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Mountaineers begin league schedule against Kansas State

By Staff | Sep 30, 2016

There shouldn’t be any overconfidence in Morgantown this week.

West Virginia opens the Big 12 portion of its schedule against under-the-radar Kansas State.

The Wildcats are always a low-key team under folksy coach Bill Snyder, now in his 25th season at Kansas State.

The hyperbole and rah-rah antics associated with such Big 12 teams as Oklahoma, Texas, Baylor, TCU, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech are loud and obvious. With Snyder and Kansas State, little attention is paid until they beat you on the field.

Snyder’s record in his four Big 12 games against Dana Holgorsen and the Mountaineers is 4-0. Kansas State won by one point in Manhattan last season.

Snyder has an overall record of 195-102-1, including wins this year over Florida Atlantic and Missouri State. There was a season-opening 26-13 loss to Stanford in Palo Alto.

After trimming Missouri and winning over Youngstown State, the Mountaineers had an open date on September 17 before edging Brigham Young, 35-32, last week at FedEx field in suburban Washington, D.C.

Three wins. That’s halfway toward the number needed to qualify for a bowl game. And now there are nine games remaining against Big 12 teams.

The Mountaineers once had a 16-point lead against Brigham Young . . . and then they almost had a loss before Maurice Fleming made an end zone interception with just over one minute to play.

One of West Virginia’s scores came on an interception-return touchdown by Rasul Douglas, but the Utah-based Cougars came out of the game with 280 rushing yards against the usual three-man defensive front posed by WVU.

Quarterback Skyler Howard threw for 332 yards against the Cougars and now has 974 passing yards and six scores in West Virginia’s three games. He is 74-for-108 for the infant season.

Kansas State is not the wide-open, trade points for points team that many of the conference brethren present.

Snyder is conservative. His offense is more balanced with as many runs as throws. Most of the Big 12 teams throw it . . . line up, and then throw it again.

And defense has a revered place of importance with Snyder’s teams.

This is a 3:30 p.m. game that will be shown on ESPNU.

Even on Monday, the game was a near-sellout.

There will be a different feeling — even an electricity — in the air all around Morgantown this week. The tailgating will even have talk of football as well as personal business mentionings, national political grousing, the stock market fluctuations and the taste of the latest craft beers and meat-based entrees in the recreational vehicle parking lots in the shadow of Puskar Stadium.

West Virginia hasn’t beaten Kansas State in any of its four seasons in the Big 12.

And all the alumni and friends know it. So do the Mountaineers after being reminded of it by Holgorsen and his staff ever since returning to the practice field from FedEx Field.