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Behind Enemy Lines - West Virginia: A Q&A with The Smoking Musket

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We preview today's game with our SB Nation sister-site The Smoking Musket.

TCU v West Virginia Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

From one brutal road game to the next, the Kansas Jayhawks are preparing to play the West Virginia Mountaineers. To help prepare fans for the game, I reached out to Matt Kirchner over at The Smoking Musket. He was kind enough to answer a few questions for us.

RCT: Pretty much everyone I've talked to seems surprised by how well the Mountaineers have done this year, but no one seems to really be able to tell me what a realistic expectation was for this year. How much has this team overachieved this year?

TSM: I was actually a bit higher on this team than most, because we had a quarterback in his

second full year as a starter and a favorable conference home schedule. We're actually about where I thought we’d be, record wise, at this point.

The big overachiever has been the defense. This is a team that lost a ton to graduation and then lost even more to injury. For them to be playing this well is outstanding.

RCT: Unfortunately, with the state of our football team, many of our readers haven't paid much attention to the other teams in the conference. Who are the big playmakers that we are going to hear about this week? Which backup is going to look like a starter?

TSM: Our big playmaker at WR is Shelton Gibson, but our steadiest hand has been senior slot receiver Dakiel Shorts. #SaluteYourShorts has been a third down savior and will make clutch grabs when you need them.

We'll also throw out a three headed monster at RB with Rushel Shell as the bellcow and newcomers Justin Crawford and Kennedy McKoy spelling him. Shell is the thunder, the other two bring the big play lightning.

RCT: What happened last week? I thought the game would be close, but the team just looked off. Did Oklahoma State just punk you guys, or are there any big concerns coming out of that game?

TSM: Oklahoma State was great, and we had some terribly timed turnovers that set them up in the red zone twice. Can't win like that, no matter how well you're playing.

Time will tell if that's an aberration or a sign of things to come. I lean towards aberration but the meat of the schedule is in front of us, so we will see.

RCT: With basketball almost upon us, how concerned are you about the new rules concerning contact near the restricted area? It seems like the physical style of play that Bob Huggins favors is exactly what they are trying to eliminate.

TSM: *answer is drowned out in whistles*

RCT: Prediction Time! With the outcome not in doubt, how bad is the beat down going to be? What is the longest play going to be and who is going to get it?

TSM: I think we cover and some change. I also think that this is the week that Justin Crawford has an enormous TD run. Sorry.

RCT: BONUS - Which would you prefer, a personal chef or personal assistant?

TSM: Assistant, definitely. I love to cook. I am a disorganized mess.

A big thanks to Matt for helping us out. Don't forget to check out the questions I answered for him as well.