The Iowa State Cyclones have had a fun time playing the role of upset city this season. They’ve already knocked off two top teams, Oklahoma and TCU, and now have their sights on West Virginia on the road. Both of their wins threw a wrench directly into the college football playoff, with Oklahoma getting bumped out of the playoff for the time being, and the same thing happening to TCU last week. The Cyclones were fortunate enough to get a creampuff opponent the following week after beating Oklahoma. They had the Kansas Jayhawks on deck, a nice team to kill a hangover with. Iowa State just had to show up and breathe to win 45-0. Such a bad decade for Kansas football, who are nothing but a basketball school by this point.
With a couple of wins over top-10 teams, Iowa State are no longer the hunters, they’ve put a bullseye on their backs now. I cannot foresee anyone taking them too lightly. It’s hard to believe that they actually have two losses on their resume. Early in September they lost a wild one to Iowa, 44-41, in overtime. They also have a 17-7 loss against Texas. Take away one of those losses, and Iowa State would be up there in the rankings. As it is, they’re 15th and can only hope for a New Year’s Six Bowl. That would be an excellent accomplishment for a team who weren’t even registered on most radars. Even if they win-out, two losses are too much to overcome.
The Iowa State defense was able to boggle up TCU quarterback Kenny Hill throughout the afternoon. Hill passed for just 135 yards and threw 2 interceptions with no touchdowns. They nullified another high-flying offense the week before as well, holding Texas Tech to just 13 points. Iowa, of all teams, have been one of the only teams to really lay in to their defense. The key for the Cyclones is to not get overly confident. Doing so will undoubtedly spell out a loss for them on the road at West Virginia. They have another gunslinger to slow down on Saturday, Will Grier. We’ll see if Iowa State keeps it rolling, or hit a speed bump on the road against the Mountaineers. Head below for our free Iowa State vs. West Virginia pick.
Iowa State Cyclones vs. West Virginia Mountaineers Betting Odds:
Iowa State +2.5(-110)
vs. West Virginia -2.5(-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Iowa State vs. West Virginia Pick:
Will Grier has found a home in West Virginia. After spending time in Gainesville, and then spending time suspended, Grier landed in Morgantown. He had to sit out all of 2016 for being found in violation of taking a banned substance. When the dust settled, though, it’s all worked out for Grier. He’s in what I feel a much better situation at West Virginia. He doesn’t have the same level of defense backing him up, but he is in a much different offensive system. Grier has been able to let it fly at West Virginia and showcase his skill-set.
He has passed for 28 touchdowns and 9 interceptions while completing 63.8% of his passes. Grier made too many mistakes against Oklahoma State, though, tossing 4 interceptions which was the difference. He can’t turn the ball over that many times when he has an awful defense backing him up. Oklahoma State put a 50 up on West Virginia en route to a 50-39 win. The defense has been holding them back all year long, and that was on full display against Oklahoma State.
The Mountaineers have allowed an average of 40.3 points per game in their last three contests. Texas Tech, Baylor, and Oklahoma State were all able to hit 35 points. Heck, the useless Kansas Jayhawks even managed to score 34 points on them back in September.
West Virginia are 116th in the nation, allowing 460 yards per game. Iowa State, behind Kyle Kempt, are 35th with 270 yards per game through the air. Kempt has passed for 9 touchdowns and 2 interceptions with a 66.7% completion percentage. He’s doing everything the coaching staff has asked of him, and I think against Grier and the West Virginia offense, he’ll be asked to throw it around the yard.
West Virginia are 5th in the nation with 354 yards through the air per game. The Mountaineer offense should look fine at home against an impressive Iowa State defense, but expecting their defense to contribute is difficult to fathom. I can see a close game, with Kempt and Grier trading points down the stretch. Both teams eclipsing 30 points doesn’t look out of the question on Saturday.
PICK: OVER 60 (-110)