Saturday, October 31, 2020, Milan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown, West Virginia, noon p.m. ET
Wildcats at Mountaineers Betting Preview: Wildcats (+3.5), Mountaineers (-3.5)
Kansas State Wildcats
The No. 16 Wildcats (4-1, 4-0 Big 12) think special teams are, well, special as they head into Saturday’s game in Morgantown. They have scored 55 touchdowns on kickoff or punt returns since 2005, the most in the FBS for that period.
“Each one of our coaches has an assignment on special teams,” defensive coordinator Van Malone said. “Everyone is involved. I think it’s important that our players see that and recognize the importance of special teams. You get one play to be special, and we’ve had some units go out there and make big plays for our team.”
Phillip Brooks had two first-half punt-return touchdowns in K-State’s 55-14 win over Kansas last week, earning Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week honors. His 189 punt return yards and two touchdowns are school records. He is the first player in Big 12 Conference history to return two punts for touchdowns in the same game.
Brooks has 236 yards on eight punt returns for the season. Last year he had 120 yards on eight returns with a 66-yard runback for a touchdown. Joshua Youngblood averaged 35.9 yards a kickoff return with three touchdowns last year, but has just 54 yards on three runbacks this season.
Special teams could make a difference in the Wildcats’ favor as the offense faces a challenge from West Virginia’s defense. The Wildcats have averaged 367.6 yards a game in total offense but the Mountaineers have limited their opponents to just 261.8 yards a game, best in the Big 12.
West Virginia Mountaineers
The unranked Mountaineers (3-2, 2-2 Big 12) are coming off a disappointing 34-27 loss at Texas Tech, passing for 347 yards but rushing for just 91. They outgained Texas Tech with 438 yards in total offense to the Raiders’ 348.
“It was a game we didn’t finish,” West Virginia coach Neal Brown said. “We got off to a slow start defensively. Offensively, we played one of our better games, but we have to be more consistent. In special teams we showed improvement.”
Jarret Doege was 32 of 50 passing for 347 yards, but Leddie Brown rushed for only 77 on 21 carries, failing to hit the 100-yard mark for just the second time this season. Brown has rushed for 592 yards for the season.
Doege has completed 64.1 percent of his pass attempts for the season for 277.8 yards a game. He has nine touchdown tosses against three interceptions.
Wildcats at Mountaineers Betting Pick for October 31, 2020
Doege passed for 234 yards and three touchdowns as the Mountaineers won last year’s matchup with the Wildcats 24-20 in Manhattan. The Mountaineers rushed for only 85 yards with Brown accounting for 62 on 13 carries. It was West Virginia’s fourth consecutive win in the series.
Wildcats at Mountaineers Betting Pick:
Mountaineers 38, Wildcats 30
Wildcats at Mountaineers Best Bet for October 31, 2020
Both teams like to score with the Mountaineers averaging 32.2 points a game and the Wildcats 35.5. They have similar defensive numbers as well with the Mountaineers holding foes to 21.8 points a game and the Wildcats limiting theirs to 23.8.
Wildcats at Mountaineers Best Bet: OVER 43.5