Bits and Bytes: Iowa State

It's the last roundup of 2013, and we bid goodbye to the shortened football season with our final collection of pre-game news and notes.

BlueGoldNews.com Game Scorecard
Sat 11/30 4:00 PM ET

Morgantown, WV

Mountaineer Field at
Milan Puskar Stadium
Record: 4-7 / 2-6

Last Game
Kansas 19-31 L
TV: FoxSports1
Sirius/XM: 117/192/font>
Web: BlueGoldNews.com
Record: 2-9 / 1-7

Last Game
Kansas 34-0 W
Rosters/ Bios
Press Release
Season Stats
2013 Schedule

Series: WVU 1-0

First Meeting: 2012
Last Meeting: 2012
Rosters/Bios
Press Release
Season Stats
2013 Schedule


NOT AN EXCUSE

While coaches are quick to say that injuries aren't an excuse for losses, the fact is that they impact a team's performance, and are a big factor. Having quality backups is important in overcoming injuries, but it's the squads that don't have many of them in the first place that have a greater likelihood of success.

Both West Virginia and Iowa State have been crushed by injuries this year, and what makes it worse is that many of those were concentrated on specific units. WVU's avalanche at linebacker and defensive back has been a season-long storyline, while Iowa State has seen a similar run of terrible luck on its offense. The Cyclones have started ten different linemen this year, and have had a different starting five in nine of their 11 games.


IT'S BEEN 43 YEARS…

…since West Virginia had the same player lead it in both rushing yards and total receptions. This last occurred in 1969, when Bob Gresham rumbled for 1,155 yards on the ground and caught 15 passes from QB Mike Sherwood. Charles Sims has the chance to duplicate that feat this year, as he leads the team in rushing with 946 yards and also is tied for the team lead in receptions with 43. (Freshman Daikiel Shorts has the same number.)

Despite repeated statements from the coaching staff that Sims is its most talented player, his usage rate hasn't reflected that belief. He's touched the ball 209 times this year – an average of only 19 times per game. That number should have been higher, and there's only one more chance to completely cut him loose. If he doesn't see the ball 30 times against Iowa State, that would be a shame.


LAST ONE

Iowa State is the last Big 12 team remaining that does not have a win over West Virginia. Baylor, Kansas and Texas all earned their first-ever wins over the Mountaineers this year.


SHOWING UP

Attendance is a troubling issue for West Virginia, with excuses for not attending games ranging from on-field performance, to weather, to hunting season, to the small state population. However, despite facing all of those same challenges, Iowa State has been doing quite nicely in that regard.

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The Cyclones have set attendance records in each of the past three seasons, topping their previous year's marks in both season ticket sales and total tickets sold. ISU sold out its season ticket allotment this year, as fans gobbled up more than 43,000 of those ducats. Student season tickets sold out almost two months before the season started. It has also seen more than 50,000 people in attendance for 18 consecutive games, including last week's Ice Bowl against Kansas.

In all, ISU averaged 55,361 fans for each game this year, according to its numbers, which puts it over its announced capacity for the season. WVU has not been bad, by comparison, averaging 56,745 in its 60,000 seat venue. It will be interesting to see how both fan bases respond next year, coming off bowl-streak-breaking seasons and disappointing on-field results.


HOT AND COLD

Iowa State set a temperature records in two different home games this year. It established the standard for the warmest game in Jack Trice Stadium (92 degrees vs. Northern Iowa) and the coldest game (8 degrees vs. Kansas).


LITTLE STAR POWER

WVU and ISU combined to earn just four player of the week awards in the Big 12 this year. Running backs Charles Sims (WVU) and Aaron Wimberly tied for the offensive honors on Sept.30, while punter Nick O'Toole (WVU, 9.30) and Jarvis West (ISU, 10/14) nabbed special teams honors.

ON the national scene, WVU holds just two top ten rankings, standing seventh in punting and third in fumbles gained. ISU is similarly down the ccharts, with only a #7 ranking in red zone offense as a top ten performance.


PLAY ‘EM OR SIT ‘EM

West Virginia has played seven true freshmen this season. Iowa State has played just one over the past two years.


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