MORGANTOWN, W. Va. — West Virginia and Iowa State are adept at winning in each other’s home stadiums.
The Mountaineers won each of its first three trips to Jack Trice Stadium. The Cyclones have won two of their five journeys to Milan Puskar Stadium.
Winning in Jack Trice Stadium is no easy task. Matt Campbell’s team is 26-11 at home since the start of the 2017 season. The Cyclones’ home venue once built a reputation as a destination for upsets over ranked teams.
“That’s one of the toughest venues in the conference to play [in],” WVU head coach Neal Brown said Tuesday. “If you have been there, you understand that. If you haven’t, it’s one of the most passionate fan bases – they’re right on top of you. The students do a really good job, and it’s a tough place to play.”
A ranked team won’t be traveling to Ames, Iowa, this weekend. Instead, it’ll be the ninth-place team in the Big 12, West Virginia (3-5, 1-4 Big 12), facing the last-place team in the conference, Iowa State (3-5, 0-5 Big 12). ISU has yet to win a Big 12 game this year and is winless in each of its last five games overall, including three games at home.
Even though Iowa State is in the basement of the Big 12, West Virginia knows not to take the hostile environment for granted.
“The thing that Ames does a really good job of, is their students are there, and they’re right behind the bench. They’re vocal,” Brown said. “I thought Ames was a really hard place to play when I was a coordinator in the league, back in ’10, ’11, and ’12. … Their fans always come, regardless of what their record is, or how the game’s going. They’re really loud [and] into it. And the acoustics of the stadium are very similar to ours.”
West Virginia has won on the road once this season, but Brown admitted that neither of the last two road contests has been up to the team’s standards.
In five trips to Ames, the Mountaineers have won three times by an average of 16.67 points per win. But in their two most-recent trips to Jack Trice Stadium, WVU has come up short by an average of 26 points per loss.
Each of the last three meetings in Ames between the two programs have been decided by at least three touchdowns, with two being decided by at least 30 points.
Not only can Iowa State’s fans be a factor, but so too can the weather in Iowa. Forecasts call for rain throughout the game, which kicks off on a natural grass playing surface at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday afternoon.