and the program he has built over his 22 years he has been there,” Holgorsen continued. “I know he was gone for a few years, but he got it right back on track with their record and what it has been over the last couple of years.
“He is a tremendous football coach that has done a lot of things for our profession. He does a lot of things for his kids, like building character, being a disciplined football team on all sides of the ball and getting kids to play with tremendous effort.”
The Wildcats are still searching for their first conference win of the season after dropping a 35-25 setback to Baylor two weekends ago while West Virginia will be looking to play a complete four quarters after failing to hold an 11-point lead in a 37-27 loss to No. 10 Texas Tech.
“They are (better than their record),” Holgorsen continued. “I think we are better than our record. Look at their three previous games. The first game against North Dakota State happens. North Dakota State is a good football team.
“We are all aware of that. They are a good football team. They are searching – no one wants to hear an excuse about not winning the game because of the level of competition, whether it is at West Virginia or Kansas State – nobody wants to hear that you are not winning a game because of experience. Nobody wants to hear those excuses. Why not get better and try to go win.”
WVU will turn to Florida State transfer Clint Trickett to try and keep the Mountaineers from slipping closer to the cellar in the Big 12 while KSU will counter with a pair of signal-callers -Daniel Sams and Jake Waters.
Trickett is coming off his best performance of the year. The junior completed 37-of-43 attempts for 254 yards and a touchdown in the 10-point loss to Texas Tech.
KSU will counter with the passing abilities of Waters, who has completed 76-of-122 attempts for 1,036 yards and four touchdowns, and the running attributes of Sams, who leads the team with 522 yards and seven touchdowns on 86 carries.
Defensively, both teams have struggled for any consistency.
KSU is ranked No. 7 in league play, giving up 33 points per contest, while WVU is right behind with an average of 36.8 ppg.
The Wildcats are surrendering 411.0 total yards (140.3 rushing, 270.7 passing) while the Mountaineers are giving up 578.2 total yards (253.5 rushing, 324.8 passing).
“It will be a challenge for us,” said Holgorsen. “I am still disappointed in the loss last week. I thought it was a game that we could have won. We have to bounce back from it and move forward.
“There are never going to be any easy games. Welcome to the Big 12 – this is what we signed up for, and we have to play a tough opponent on the road (this weekend).”