MORGANTOWN -Tavon Austin believes the swagger that once accompanied the West Virginia offense will again be evident when it takes the field tonight against No. 4 Kansas State.
That offense, which has put up astronomical numbers in previous weeks, sputtered to just 14 points in a loss to Texas Tech last weekend.
"The confidence is still there," Austin said. "We know we have a good offense, and we are definitely going to show it this week."
A sell-out crowd and a national Fox television audience will be looking to see if that will happen against a strong K-State defense. WVU enters the game ranked No. 17 and is 5-1 overall and 2-1 in the Big 12.
Kansas State is 5-0 and 2-0 in the conference. Kick-off is set for 7 p.m.
"They are a tough challenge," quarterback Geno Smith said. "They have a really good defense. They play together. They're always attacking. They rarely make mistakes."
The Wildcats are led defensively by linebacker Arthur Brown, a player WVU coach Dana Holgorsen calls as good as he has seen at the position.
"Arthur Brown is a special football player," he said, "and is as good as I have ever seen from an effort standpoint, a play-making standpoint and a physicality standpoint."
Holgorsen said he and his staff have spent the week making sure the lack of energy which became evident in the Texas Tech loss does not become the case again.
"We will have to do a good job of blocking up front and fitting the ball into tight spaces," he said. "There is not going to be a whole bunch of space to get a ball in there.
"They don't miss any tackles, and they play with great effort."
Holgorsen said K-State "doesn't have any holes in its secondary," which will prove to be yet another challenge for Smith, who is coming off a less than stellar performance by his own admission.
"You rarely catch any guys blowing coverages," Smith said. "They all fly to the ball. That's something you want as a defensive coordinator, and that's a good sign for their defense. It's going to be a challenge for us, and we have to be up for that challenge."
Austin said the Mountaineers have to be ready to respond when the Wildcats "hit us in the mouth."
"We need to be prepared," he said. "We will come in more like we are playing in the national championship."