Know Your Opponent: K-State defense faces no challenge in Mountaineer offense

K-State head coach Chris Klieman runs out onto the field with the rest of the team before the foottball game against TCU at Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Oct. 19, 2019. The Wildcats took the Horned Frogs 24-17. (Logan Wassall | Collegian Media Group)

Kansas State will get its second taste of the three other Big 12 schools with new coaches when they host West Virginia Saturday in Manhattan.

West Virginia’s new coach, Neal Brown, replaces Dana Holgersen who is now the head coach at Houston.

Brown and Holgersen are very similar in coaching pedigree. Both played wide receiver for Hal Mumme and Mike Leach and spent their formative coaching seasons alongside other members of the Mumme/Leach Air Raid coaching tree.

Brown was the offensive coordinator under Leach’s replacement at Texas Tech, Tommy Tuberville, and he ran an offense that focused on being as fast as possible. They tried to snap the football within eight seconds of the end of the preceding play.

West Virginia’s offensive coordinator, Matt Moore, is another Mumme/Leach disciple by the name of Matt Moore. Moore played for Mumme, Leach and Holgersen at Valdosta State. He also coached offensive line under Leach at Texas Tech.

The offense looks like what you might expect given that pedigree. They like to run up to the ball, diagnose the defense and then attack it.

They are a little less reliant on the pass game as one might expect when looking at raw snap numbers, and they run the play clock a lot more than West Virginia has in the past. I would not quite call it air raid.

They have the worst offense in the Big 12 by total yards, points per game and rushing yards. They only average 75 rushing yards per game. Their offense sits in the middle of the Big 12 in passing yards per game.

The problem on offense is a lack of talent. Redshirt junior quarterback Austin Kendall is one of the worst starting quarterbacks in the conference based on efficiency and yards per game. He does not get much support from the running back room either. No Mountaineer appears in the top 10 in the Big 12 in rushing yards per game.

On the defensive side of the ball, they run a lot of 4-3. They are statistically a very middling defense in the Big 12. They give up the sixth-most yards per game, but are second-to-last in points per game allowed.

The good news for K-State fans is that West Virginia really struggles to stop the run game. They rank ninth in the conference — above only Kansas — in rushing yards allowed per game.

PREDICTION: K-State comes out a little extra motivated after the Texas loss. Once they settle into the game, West Virginia can’t stop the run game. K-State wins 31-24.

Hi! I'm Nathan Enserro, a graduate student from Olathe, Kansas, working on a Masters in Mass Communication. I graduated in spring 2020 with a Bachelor's of Science in strategic communications from K-State. This is my fourth year covering K-State sports for the Collegian.