All of a sudden, the WVU football team is feeling more optimistic about the start of their Big 12 schedule this weekend. After Oklahoma State struggled to sneak by Tulsa on Saturday, it appears that WVU has a real opportunity to pull off the upset.
The Cowboys entered their first game of the season ranked 11th in the nation and with high hopes of contending in the conference. Things didn’t go as planned in their first game, however, as they barely beat Tulsa at home 16-7.
Despite coming out victorious, Oklahoma State’s tough afternoon was reflected in the latest AP poll. It dropped four spots down to No. 15 for this week’s matchup with WVU.
The Mountaineers were off this last week after winning their opening game with ease. They took down Eastern Kentucky by 46 points in a basically empty Milan Puskar Stadium.
Beyond OSU’s difficulties, WVU has a lot to be excited about on its sideline.
Quarterback Jarret Doege was great in his first start of the year, looking poised and confident. It certainly helped that he had a very reliable running attack all game. The Mountaineers rushed for over 300 yards and featured several capable athletes in the backfield.
While WVU isn’t favored to win on Saturday, there’s no reason it can’t. Coach Neal Brown and his squad should expect a 60-minute battle with one of the better teams in the Big 12.
Residents in the Mountain State can enjoy the game at retail sportsbooks, or wager online through any of the mobile betting apps.
Although it does vary based on the online sportsbook, WVU is receiving about eight in this week’s point spread.
Here are the latest WV betting odds for WVU:
Is Oklahoma State overrated?
When the schedule first released, it looked as if the Mountaineers might have a difficult time with their first conference game.
Oklahoma State won eight times a year ago, including a 5-4 record in the Big 12. It returned its top offensive player and was nearly ranked inside the top 10 to begin the season.
That being said, the Cowboys didn’t look the part in their opener against Tulsa. Oklahoma State was a sizable favorite coming into this one, laying around -24 points at WV sportsbooks.
Its offense had issues early on and didn’t really work out of them. OSU trailed heading into halftime by a score of 7-3. After a scoreless third quarter, the Cowboys managed to post their lone touchdown of the day, as well as two field goals in the fourth.
Tulsa almost did enough defensively to get the early-season upset. It limited OSU to just 279 total yards for the entire game. Last year, the Cowboys’ offense generated more than 450 yards per contest.
Of course, the biggest key was slowing down future NFL running back Chuba Hubbard.
Even though he carried it 27 times, Hubbard only netted 93 yards on the ground. That’s only an average of 3.4 yards per carry.
The rest of the team didn’t find much success running, either. Quarterback Spencer Sanders ran five times for just nine yards. Senior LD Brown was the lone bright spot, averaging seven yards per rush for 63 yards.
Tulsa did a great job of packing the defensive box and forcing Oklahoma State to make plays through the passing game. Since Sanders left the game with an injury, both freshman Shane Illingworth and junior Ethan Bullock saw significant playing time.
It will be interesting to see how Oklahoma State deploys its quarterbacks this Saturday against the Mountaineers.
WVU football betting preview
If WVU wants to start the year 2-0, it needs to duplicate how Tulsa’s defense attacked OSU. Controlling the line of scrimmage is crucial to determining the outcome of Saturday’s game.
By having success against the run on early downs, WVU forces Oklahoma State into difficult third-and-longs. This will require deeper passes down the field, and the Cowboys are not equipped to play that way for four quarters.
Illingworth was the Cowboys’ most successful passer by far. He gained 74 yards through the air on 4-of-5 passing in his short stint. It’s possible they turn to the true freshman again if things aren’t going well.
Another way WVU can help slow down Oklahoma State is by possessing the ball. Tulsa did a great job of this a week ago.
Even as the underdog, its time of possession was basically even with OSU.
Reducing the number of times the Cowboys get the ball gives them fewer opportunities to score. An offensive shootout does not bode well for the Mountaineers.
The good news is this plays right into what WVU is most likely looking to do with the ball anyway. While Doege looked great in the first game, the Mountaineers don’t want him passing all afternoon to erase a deficit.
They want to run the ball, too and could find themselves in a close tilt down the stretch if they’re able to do so.
Coach Brown talked about how there isn’t much of a difference between both teams since when they played last. According to the WV MetroNews, Brown said:
“Both of us have a ton of people coming back. Schematically, neither side is probably going to make a whole lot of changes. I think there is a lot of familiarity there just because we played so late in the season last year.”
This could make for a hard-fought contest that could come down to the final minutes.
College football betting odds at WV Sportsbooks
WV sports betting fans wanting to bet on the Mountaineers have more options than ever before. The state now showcases several online sports betting apps:
Each of these mobile platforms already has odds up for this Saturday’s game between WVU and OSU.