OSU-West Virginia: Key Matchups & Predictions

It's the first trip for the Cowboys to Morgantown, W.Va., for football, and they will get to do it in a positive situation as West Virginia is down some. The Mountaineers don't have Geno Smith or Tavon Austin, and with the loss last week and the early start time maybe there won't be quite as few crazy, wild, even liquid inspired fans in the stands. It will be nuts, just not as nuts.

1. OSU wide receiver Tracy Moore
vs. WVU Cornerbacks Travis Bell and Ishmael Banks
An open or bye week is a perfect time to self scout and see if you are maximizing all of your personnel and schemes on offense or defense. On the offensive side, offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich has had the Cowboys running 110 times and throwing passes on 112 plays, pretty good balance. Believe me the tendencies are broken down in much more complex fashion than that.

Fourteen different players have caught passes but roughly 60 percent of the passes have been completed to seven of the receivers. Those numbers aren't bad, but the fact that senior Tracy Moore comes in fifth on that list has to rate as at least a slight surprise.

Moore is a playmaker capable of throwing out big numbers in catches, yards and touchdowns. It would be nice to see Moore climb a little higher on that list and we'll see if that happens on Saturday.

By the way, the double-digit pass catchers so far are Josh Stewart, Jhajuan Seales and Charlie Moore. Bell (6-1, 183) and Banks (6-0, 182) are good size but Moore can be a beast at 6-2, 215 pounds. It's just like Moore to jump in and have a big game on the road. He's done it before (last season at Arizona and 2011 at Missouri).
Advantage: Solid to OSU and Tracy Moore

2. OSU right offensive line Daniel Koenig and Chris Grisbhy
vs. WVU defensive tackle Will Clarke
No promises but it's entirely possible that Daniel Koenig could be back in the lineup at right tackle. If he is, there is a good chance that Chris Grisbhy moves inside to the right guard position. Grisbhy and the combination of Travis Cross and Paul Lewis have done well in the last two games. Cross and Grisbhy played a lot at guard in the Mississippi State game.

Like many teams, Oklahoma State likes to run to the right side, look for cut backs, and make lots of yards on the ground. West Virginia has given up lots of yards on the ground. Oklahoma rushed for 316 yards against West Virginia in the second game of the season in Norman. The Cowboys may hope for similar results and the offensive line will play a huge role.

Will Clarke is coming off what head coach Dana Holgorsen said was one of his better games even in a 37-0 loss. Koenig will help, but with him or without him expect Oklahoma State to have success running the football.
Advantage: Solid to OSU right offensive line, and Koenig and Grisbhy

3. OSU punter Kip Smith vs. WVU punter Nick O'Toole
I'm not trying to imply that this game will come down to punting. It should not, but whenever both teams have punters that can flip the field for their defense then it becomes a good matchup to examine.

O'Toole is averaging 44.9 yards per punt and Kip Smith is averaging 40.2 yards. O'Toole has the lead but Smith has had so many punts so far that have been out of the plus end of the field making for a short target. Both are very good at stopping the ball inside the 20-yard line. In fact, take a look as both in those situations drop the ball on the tip and have that technique in their repertoire.
Advantage: Slight to WVU and O'Toole

Oklahoma State vs. West Virginia Prediction
No. 11 Oklahoma State 44, West Virginia 13

The Cowboys are definitely not banking on six turnovers, although the averages say that WVU will turn it over some. Expect J.W. Walsh to bounce back throwing the ball and have a good overall game, including some QB run. That will open up some of the all phases in the offense. I think the Union High School guys, Jeremy Smith and Tracy Moore, will break out a little bit. Defensively, Glenn Spencer has his unit playing with a humble, team-first attitude and that mental direction will pay dividends on Saturday.

Big 12 Predictions
This Week
Tulsa 27, Iowa State 21
Rubber match in this series that saw the two teams split the opener and bowl game last season, and it is tough to like Iowa State on the road here.

No. 11 Oklahoma State 44, West Virginia 13
This is not a good "get well" situation for the Mountaineers as Oklahoma State is still hungry.

TCU 28, SMU 17
Frogs lost Iron Skillet Game two years ago in Fort Worth, but not this time.

No. 12 Oklahoma 26, No. 22 Notre Dame 21
Sooners have more offense and a defense that is close, and the Big 12 needs a marquee win coming out of September.

Last Week - Straight up: 4-1; Against the spread: 1-3
For the Season - Straight Uup 24-7; Against the Sspread: 10-11

Kansas 24, Louisiana Tech 21
Actual Score: Kansas 13, Louisiana Tech 10

West Virginia 31, Maryland 21 (@ Baltimore)
Actual Score: Maryland 37, West Virginia 0 @#19-Baylor 45 Louisiana-Monroe 17 Actual Score: Baylor 70 Louisiana-Monroe 7

Texas Tech 41, Texas State 6
Actual Score: Texas Tech 33, Texas State 7

Texas 23, Kansas State 20
Actual Score: Texas 31, Kansas State 21

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