When No. 12 Kansas State comes to town Thursday night, the Wildcats will be the fifth top-15 team West Virginia has faced this season.

However, unlike Alabama, Oklahoma, Baylor and TCU, Kansas State will be the most fundamentally sound team the Mountaineers have faced to this point.

Under longtime head coach Bill Snyder, the Wildcats do two things extremely well: They take care of the football and they don’t commit many penalties. Snyder’s squad ranks No. 5 in the nation in turnovers lost and No. 2 in fewest penalties.

On the other end of the spectrum, West Virginia is No. 107 in turnovers lost and No. 78 in fewest penalties.

“They’re just really efficient,” said West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen. “They don’t turn the ball over. They don’t do anything to hurt themselves. They don’t have many negative plays.”

“They do a good job of taking care of the ball,” said defensive coordinator Tony Gibson. “We have to do a better job of trying to create turnovers (and) stripping the ball out. In order to do that you have to get all 11 guys to the football.”

While scoring a lot of points and scoring quickly has become the norm in the Big 12, Kansas State prefers to keep the ball in its possession for as long as it can. Despite owning the No. 19 scoring offense, the Wildcats are No. 22 in time of possession, averaging 32 minutes of possession per game.

West Virginia defensive coordinator Tony Gibson agreed there isn’t a whole lot in Kansas State’s offense that can be exploited due to being fundamentally sound at nearly every position. Gibson said he expects the Wildcats to use a lot of tight end sets Thursday and try to wear down the Mountaineers’ defense.

“(Sophomore fullback Glenn) Gronkowski (is) in there a bunch. And they use tight end sets. So I’m sure that’s going to be their recipe for us is to come in and try to get as big as they can get and try to pound us a little bit,” he said.

What also makes Kansas State unique is the fact that it has consistently been successful over the past several years without recruiting elite talent. Snyder is one of the best coaches in the nation when it comes to taking underappreciated recruits out of high school and developing them.

“It’s amazing. He’s the most respected guy in our profession. He does it the right way,” Holgorsen said of Snyder. “It’s developing a culture of good family values. Program guys work hard and develop depth. It means a lot to him. They do the right things, and play the right way. They don’t beat themselves down.

“I can go on and on.”

West Virginia will certainly get a boost from its home crowd Thursday night inside Milan Puskar Stadium, but the Mountaineers must play up to Kansas State’s level of not turning the ball over and not committing penalties in order to have a chance to win.

“(Kansas State is) going to be physical and they’re well-coached, work hard, blue-collar guys that are extremely productive, extremely efficient and extremely sound with what they do,” Holgorsen said.