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Kansas State-West Virginia Preview Capsule

No. 4 Kansas State (6-0, 3-0 Big 12) at No. 17 West Virginia (5-1, 2-1), 7 p.m. (FOX)

Line: West Virginia by 3.

Series Record: Tied 1-1.

WHAT'S AT STAKE

Wes Virginia's loss at Texas Tech last week took the luster off what would have been a huge game. Still, first place in the Big 12 and maybe in the Heisman Trophy chase, too, as West Virginia's Geno Smith and Kansas State's Collin Klein enter the game as the front-runner. Kansas State can remain alone atop the conference with a win. The Mountaineers would create a three-way tie if they beat the Wildcats, and they'd be joined in the deadlock at 3-1 by the winner of the Texas Tech-TCU game.

KEY MATCHUP

Kansas DBs Ty Zimmerman and Nigel Malone against West Virginia WRs Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey. Zimmerman leads the Wildcats with three interceptions this year while Malone has nine over the past two seasons. Bailey's 14 TD receptions are a West Virginia single-season record, but he missed the second half of a 49-14 loss at Texas Tech with an ankle injury. Bailey tweeted this week that he's fine. Austin leads the nation with 11.7 catches per game and Bailey is third with 9.2

PLAYERS TO WATCH

West Virginia: Smith. Despite an off week by his standards last week in a loss to Texas Tech, Smith's numbers this season remain impressive: 25 touchdowns, no interceptions, a completion percentage of 75, and 379 passing yards per game. He's thrown 313 consecutive passes without an interception dating to last season — 66 shy of Russell Wilson's FBS record.

Kansas State: Klein. The senior can't match Smith's gaudy throwing stats but adds a rushing element that's hard to stop. He's completing 67 percent of his passes, is averaging 85 yards on the ground. His 10 rushing TDs leads the Big 12.

FACTS & FIGURES

Kansas State has won three straight Big 12 road games against ranked opponents. ... West Virginia has won four straight games overall against ranked opponents ... WVU and Kansas State haven't met on the football field since 1931. ... Wildcats coach Bill Snyder, who turned 73 earlier this month, began his college coaching career in 1974 at Austin College in Sherman, Texas. West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen was 3 at the time. ... The Mountaineers' defense is second-to-last in the nation in pass efficiency against (167.5). The schedule hasn't helped. WVU has faced three (Baylor, Marshall and Texas Tech) of the top four passing offenses in the country. The other team in the top four? West Virginia. ... Kansas State LB Arthur Brown leads the team with 47 tackles.