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The Oklahoma State MVP Draft: Week 8 - West Virginia

Let’s see who the Cowboys need to be most aware of on Saturday.

TCU v West Virginia Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Welcome back to the weekly post where the points don’t matter. Seriously though, you get great previews of the players that should impact this weekend’s game!

In case you’ve forgotten, here’s the rules: Every week, each writer picks the player they think will be the MVP on offense, defense, and special teams for OSU and their opponent. If a player has the best game out of those chosen, the writer who picked him gets a point. We’ll keep track of the points through the season.

Here’s a look at the standings heading into week 8:

Phillip - 20 points
Cade - 20 points
Joel - 17 points
Dustin - 17 points
Christopher/Kyle - 15 points

With that, let’s get to this week’s picks:

Phillip

Oklahoma State

O - Jalen McClesky | D - Jordan Burton | ST - Ben Grogan

Offense: I don’t want to be a hostage of the moment, but there’s a reason I think this is a good pick. Teams are going to keep doing what Kansas did last week, double cover Washington. That means someone is going to get open. Plus, considering all the different ways OSU likes to use McClesky I think he’s just going to keep getting opportunities and yards.
Defense: I’m sticking with my man Burton. He didn’t have a great game last week. I expect him to make up for it this week.
Special Teams: Alright Joel, you win. Grogan has been a perfect 6/6 kicking field goals the last three weeks. I think he’s finding his stride at the right time of the season. I expect him to have to kick a few against a GOOD West Virginia defense.

West Virginia

O - Skyler Howard | D - Rasul Douglas | ST - Mike Molina

Offense: Howard has improved greatly since last year. This year he’s averaging 303 yards through the air and 33.3 yards on the ground a game. That’s dangerous. After watching Montrell Cozart put up record numbers against this OSU defense, I have a bad feeling Howard might have his way with the Cowboy D on Saturday.
Defense: Douglas leads the team in interceptions (3), is second in pass break-ups (4), and third in total tackles (32). He also has two tackles for a loss and a sack. This guy is all over the place. I have a feeling he will be this weekend too.
Special Teams: I don’t want to pick the field goal kicker, because Holgerson doesn’t like kicking field goals, and doesn’t trust his kicker. However, OSU’s special teams defense has been lights out this season, and with the way punter Zach Sinor has been playing, I don’t think WVU will get many return yards.

Cade

Oklahoma State

O - Mason Rudolph | D - Ramon Richards | ST - Zach Sinor

Offense: The offense goes as Mason goes. He played average ** tips visor to Gundy ** on Saturday against Kansas, and while throwing 15 touchdowns to go along with just two interceptions this season, it feels as if he has underperformed lately. I tend to believe it’s an anomaly. With a friendly crowd and a lot riding on this game, I expect him to play very well.
Defense: I ... don’t feel good about this pick, to be honest. I just expect Richards to have plenty of opportunities to make plays. Whether or not he does is another topic in itself. He will be tasked with defending receivers in an offense that loves to attack the perimeter. He will have to be on his A-game.
Special Teams: I don’t think a lot of points will be scored in this game. Field position will be an important factor in this game, and Sinor is a weapon that will be utilized on Saturday.

West Virginia

O - Shelton Gibson | D - Rasul Douglas | ST - Mike Molina

Offense: For the sake of breaking up the monotony, I’ll take Gibson here. It helps that he’s a fantastic receiver, too. If Howard has a good game on Saturday, it will be because Gibson is involved.
Defense: Douglas has been the heartbeat of a talented West Virginia defense all season, and has the ability to alter offenses with the way he covers ground. I think Douglas will have a solid game on Saturday and will continue to be the leader of their defense.
Special Teams: Did you really think I’d go a full MVP Draft post without picking a kicker? I’ll take Mike Molina for 500, Bob...

Dustin

Oklahoma State

O - Mason Rudolph | D - Jordan Sterns | ST - Ben Grogan

Offense: I haven't taken QB1 in a while. I think I'm going to go with him. West Virginia has a pretty solid defense all around, but I think QB1 will be on his game for homecoming and will have a nice outing.
Defense: Jordan Sterns has been all over the place for the Cowboy defense. He's the leader of this unit and I think he has a good day in front of the home crowd.
Special Teams: Have to go with the all-time leading scorer here.

