The Mountaineers will have to pull off three-straight wins to become bowl eligible with the season winding down. Kansas State, which is also welcoming a first-year head coach in Chris Klieman, was once thought of as an underdog in the Big 12.
The Wildcats are now looking to bounce back after a 27-24 loss last Saturday in Austin following three straight wins including an upset victory over the No. 5 Oklahoma Sooners.
Kansas State is just 1-3 in games where they are held under 30 points for an offense that averages 32.3 points per game, with their lone win coming against TCU.
Kansas State may be the one exception in the Big 12 as a run-first offense. The Wildcats have run the ball a whopping 387 times as opposed to 210 pass attempts. Another eye-popping statistic is the 25 touchdowns that have come on the ground compared to just nine through the air for the Skylar Thompson led offense.
Thompson is a very well balanced dual-threat quarterback. The junior has 75 carries for 331 yards and 10 touchdowns this season. He is just 124 for 204 while totaling 1,589 yards and nine touchdowns when throwing the football.
The Wildcats feature a deadly combination with a stable of running backs that carry the football behind a powerful offensive line.
Leading the way on the ground is James Gilbert who has 100 rushing attempts for 558 yards and five touchdowns. Jordon Brown is next in line with 46 carries for 241 yards and three touchdowns. Both Gilbert and Brown are 200-pound backs that are low to the ground and get downhill fast.
Tyler Burns has been handed the ball 26 times this season and has amassed 148 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Joe Ervin is the least-used running back of the rotation, but still has 23 rushes for 95 yards and a touchdown.
Dalton Schoen is the leading receiver for the Wildcats. Schoen already has 30 receptions this year after hauling in 32 receptions last season. Although he only has 30 grabs, Schoen averages 15.2 yards on his receptions totaling 457 yards to go along with three touchdowns.
Redshirt freshman Malik Knowles has been a pleasant surprise for the Wildcats this season. The 6-foot-2 speedster has only hauled in 19 balls, but has averaged 17.1 yards per catch for 325 receiving yards. He's coming off of a 94-yard game against Texas where he caught three passes and a touchdown.
The Mountaineer defense has 26 sacks on the year, and will look to make a difference against an offensive unit that has been sacked just 17 times. Although Thompson has only thrown one interception, the Wildcats have struggled to hold onto the football. They have fumbled the ball 15 times and have fallen back on it in seven of those occurrences.
It's worth noting that the Wildcats have produced points on 38 out of their 40 red-zone trips this year, with 30 of those trips resulting in touchdowns.
West Virginia will most likely welcome back linebacker Josh Chandler to the field this Saturday after he missed the last two games. Chandler provides strength and quickness in the middle of the field that will surely help slow down the rushing attack.