No. 22 West Virginia Mountaineers (5-2 SU, 4-3 ATS) vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (5-2 SU, 3-4 ATS)
College Football Week 9
Date and Time: Saturday October 25th, 2014. 3:30PM EST
Where: Boone Pickens Stadium Stillwater, O.K.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: WVU +3/OKST -3
Over/Under Total: TBA
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A big matchup awaits in Stillwater this week when the no. 22 West Virginia Mountaineers go into Boone Pickens Stadium for a showdown with the Oklahoma State Cowboys. The visiting Mountaineers moved back into the top 25 in the polls last week with a big upset victory over no. 4 Baylor 41-27. Meanwhile the Cowboys took a big step back in a blowout loss to TCU 42-9 and fell from 15th to outside the top 25 in the polls. Still at 3-1 in conference play, both teams are very much alive in the Big 12 Championship which puts some big implications on this Saturdays meeting as both schools try to stay in the thick of the Big 12 title hunt.
Oddly enough the Mountaineers will be slight underdogs when they enter Stillwater this Saturday as odds makers have the Cowboys currently listed as 3 point favorites. Still, the Mountaineers offense and quarterback Clint Trickett have been absolutely impressive in recent weeks. In fact, West Virginia has scored at least 33 points in each game since their opening loss to Alabama and they are poised to put a lot of pressure on a shaky Oklahoma State defense again this Saturday.
The Mountaineers offense is loaded with talent that will present some mismatch concerns for defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer who is considered one of the best in the business. West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett has completed 68% passing for 2,525 yards with 15 touchdowns and just 5 picks. One of Tricketts favorite targets is the enormous threat of wide receiver Kevin White. The senior wide out leads the nation with 1,020 receiving yards through the first 7 games of the season and is in route to be among the Biletnikoff Award finalists. Smith has posted 7 straight games of 100 yards plus receiving which has only been accomplished twice in the last 15 years of college football by Justin Blackmon (2010) and Michael Crabtree (2007) who both went on to win the Biletnikoff Award.
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One of the big questions that Oklahoma State faces this week is if they can come up with a game plan to slow down Smith and force Trickett into uncomfortable passing situations. Last week TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin shredded the Cowboys defense to throw for 410 yards with 3 touchdowns and a pick in the Horned Frogs blowout victory. The Cowboys defense gave up 676 total yards to TCU in the loss while only gaining 258 on offense. West Virginias offense is designed to attack through the air and they currently own the nations 3rd best passing offense that is averaging 371 yards per game. Those tangibles sound like a bad matchup for a defense that has been struggling to stop the pass ranking 118th in the FBS giving up 288 yards per game.
For Oklahoma State to contend this Saturday, the Cowboys offense is going to have to stay on the field. Running back Desmond Roland needs to get things going on the ground and the team needs to keep quarterback Daxx Garman in comfortable situations. Garman has struggled with inconsistency this season completing just 55% passing for 1,493 yards with 10 scores and 7 picks. Therefore the offense needs to keep their quarterback in short yardage situations to keep his feet under him. The best way to make those things happen is to focus on the ground game and get speedster Tyreek Hill the ball in space for potential big plays. Whether the Cowboys can capitalize on those big play opportunities will likely decide the way this game unfolds.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Oklahoma State typically plays very well inside Boone Pickens Stadium which is the main factor that has the Cowboys as slight favorites this weekend. Oklahoma State has covered the mark in 13 of their last 17 home games. However, I think they are a bit over valued this week just for the home factor. The Mountaineers are a solid football team and I just do not how this Cowboys defense is going to slow down Clint Trickett and company. Take West Virginia +3!