West Virginia

O - Skyler Howard | D - Rasul Douglas | ST - Mike Molina

Offense: After how the OSU defense made Montell Cozart look last week and how many passing yards they've given up all season, I think the obvious choice here is the WVU QB. He's had a solid season so far, and the Cowboy pass defense has had plenty of issues.
Defense: Douglas is a big, play-making cornerback for the Moutaineers. He has three interceptions this year and is second on the team in tackles. He's a big time playmaker and will be all over the field for WVU on Saturday.
Special Teams: Kicker has been working out for me.

BTW, I miss Dana

Christopher

Oklahoma State

O - Jalen McCleskey | D - Vincent Taylor | S - Ben Grogan

Offense: This is obviously the best defense the Cowboys have faced, but this will not be the best passing game the Mountaineers have faced. If Tech can barely get 300 yards passing on WV, it's hard for me to go with Rudolph here. My guess is Dana & Co. will watch film of Iowa State and Kansas and come away feeling like if they take James Washington away, they can easily contain this offense enough to win. Maybe that opens some room up for Justice Hill, but I like the opportunistic McCleskey to take advantage and end up being the primary target in the passing game once again this week.
Defense: The WVU offense presents some problems, as Dana-run offenses often do. The Mountaineers can beat you in more ways than one, but I think the fate of the defense is going to rest with the defensive line. They've been up and down this season. When they play well, the defense looks completely different. They're going to need to play well Saturday, so I'm going with the undisputed leader of the pack.
Special Teams: West Virginia has been extremely impressive in terms of scoring defense so far this season. It is highly likely that, even when the Pokes do move the ball between the 20s, they'll end up stalling out and giving Grogan more opportunities to extend his recently attained record career scoring mark.

West Virginia

O - Skyler Howard | D - Justin Arndt | S - Mike Molina

Offense: Skyler Howard is better than Montell Cozart, who threw for 250 yards last week against this defense. Howard runs it well also and will end up with at least a couple of big plays scrambling. WVU runs the ball very well but they also give several guys carries, so it's difficult to pick any of their backs with any confidence, so give me Howard.
Defense: The senior linebacker is the leading tackler and tied for second on the team in tackles for loss. He'll be heavily involved and I expect he and Justice Hill will be well acquainted by the end of the game.
Special Teams: The Cowboys coverage teams have been solid so far this season, and the defense isn't much of a deterrent between the 20s apart from forcing turnovers. That means the Mountaineer kicker, who is 9-12 on the season and has hit all 24 extra points he's attempted, is the safest choice here. As long as Howard can set him up inside the 25, he'll have a good day.

Joel

Oklahoma State

O - Mason Rudolph | D - Chad Whitener | S - Ben Grogan

Offense: Mason had a solid game last week against Kansas, despite the fumble issue still occurring. He looks confident in the pocket, and is making easy throws more consistently. He also looks to be more confident running the football in the play breaks down. He is no dual threat, but he can make the positive yards when needed. The WVU defense is stout, but I think Mason will find a way to open up the passing game on Saturday.
Defense: Chad Whitener has been a force for the Cowboys all season long, and he'll be a force trying to stop the very balanced offense of the Mountaineers. He's has between 5 and 6 tackles the last 4 games, and I look for him to break his season high of 8 this week.
Special Teams: I pick the kicker every week, not sure how much explanation I need to give at this point.

West Virginia

O - Skyler Howard | D - Justin Arndt | S - Mike Molina

Offense: Howard has been one of the most underrated QB's in the conference, as well as the nation this year. He doesn't do anything flashy, he just makes the right throw and the right play. He is a big reason why the Mountaineers are undefeated heading into Saturday's contest.
Defense: Arndt was the leading tackler for the Mountaineers last week against TCU, and has been a solid part of linebacking corps for WVU. The senior has had a similar type of season to Chad Whitener, so I am going to go with Arndt.
Special Teams: Same position, different week.