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Mountaineers have to be ready for anything against Iowa State

October 10, 2018
West Virginia offensive lineman Isaiah Hardy (65) lifts up wide receiver David Sills V (13) after Sills scored a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Kansas in Morgantown, W. Va., Saturday Oct. 6, 2018. (Craig Hudson/Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP)

MORGANTOWN - Two weeks ago, the No. 6 West Virginia University football team was stung by Texas Tech backup quarterback Jett Duffey after starter Alan Bowman left the game with an injury. Last week, WVU prepared for a visit from Kansas with the knowledge the Jayhawks would start Carter Stanley at quarterback, but could also see Peyton Bender or Miles Kendrick get some snaps in the game.

This week is kind of similar to last week, in that the Mountaineers must be ready for anything when it comes to the opposition’s quarterback. WVU (5-0, 3-0 Big 12) visits Iowa State (2-3, 1-2) for a 7:30 p.m. Saturday contest in Ames, Iowa.

Iowa State freshman Brock Purdy burst onto the scene last week in a 48-42 win at Oklahoma State. Kyle Kempt began the season as the starter for ISU before being sidelined with an ankle injury. Zeb Noland took over for Kempt, but when Purdy got his chance, he made the most of it.

Iowa State coach Matt Campbell says Kempt practiced Sunday, but he thinks it’ll be Purdy under center to start when WVU visits.

“If Kyle wouldn’t be ready to go, you’ll see Brock start,” Campbell said.

Purdy beat up on Oklahoma State with his arm and his legs. The freshman from Arizona completed 18 of 23 pass attempts for 318 yards and four touchdowns while running the ball 19 times for 84 yards and a score.

It gives WVU coach Dana Holgorsen more to think about as his Mountaineers prepare for Iowa State.

″(Purdy) came in and did a good job,” Holgorsen said. “It was kind of unexpected on our part. We still have to worry about Kyle Kempt coming back - they’ve been saying he would be coming back for this game. Then you’ve got the new freshman coming back and he went out there and ran around and did a good job. I thought he made a whole lot of plays and Noland is an experienced guy as well.

“Once again, this is the second week in a row we’ll prepare for three different quarterbacks.”

n WVU quarterback Will Grier is known for his talents as a passer, but against Kansas he was forced into showing off his ability to run.

Mountaineer fans and Holgorsen were likely not too enthused about the situation as it developed.

Three of Grier’s runs stuck out to Holgorsen - one where he took off for a first down and slid safely at the end, one where he took off and pitched to receiver David Sills downfield, and another where he made something out of nothing on a broken play only to appear to be hit hard enough after a slide to take his helmet off.

“The first one he got a good 15 yards, slid and (the officials) protected him,” Holgorsen said. “The second time, he flipped it out to David Sills and we got another explosive play. The third time was the broken down play that can be prevented with better pass protection. He did what he was coached to do he ran around, made a play, extended it, got upfield and slid. He needs to be protected. That’s one play that I will send in and get some clarification on why he wasn’t protected.”

n West Virginia’s defense has been playing above expectations this season, and ISU’s Campbell has noticed.

The Mountaineers aren’t doing anything special, he said, just playing sound football.

“I really enjoy watching their defense play,” Campbell said. “The attitude, effort and toughness that they play with defensively has been a staple. They’re playing like you would expect a West Virginia defense to play. I don’t think it’s anything fancy other than they play tough, physical and run to the ball.”

West Virginia (5-0, 3-0)

at Iowa State (2-3, 1-2)

7 p.m. Saturday

Jack Trice Stadium

Ames, Iowa

TV: FS1

Radio: WWQB 102.3-FM

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