West Virginia football is coming off its first win in the last four games. Now, it will host the No. 19 Kansas State Wildcats on Saturday as the chase for bowl eligibility continues.
The Mountaineers broke through for their fourth victory of the season on Nov. 12, defeating the Oklahoma Sooners on a game-winning field goal by kicker Casey Legg and a stellar performance from backup quarterback Garrett Greene.
This is the first time West Virginia has defeated the Sooners since joining the Big 12 in 2012, with the only prior victory coming in the 2008 Fiesta Bowl.
Greene came in during the second quarter for starter JT Daniels and did not relinquish the spot for the rest of the game. With a big performance on the ground, recording 119 rushing yards and two touchdowns, Greene led the Mountaineers to a win at home.
West Virginia now is only two wins away from bowl eligibility, but it will need to win out against Kansas State at home and against Oklahoma State on the road to have a chance at a bowl game, currently with a 4-6 record.
However, a matchup with the Wildcats is no easy task. The team defeated the defending Big 12 champion Baylor Bears in dominating fashion, 31-3. Kansas State finished with over 100 more total yards than the Bears and also forced two turnovers from quarterback Blake Shapen in the win.
The Wildcats plan to combine the running and passing attack in their offensive scheme weekly, but injuries at quarterback and on defense have hurt the team’s chances in a few close conference matchups.
Now, on a somewhat upward trend, the ranked Wildcats will travel to Morgantown to face off against West Virginia’s recent momentum and it will be up to the WVU defense to slow down a dynamic offensive scheme that generates 30.6 points per game.
Kickoff from Milan Puskar Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 19 is set for 2 p.m. and streaming will be available on ESPN+.
Now, here are some players to watch for Saturday’s matchup.
Garrett Greene, WVU Quarterback
After a huge performance, while replacing Daniels against the Sooners, backup quarterback Garrett Greene has found a place in the WVU offense, winning over the fanbase with his electric playstyle and dual-threat ability.
While running for 119 yards and two scores, Greene also added in 138 yards and one more touchdown through the air, proving his arm talent and running ability.
WVU may need to slightly change its scheme to accommodate Greene's skill set, but it should be his offense to run for the rest of the season.
Casey Legg, WVU Kicker
With his first and now second game-winning kick of his career both coming this season, Casey Legg proved that he is clutch against Oklahoma. He sealed West Virginia’s fourth win of the season and extended its chase for the team’s third-straight bowl appearance.
Legg has been consistent all year — not just against OU. He’s gone a perfect 13-for-13 on field goal attempts this season, only missing one extra point with 33-for-34 kicking after touchdowns.
Legg has been a consistent scorer for the Mountaineers once they cross midfield. For the WVU offense, it’s crucial to have him leading your special teams.
Deuce Vaughn, Kansas State Running Back
Beginning the season as a Heisman Trophy candidate, Deuce Vaughn hasn’t quite lived up to those expectations. But he is still one of the country’s premier running backs with speed, elusiveness and receiving talent that no other tailback has in the Big 12.
Vaughn leads the Wildcats in rushing yardage with 1081 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. He also added on another 38 receptions, 266 yards and three touchdowns through the air, making him the most versatile running back that WVU has faced.
The West Virginia defense has historically performed decently against Vaughn, but it will need to stifle him in all three phases of the game on Saturday.
Will Howard, Kansas State Quarterback
Starting quarterback Adrian Martinez is expected to be out for four to six weeks after an injury in the Wildcats’ last matchup against Baylor. The tenured backup Will Howard is slated to start the rest of the season for Kansas State.
Howard originally took over for Martinez against TCU on Oct. 22 due to injury and will now be back in the starting spot after sitting for a game and a half as the backup signal-caller.
Howard has been very up and down in the three games he’s played, with a 63% completion percentage, 771 passing yards and nine touchdowns to only one interception. West Virginia will need to force inefficient play from Howard and create pressure to slow down one of the nation’s best-balanced offenses, even with a backup quarterback.