Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/14/13
The Kansas Jayhawks have not won a Big 12 conference game since 2010. The West Virginia Mountaineers will look for their fifth victory of the season when they travel to play the Kansas Jayhawks on Saturday. The game begins at Noon and will be televised by Fox Sports Network. The Mountaineers (4-6) come into the game as a touchdown favorite. This will be West Virginia’s first ever trip to Lawrence, Kansas. The Mountaineers are 2-0 all-time against the Jayhawks, including last year’s 59-10 victory. West Virginia is facing a must win situation in order to continue their bowl streak, which currently stands at 11 straight. They need to beat Kansas (2-7) this week and Iowa State (1-8) in the final game of the season to reach a 6-6 record, which would make them bowl eligible. Kansas has lost 27 conference games in a row, the team’s last win against a Big 12 opponent was all the way back on Nov. 6, 2010 against Colorado. The Jayhawks lost last week 42-6 at Oklahoma State. West Virginia on the other hand has played in two consecutive overtime games. They won at TCU 30-27 and lost at home to Texas last week 47-40. In the Texas loss, the Mountaineers turned the ball over five times, the majority of which led to easy Longhorn scores. Quarterback Paul Millard replaced Clint Trickett after he was knocked out of the game last week. Millard went on to complete 16-of-32 passes for 259 yards and a touchdown. He turned the ball over four times (two fumbles, two interceptions). The Texas performance marked the third time this season the Mountaineers have reached 40 points, which may be an indication that the offense is at least slightly improving. WVU’s defense played well in the first-half against Texas, but worsened as the game went on. After holding the Horns to 16 points and 123 yards in the first-half, the Mountaineers gave up 31 points and 312 yards after half-time. This season the Mountaineers are tied for first in the Big 12 conference and sixth in the country in turnovers gained. The Kansas offense is ranked 117th in the nation (295.1 ypg) and has not scored more than 20 points since their season-opening win over FCS school South Dakota. This should certainly give a boost to the Mountaineers defensive statistics. Kansas running back James Sims Kansas starting quarterback Jake Heaps, who is closing in on 5,000 career passing yards, completed only 4-of-8 attempts for 56 yards and an interception last week against Oklahoma State. The main Kansas threat the Mountaineer defense must contain is Jayhawk running back James Sims, who now has 703 yards and four touchdowns on the season. Backup quarterback, freshman Montell Cozart, will also see playing time for Kansas. Cozart is more of a running threat than Heaps and makes the Jayhawks more dynamic. West Virginia has about 15 injured players on defense, including 10 who are out for the season according to defensive coordinator Keith Patterson. Jared Barber, who is tied for the team lead with 71 tackles will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury, and Sophomore safety K.J. Dillon is also done for the year after being hospitalized with severe dehydration. Due to the concussion West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett sustained against Texas, it’s still up in the air as to who will start under center for the Mountaineers, but expect WVU to be highly motivated with a bowl appearance on the line.
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