Tahlequah Daily Press

OSU Sports

September 27, 2013

Mountaineers, Holgorsen face No. 11 Oklahoma State

(Continued)

UNKIND HOME: West Virginia lost in Morgantown three times last season and needed to overcome a 10-point halftime deficit to beat William & Mary of the Bowl Subdivision in the season opener. The Mountaineers have lost three straight against ranked opponents, including the last two at home. Oklahoma State is 16-5 on the road over the past four seasons. "We've traveled well and handled it like it's a business trip," Walsh said. "With the leadership we have on this team, we will continue to handle traveling with success."

No. 11 Oklahoma State (3-0, 0-0 Big 12) at West Virginia (2-2, 0-1), noon ET (ESPN)

Line: Oklahoma State by 19.

Series record: 2-2.

WHAT'S AT STAKE

A win could put Oklahoma State in position for its first Top 10 ranking since finishing third in its Fiesta Bowl-winning season in 2011. The Cowboys are playing in their Big 12 opener and don't want to fall behind Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech, which already have conference wins. West Virginia needs to shake off a blowout loss at Maryland last week yet has a monumental task with its next three games against ranked opponents.

KEY MATCHUP

Oklahoma State QB J.W. Walsh vs. West Virginia's defense. Walsh is averaging 214 yards passing and a team-high 61 yards rushing per game. West Virginia's pass defense has improved from the unit that gave up a school record for points last season, including a 55-34 loss in Stillwater, Okla. In the Mountaineers' 37-0 loss at Maryland last week, the defense was hardly to blame — all of Maryland's four touchdowns came after West Virginia turnovers. Terps quarterback C.J. Brown threw for 217 yards but was limited to 26 yards on 14 carries. West Virginia is holding opponents to a league-best 157 yards passing per game.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Oklahoma State: RB Jeremy Smith. The senior has scored six touchdowns, including three in a 59-3 rout of Lamar in Oklahoma State's last game two weeks ago. West Virginia has allowed two individual 100-yard rushing efforts this season.

West Virginia: QB Ford Childress. The redshirt freshman will be making his third start and needs to bounce back after going 11 of 22 for 62 yards with two interceptions at Maryland.

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