Here is everything you need to know in our Oklahoma State vs. West Virginia preview and prediction!
2:30 pm CT | Saturday, November 17th, 2018 | Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, Oklahoma
TV: ABC (Sean McDonough, Todd Blackledge, and Holly Rowe)
Local Radio Oklahoma State: Cowboy Radio Network (Dave Hunziker, Dave Holcomb, and Robert Allen)
Local Radio West Virginia: West Virginia Radio Network (Tony Caridi, Dwight Wallace, and Jed Drenning)
National Radio: Compass Media: (Gregg Daniels and dale Hellestrae)
Internet Radio: http://okla.st/osutunein
Satellite Radio: Sirius 108, XM 199, Internet 953
Quarterback Will Grier
Yes, choosing Grier as a key player is the easy way out but it’s also the truth. West Virginia goes as Grier goes. The one game he struggled in, against Iowa State, the ‘Neers caught their only loss. Oklahoma State doesn’t play defense anywhere close to the level that the Cyclones do but they are good at pressuring quarterbacks which can lead to mistakes. Grier is a Heisman candidate for a reason though, and he should be able to thrive against the Cowboy front. If he manages the game he should have another 300+ yard game with multiple touchdowns easily. He’s a big time quarterback with an NFL arm and he should be bale to show all that off on Saturday.
Linebacker David Long
David Long might be the best linebacker in the Big 12 and has played that way all season. His opponent this week has had it’s ups and downs offensively but when they get moving they can put up points in a hurry. And I mean that in how fast the offense moves once it gets comfortable, sometimes not even letting the defense get set before they snap the ball. Long’s ability to recognize the plays and communicate coverages to the rest of the defense fast will be imperative to the success of his group. Oklahoma State has great backs and receivers but has an average offensive line and a hot and cold quarterback. If the defense, led by Long, can pitch a shoutout early and let the offense roll up points against a shaky OSU defense the rout could be on early.
Cornerbacks AJ Green and Rodarius Williams
In the upset win against Texas a few weeks against Green and Williams played fantastic, holding the Longhorns big receivers Johnson and Humphrey to 9 catches and 134 yards combined along with zero touchdowns. The next two games they didn’t fare so well. Green lost all discipline in the game against Baylor, getting flagged for multiple pass inference and face mask calls which contributed a lot to the loss. Both got torched all game in Bedlam but the be perfectly fair the Sooners torch everyone with their army of pass catchers and Kyler Murray tossing the pigskin. The bad news for Green and Williams? The Mountaineers actually put up more yards through the air than Oklahoma does. The Cowboys need their defensive back tandem to play strong on the outside and get back to the level they played against Texas to have any hope of slowing down Will Grier and David Sills.
Running Back Chuba Hubbard
I’ve mentioned Hubbard a few times as a key player for theweek but it was always as a sidekick to Justice Hill. After Hill went down with injury after just five touches against Oklahoma Hubbard stepped up as the main back. He answered the call with 104 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carried and also added 49 yards on five catches. I’m not advocating for Hubbard to take touch’s away from a healthy Hill, that would be a terrible idea. But after showing what he can do his abilities will have to be respected a lot by defenses when Oklahoma State runs the two-back sets that they’ve used so much the second half of season. Putting Hill and Hubbard in the backfield together as much as possible should help to open things up for the offense.
Do you like receivers? If you do this game is for you! David Sills of WVU and Tylan Wallace of OSU were both named Biletnikoff Award Semifinalists earlier this week. Sills has been on of the best receivers in the nation the last few years and is a touchdown machine, catching 12 of them so far on only 49 receptions, or almost one for every four catches. Wallace burst on the scene this season posting 1282 yards and nine touchdowns on 68 catches after only having 118 yards on seven catches as a freshmen last year.
More than once since joining the Big 12 the Mountaineers have had lofty expectations going into the season just to fade down the stretch. Besides the hiccup against a solid Iowa State squad WVU has been solid. They are a better team than Oklahoma State across the board but under Dana Holgorsen they are only 2-4 against the Cowboys including a loss last year when Grier threw four interceptions. Can the Mountaineers buck the tend of playing poor against OSU or will they get caught looking forward to the showdown with the Sooners next week?
Oklahoma State is having a Jekyll and Hyde season, sometimes looking like one of the worst teams in the Big 12 just to look like one of the best teams in the Big 12 the next week. The good news for the orange clad fans is that the team’s best games have come against the ranked opponents they’ve played. They beat then number 19 Boise State in the most complete game they’ve had all year, knocked off then number 6 Texas, and played number 6 Oklahoma to the wire in Norman. If they can once again get up for a big game the could pull another big upset and throw the Big 12 rankings for a big loop.
West Virginia 41, Oklahoma State 38
West Virginia hasn’t played well against Oklahoma State since joining the conference but I expect them to win this game. Grier will be the best quarterback on the field by a mile which gives an otherwise equal set of receivers a Mountaineer edge. Oklahoma State has better running backs but defensively WVU is more than a few steps better. West Virginia also has much more to lose, still playing for both a Big 12 Championship Game berth and a spot in the playoffs. That being said Stillwater can be a difficult place to play, especially after dark which it should be sometime in the third quarter. The Mountaineers won’t be as sharp as the should be after a blow out win last week and the possible Big 12 Championship Game Part One coming up the day after Thanksgiving. I think the Cowboys will put up a good fight, hanging around thanks to a few WVU stumbles, but ultimately fall in a close one setting up a huge showdown in Morgantown on Black Friday.
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