Kansas vs. West Virginia: Mountaineers Who Will Have a Big Game on Senior Day

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 1, 2012

MORGANTOWN, WV - SEPTEMBER 29:  Geno Smith #12 of the West Virginia Mountaineers drops back to pass against the Baylor Bears during the game on September 29, 2012 at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

While this is not the season that West Virginia expected at the beginning of the year, it is always nice to finish strong on senior day.

The Mountaineers finally broke their five-game losing streak with a 31-24 win against Iowa State. That gave the team its sixth win and bowl eligibility.

This was expected much sooner after a 5-0 start, but things do not always go as planned. 

At this point, West Virginia is only playing for bowl positioning against Kansas, the worst team in the Big 12. On a day that the seniors will be honored, these players will have big performances in their final home game.


Tavon Austin, WR/RB

After four years with West Virginia, Tavon Austin's position still remains undefined. In fact, the only title you can put on him is "playmaker."

Austin caught 100 passes this year for the second season in a row. However, when the team needed a running back against Oklahoma, the little man complied and rushed for 344 yards on 21 carries with two touchdowns.

He continued to excel as both a running back and a receiver the week after in the win over Iowa State.

With his speed and agility, do not be surprised if Austin is able to manage 100 yards rushing as well as receiving against this Kansas defense. 


Pat Miller, CB

Pat Miller has been all over the place in the West Virginia secondary this season. 

Teams like to throw the ball a lot against this defense, and the senior has been one of the few players able to slow down the other team's offense.

So far this year, Miller leads the team with eight passes broken up. However, he has yet to get both hands on the ball for an interception.

Kansas quarterbacks Dayne Crist and Michael Cummings have combined for 12 interceptions this year compared to only seven touchdowns. 

Miller should get a chance for his first interception since last year's Orange Bowl. 


Josh Francis, LB

As a solid all-around linebacker, Josh Francis is often asked to rush the passer. 

He has succeeded with a team-high 4.5 sacks on the year. This is in addition to his 15 tackles for loss and 50 tackles overall.

Francis should be able to add to that total against a team that is ranked only No. 88 in the nation with 2.36 sacks allowed per game.

This pass rush has been missing on the team all season. If Francis can get to the quarterback, it will make this entire defense better.


Geno Smith, QB

Despite a couple of bad games, Geno Smith is still ranked in the top 10 in the country in passer efficiency with a rating of 159.1.

The quarterback has also regained his form in the past few games. After throwing back-to-back 300-yard games against Oklahoma State and Oklahoma, he showed his accuracy against Iowa State, completing 71 percent of his passes.

While West Virginia has the worst pass defense in the country, Kansas is not far behind at 278.5 yards allowed per game. 

It has also allowed 40 points or more on five different occasions this season.

Geno Smith will do everything in his power to make it a sixth time as the Mountaineers roll over the Jayhawks in the final game of the year.