When these two teams played last season, the result was a wild 55-34 shootout, with Oklahoma State emerging victorious. This is not the West Virginia offense of old, though -- Tavon Austin, Geno Smith and Stedman Bailey are all gone, off to life in the NFL. If current trends hold, it is far more likely that West Virginia will struggle its way to half its total from last year's game. That's not hyperbole -- through four weeks, the Mountaineers are averaging 18.0 points a game, putting them at a shocking 109th in the country in scoring. Worse, West Virginia still hasn't found an effective quarterback. The 'Eers latest candidate -- redshirt freshman Ford Childress -- threw for a mere 62 yards against Maryland last weekend.
While Oklahoma State entered the season with two quarterbacks of their own, they are now down to one -- J.W. Walsh took the job in a win over Mississippi State and hasn't looked back. A threat on the ground and more than serviceable through the air, Walsh has completed 70.2 percent of his passes this season and ranks 32nd in the country in passer rating. He'll face his stiffest defensive competition to date, though. West Virginia has made huge gains on that side of the ball this year, ranking 31st in the country.
Rankings and records: This will be the fifth ever meeting between these two teams, with the series split so far.
Three names to know
Will Clarke (WVU defensive lineman) -- The 6'7, 273-pound senior has been a force this season -- West Virginia's improved play on defense would not be possible without his 5.5 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks off the edge. Through four games, Clarke ranks first in the Big 12 in sacks and second in tackles for loss.
Jeremy Smith (Oklahoma State running back) -- Though Walsh generates a large amount of the rushing attack on his own, Smith is very much involved with that part of the offense -- he is averaging 58.7 yards per game on the ground, compared to Walsh's 60.7, and has a team-high six touchdowns.
Charles Sims (WVU running back) -- A transfer from Houston, Sims has immediately taken to the West Virginia offense. He has been a bright spot on that side of the ball and has run for 328 yards this season, a figure that sits behind only four other backs in the Big 12.
Two things at stake
Both teams are now firmly in conference play and looking to start things off right. This game is the first of an extremely difficult stretch for West Virginia -- after Oklahoma State, No. 19 Baylor and No. 24 Texas Tech await. If Dana Holgorsen can't get the Mountaineer offense back on track, it could be a long month.
Oklahoma State will host two tough games themselves, as TCU and Kansas State will come to town. Beating West Virginia would help the Cowboys join Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Texas, all of whom are 1-0 in conference play. Although they have not faced any Big 12 opponents, Baylor looms large as a conference contender itself. Oklahoma State needs a win to keep pace.
How to witness
TV: Noon ET, ESPN