AMES, Iowa - West Virginia looks to keep its undefeated season alive when it travels to face Iowa State on Saturday night in a Big 12 Conference contest. The sixth-ranked Mountaineers come off a 38-22 victory over Kansas last weekend, while the Cyclones earned their first conference win of the season, 48-42 at then-No. 21 Oklahoma State.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1. LINE: West Virginia -6.5
West Virginia has one of the most explosive offenses in the country, led by senior quarterback Will Grier (1,819 yards, 71.2 completion percentage, 21 touchdowns), who ranks third in the country in total offense per game with 358.4 yards. Grier has a host of targets to look for when he drops back, including David Sills V (30 catches, 368 yards, six TDs), Marcus Simms (26, 490, two) and Gary Jennings Jr. (26, 364, six), which keeps defenses from locking down on one receiver. Iowa State will have a different -- and more dynamic -- look with true freshman Brock Purdy making his first start under center after he came off the sideline to produce 318 passing yards, 84 rushing yards and five total touchdowns (four passing, one rushing) against Oklahoma City. Cyclones coach Matt Campbell is uncertain about the status of running back David Montgomery (334 yards, three TDs), who missed last week's game with an upper arm injury suffered in the loss to TCU Sept. 29.
ABOUT WEST VIRGINIA (5-0. 3-0 Big 12)
While the Mountaineers' offense is garnering the headlines -- and rightfully so -- the defense for coach Dana Holgorsen has also been outstanding, ranking 25th in the country in allowing 18.6 points per game. West Virginia is No. 4 nationally in tackles for loss (9.6 per game), led by linebacker David Long Jr. (9.5 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks), linebacker Dylan Tonkery (6.0, 1.0) and cornerback Derrek Pitts Jr. (4.0, 1.0). Putting that kind of pressure on a freshman making his first start at quarterback will be key, but the Mountaineers will also need to be cognizant of Purdy's ability to get outside and make plays on the run.
ABOUT IOWA STATE (2-3, 1-2)
If Montgomery is unable to play this week, the Cyclones will have plenty of options to try to run the ball including Purdy, who is already second on the team in rushing yards with 83. Freshman Johnnie Lang started in place of Montgomery against Oklahoma State and carried three times for six yards, while sophomore Kene Nwangwu had 10 carries for 49 yards in the game. Another option will be junior Sheldon Croney Jr., who had four carries for 20 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown, against the Cowboys, though playing against high-powered West Virginia may necessitate the Cyclones going to the air more to keep up.
1. West Virginia ranks fourth in the country in third-down conversions (56.9 percent).
2. Iowa State is 5-0 against Big 12 opponents in October the last two seasons, including three wins over ranked foes.
3. The Cyclones broke the school record with 16.0 tackles for loss against Oklahoma State and tied the school mark with 7.0 sacks.
PREDICTION: West Virginia 42, Iowa State 28
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