West Virginia vs. Iowa State prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins the game between the Mountaineers and Cyclones.
West Virginia vs. Iowa State Game Preview
When: Saturday, November 26 – 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, IA
Now that West Virginia has been bounced unceremoniously from the Big 12 race, how will it handle the final two games of the regular season? It’s been a solid year in Morgantown, with increased exposure and notoriety. But when challenged by the league’s two best teams, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, the Mountaineers were downgraded to pretenders in one-sided losses. The chance to regroup begins in Ames. However, Iowa State is no ordinary 3-8 team. The Cyclones actually performed better against the Sooners and Cowboys than the ‘eers did, and they’re playing their best ball of the season for first-year head coach Matt Campbell. Last Saturday, they shelled Texas Tech, 66-10, to win back-to-back games for the first time in almost three years.
What To Know About West Virginia
Against the Sooners and the Cowboys, the Mountaineers performed like the team that had Dana Holgorsen sitting on the hot seat at the end of last season. Against everyone else, they were Top 25-caliber, winning with a pro-style formula of balanced offense and stout D. The defense was shoved off the ball by Oklahoma, which rushed for 316 yards, but that ought to be less of a concern this week at Jack Trice. On a positive note, Justin Crawford delivered one of the best games ever for a West Virginia back, rushing for 331 yards on only 24 carries. He’ll need to be prolific again this week to soften an Iowa State pass defense that just got done keeping Patrick Mahomes in check.
What to Know About Iowa State
The Cyclones started slowly this year, losing to Northern Iowa and getting crushed by Iowa and TCU. But they’ve been evolving ever since, a credit to Campbell and his staff of assistants. First, there were the moral victories, and now there are the tangible ones, such as last week’s record-setting demolition of the Red Raiders. Iowa State is clicking, and not just on one side of the ball. Coordinator Tom Manning is deftly employing the skills of his eclectic quarterbacks, Jacob Park and Joel Lanning. And the D is turning the corner around the likes of Brian Peavy, Jomal Wiltz and Kamari Cotton-Moya.
Offense: Push. West Virginia had the edge in the first half of the year, but Iowa State has caught up with its improved and diverse quarterback play.
Defense: West Virginia. The Cyclones were superior last week, but the Mountaineers have been better over the long haul, led by defensive end Noble Nwachukwu and cornerback Rasul Douglas.
Special Teams: Iowa State. The Mountaineers have struggled on special teams, while placekicker Cole Netten and punter Colin Downing have helped solidify the Cyclone unit.
Coaching: Iowa State. Campbell has already proven himself at Toledo, and he’s about to do the same exact thing with the Cyclones.
Intangibles: Iowa State. The Cyclones are peaking as the regular season comes to a close, while the Mountaineers begin life without the lure of a conference championship.
Matchup To Watch
Lanning and Park vs. West Virginia LBs Al-Rasheed Benton and Justin Arndt
Manning’s use of his quarterbacks has been brilliant. Just last week, Lanning rushed for 171 yards and five scores, while Park completed 14-of-18 for 285 yards, two touchdowns and no picks. Benton and Arndt will have to be agile on their feet, because the run-pass option will be at play throughout the day.
West Virginia vs. Iowa State Betting Odds
Spread: West Virginia -7.5
Over/Under: No line as of post
West Virginia vs. Iowa State Prediction
This is a different Cyclone team than the one that started the season 0-3. And it’s out to prove it again this weekend. Iowa State and West Virginia are moving in different directions, a trend that’ll continue in Ames. The Cyclones will have success on the ground with Lanning and backs Mike Warren and David Montgomery, while the defense jumps routes on Skyler Howard to render the Mountaineers one-dimensional on offense. Iowa State is motivated to carry a head of steam—and a winning streak—into the offseason.
West Virginia vs. Iowa State Score Prediction: Iowa State 31, West Virginia 27