This matchup immediately drew our attention due to the great height and size of the Knight wideouts. Baker (6-5) and Martin (6-4) both are over 200 pounds and will attmept to use that to their advantage in battling King (6-0) and Frazier (5-10). With strong-armed Ted Trump at quarterback, look for Rutgers to test WVU's shaky pass defense early and deep. Baker is not listed as a starter this week, but we expect him to see plenty of time.
A sidelight to this battle is how well King will bounce back from the very personal loss to Maryland last week. King is an emotional, intense player who put every single ounce of effort he has into the game, and last week's defeat was a definite blow to him.
We believe he'll bounce back and play well - he has responded to adversity very well over his WVU career, and that's not the type of quality that disappears overnight.
WVU linebacker Ben Collins vs. Rutgers fullback Ray Pilch
Again, a matchup that involves both size and some intangibles. Pilch has a 15-20 pound weight advantage on Collins, who will be his primary target on many Scarlet Knight rushing plays. On the other hand, Collins hasn't let that be a factor this year - he's held his ground and played solidly.
WVU nose tackle Kelvin Dubouse vs. Rutgers center Marty Pysczcymuka
With Ernest Hunter likely out for the year (and don't underestimate the impact of that injury to the WVU defense), Dubouse will suddenly be expected to take more snaps this week as he subs in for David Upchurch, who will likely move down from end to take over the starting duties at nose.
Dubouse has shown that he has the talent to be a solid nose, but he's still scraping off the rust and getting used to the college game after spending a year of inactivity in 2001.
In Pysczcymuka, Dubouse will face solid senior who moved over from the guard position he manned a year ago. If Dubouse struggles, don't be surprised to see end Tim Love at the nose spot for some snaps in relief of Upchurch.
THINGS TO WATCH:
How will WVU's offense scheme against Rutgers linebacker Gary Brackett? The former walkon is Rutgers' best defensive player, and is hoping to wreak the same sort of havoc that Maryland uber-backer E. J. Henderson did a week ago.
Will WVU try to use more option to get to the corners this week? Will they use a fullback more and run more isolation right at Brackett in an attempt to take his pursuit ability out of the picture? Watch the different formations and the plays run out of them this week, and try to keep an eye on how Brackett is adjusted to combat those formations.
Reverses have been a staple of the Rich Rodriguez offense this year -- expect to see a couple more as the Mountaineers try to use Rutgers' defensive flow to their advantage.
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On the flip side, West Virginia still seems to be caught napping way too often by "new" or trick plays by the opposition. Maryland's bootleg and East Carolina's fake punt are but two examples.
We're not looking to lay blame on anyone here, but plays of that type that work are usually the result of a concentration breakdown on the defensive side of the ball. WVU has to improve their focus on every play. They can't take plays off.
We admit, that's easier said than done. It's tough to keep all your attention and concentration when your body is tired and hurting, and things aren't going well. However, it's those "little things" that make the difference between, say, 7-5 and 4-8.