If you ask coach Mike Gundy, OSU is playing a “best team in the country” this weekend––kind of.
“This team’s playing really good football right now,” Gundy said of West Virginia. “This is the most physical team defensively that we’ve played by far. They could be the best 4-4 team in the country. Particularly playing really, really well at home, playing good defense, very disruptive.”
And he has a point.
While their record doesn’t make them a tier-one Big 12 team, the Mountaineers have been competitive in games thus far–– even beating OSU’s lone loss, Iowa State, this past week. Their offense, led by quarterback Jarret Doege and running back Leddie Brown, is gaining momentum and their defense keeps them in games. The Mountaineers rank 53rd in total defense and have an impressive 20.0 total sacks on the year. This defense is one of Gundy’s main concerns this Saturday.
“They’ve been pretty good defensively all year,” Gundy said. “And they’re very disruptive. They’re very fast or very fiscal and they tackle well.”
The Mountaineers’ defensive line is arguably their best unit. OSU’s Braden Cassity said this would be a challenge.
“For us, we got to run block, we got to pass block, we got to do it all,” Cassity said. “I see a veteran group that knows what they’re doing — strong, physical. They are going to be ready to go, especially after last week’s game”
OSU is favored by three points Saturday. The game is in Morgantown and kickoff is at 2:30 p.m. CT on ESPN. OSU, who was ranked 11th in the latest college football playoff rankings, needs to stay consistent in games like this if they want a shot at the college football playoff. Star linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez likes their chances thanks to their experience.
“Just goes back to being veterans,” Rodriguez said. “We’ve been here a long time it feels like. Just going out every month and coming together and sticking it out. Everyone’s going to be tired, everyone’s going to be fatigued. It’s just one of those things that we’ve been here before and we know what it takes.”