Keys to the Game: WVU needs encore of run game, takeaways

Gold and Blue Nation
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December 25 2021 12:00 am

The Mountaineers proved in their win over TCU they used their bye week to address some of their deficiencies, grabbing a much-needed win. 

Last week, the Mountaineers needed to find consistency on offense and force turnovers on defense and they were able to do both. The assignment is more difficult this week with Iowa State — one of the hottest teams in the conference — coming to Milan Puskar Stadium.

The Cyclones are coming off their biggest win of season, handing Oklahoma State their first loss of the season.

Offensively, the Mountaineers must find a way to continue to run the ball the way they did at TCU as they averaged 5.6 yards a carry. This week, they will be facing the best total defense in the Big 12, led by the Mike Rose, the league’s reigning defensive player of the year, they are the No. 2 defense against the rush and the best against the pass.

Turnovers will always be a key. This showed in Fort Worth, as WVU went the whole game without giving the ball up, while the defense added three takeaways from the Horned Frogs.

The Mountaineer defense will face a difficult challenge in senior quarterback Brock Purdy and junior running back Breece Hall. Purdy has had great success against the ‘Eers and this season he is completing 75 percent of his passes. His offensive line has protected him well also, allowing only eight sacks in seven games, so getting to him will be a challenge. Hall is averaging 117 yards a game and leads the Big 12 in rushing touchdowns with 11 — can the WVU defense corral and slow him down?

Iowa State has won three straight in the series, outscoring the Mountaineers 110-34 in that stretch. A win over the Cyclones would be huge for the Mountaineers, and put their season back on track at 4-4.

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