Opponent Offensive Breakdown: No. 21 Oklahoma State
This Saturday, West Virginia hosts No. 21 Oklahoma State in its final home game of the season.
The Cowboys, though regarded as a flag carrier for the air raid offense, boast the nation's leading rusher in sophomore running back Chuba Hubbard, who averages over 170 yards per game. On the year, Hubbard has rushed for an eye-popping 1,726 yards and 20 touchdowns, presenting an unfamiliar challenge to the West Virginia defense.
Naturally, head coach Mike Gundy and the Cowboys will rely heavily on Hubbard, forcing the Mountaineers to bring more men in the box than it normally does. Against Kansas State, West Virginia defense coordinator Vic Koenning opted for a four-man front in order to slow down a potent Wildcats rushing attack, allowing only 122 yards on the ground.
That change, in fact, worked. On first down rushes, the West Virginia defense limited the Wildcats to a meager 2-yard average, forcing the Wildcats to place its trust in the passing game and not on the ground. Asking Wildcats quarterback Skylar Thompson to beat the Mountaineers with his arm also worked. With a lacking ground game on his shoulders, Thompson threw two interceptions, including a game-sealing pick to Hakeem Bailey in the final minute.
West Virginia is hoping last week's success will translate against Oklahoma State.
QB Spencer Sanders - Sanders exited the game against Kansas with an apparent hand injury. He has since been listed as questionable, but there has been rumor he had surgery on his thumb and will miss the remainder of the season.
WR Tylan Wallace - Wallace tore his ACL earlier in the season. His 903 receiving yards are still a team-high.
Players to keep an eye on:
RB Chuba Hubbard - Hubbard is everything to the Oklahoma State offense and the team's success. Hubbard will earn the lion's share of carries for the Cowboys and will undoubtedly be the main priority for West Virginia's defense. His only weakness is his inability to catch the ball out of the backfield.
QB Dru Brown - Given Sanders injury, Brown will get the nod under center for the Cowboys. On the year, Brown has completed over 70% of his passes for 223 yards and three touchdowns.
WR Dillon Stoner - Since Tylan Wallace went down with a torn ACL, Stoner has seen a noticeable uptick in production. The junior has averaged nearly 175 yards and two touchdowns per game over the last two contests.
West Virginia versus Oklahoma State will kickoff at 12:00 pm Eastern on ESPN2.