Good Cop/Bad Cop: West Virginia

Iowa State running back Breece Hall prepares to run past Kansas State’s Tee Denson during Iowa State and Kansas State’s game Nov. 21 at Jack Trice Stadium.

Megan Teske, ; Sam Stuve

Good Cop: Megan Teske

In Iowa State’s regular season finale, the Cyclones will face off against the West Virginia Mountaineers.

The Cyclones gave the Mountaineers a thrashing in Morgantown, West Virginia, last year, so I expect West Virginia will want revenge in Ames, but still, I fully expect the ‘Clones to come away with another win Saturday.

Sam will unpack all the stats for you down below (and still say the Cyclones will win), but that’s not the only reason I see Iowa State coming out on top.

You’ve got to believe Iowa State is feeling pretty good after that win against Texas in Austin, and with its dreams of the Big 12 Championship still very much alive, Matt Campbell and the Cyclones know what’s at stake here.

Besides the fact that Iowa State has the best running back in Breece Hall in the Big 12, arguably in the country, but quarterback Brock Purdy has been heating up too, which is what the team will need against a solid run defense in West Virginia.

Against Texas last week, Hall didn’t get his usual 100-yard game, but the Cyclone offense was still able to pull through behind Purdy and his receivers, and I see that happening again Saturday.

The Cyclones’ defense has been great so far this season, with a strong defensive line and a secondary that can come up big when it matters. Iowa State will need to pressure Jarret Doege in order to do some damage.

I expect this to be a closer game than it was last season, but then again I also said that about the Kansas State game, and look what happened there.

Either way, I see the Cyclones coming away with the win and heading to the Big 12 Championship on Dec. 19.

Prediction: Iowa State 31, West Virginia 28

Bad Cop: Sam Stuve

Two of the best defenses in the Big 12 and in the country will meet Saturday afternoon as West Virginia (5-3, 4-3 Big 12) travels to Ames to face No. 9 Iowa State (7-2, 7-1 Big 12).

Both teams have very similar strengths and weaknesses.

West Virginia leads the conference in scoring defense, allowing just 17.8 points per game (14th in the NCAA).

Iowa State is tied for second in the Big 12 in scoring defense, allowing 23 points per game (31st in the NCAA).

West Virginia’s secondary is the best in the Big 12, as it allows the fewest opponent passing yards per game at 161.5 (fourth in the NCAA).

The Mountaineers’ rushing defense is also one the best in the Big 12, allowing 112.5 yards per game (third-fewest in the Big 12).

The Cyclones allow the second-fewest rushing yards per game among Big 12 teams at 108.6.

On the offensive side, the Cyclones have the edge in scoring with 33.1 points per game, third in the Big 12.

The Mountaineers are fifth in the Big 12 with 29.4 points per game.

Both Iowa State and West Virginia have a running back who are considered to be among the best in the nation.

Iowa State has sophomore running back Breece Hall who leads the nation in rushing yards with 1,136, while West Virginia has the nation’s third-leading rusher, junior Leddie Brown.

At quarterback, Iowa State has junior Brock Purdy, who has 2,025 passing yards and has thrown for 14 touchdowns and six interceptions.

West Virginia has junior Jarret Doege, who has thrown for 2,219 yards, 13 touchdowns and three interceptions.

Two of the last three games Iowa State has played have been close ones.

I expect nothing different this Saturday.

West Virginia might have the momentum early in the game, but Iowa State should figure things out and get back into the game.

West Virginia’s secondary poses a significant threat to Iowa State, and so does their offense.

If Iowa State has a better rushing attack by Hall and an overall cleaner game (fewer penalties), Iowa State should win by a slim margin Saturday.

Prediction: Iowa State 24, West Virginia 21