MORGANTOWN - West Virginia (5-5, 2-5 Big 12) remains confident that it can bounce back against Iowa State (6-5,3-5) at Ames, Iowa, today.
"No one is hanging his head," WVU's Geno Smith said of the Mountaineers, who are trying to end a 5-game losing streak. "The mood is good." Smith believes the team is well prepared following a short week of practice.
Told that West Virginia was a 1-point favorite, Smith said, "I guess someone still likes us out there."
The game gets under way at 3:30 P.M. It will be televised by ABC.
"Right now we're in a state where we just want to win a game and to get to a bowl," Smith explained.
"We've got two opportunities coming up.
"We've got to take this first one.
"We know it's going to be a tough challenge because Iowa State has a really good team and as far as defense goes, they're sound and they're tough."
Smith said the Mountaineers want to make sure that they go out there with the right amount of focus and energy.
He is very aware of the fact that the only way out of WVU's predicament is to win a game. So are Geno's teammates.
"We've prepared as well as we could for this game," he stated. "We'd like to win Friday, and be bowl eligible."
West Virginia has 10 consecutive bowl appearances. A win against Iowa State or Kansas on Dec. 1 would keep that string alive, of course.
This will be the first meeting between WVU and Iowa State.
The Cyclones, coached by Paul Rhodes, have 44 lettermen from last year's team.
Geno Smith has completed 305 of 435 passes for 3,361 yards and 35 touchdowns. He has thrown 5 interceptions.
Iowa State quarterback Steele Jantz has completed 163 of 262 passes for 1,562 yards and 13 touchdowns. He had 11 picks.
Adrian Home (38-365-3) and Chris Young (35-380-2) are the Cyclones' top receivers.
WVU's Tavon Austin (100-1,050-11) and Stedman Bailey (88-1,260-20) remain its leading pass-catchers.
Austin (35-447-2) and halfback Andrew Buie (156-694-6) are the Mountaineers' top rushers.
Shontrelle Johnson is ISU's leader in rushing with 497 yards with 107 attempts. He has 1 TD.
Statisically, West Virginia shows a comfortable margin in virtually every offensive category.
Points scored are 409 to 228, first downs 259 to 223. Total offense is. 516.6, per game to 370.6 per game. Net rushing average 165.2 to 147.2 and net passing per game is 344.8 to 222.8.
Defensively, the edge goes to Iowa State. Points given up are 423 to 249. First downs are 239 to 248, total defense average per game 498.0 to 442.1, net rushing average 131.9 to 158.5, and net passing per game 366.1 to 283.6.