AMES, Iowa -- Paul Rhoads probably deserved to enjoy last week's win longer than he did.
The Iowa State coach watched his team win 51-23 at Kansas, the school's most points scored in a road game since 1923. The Cyclones also clinched bowl eligibility for the third time in four years under Rhoads.
A backup quarterback in his first meaningful playing time was 23-for-27 for 250 yards and four touchdowns and redshirt freshman Sam Richardson put the Cyclones (6-5, 3-5 Big 12) in position to set new highs for wins and conference wins under Rhoads when they play host to West Virginia at 3:30 p.m. today on ABC.
There was plenty to feel good about, but the joy was brief. Rhoads was debriefed on what the Mountaineers had done that same night against Oklahoma. A box score showed receiver Tavon Austin carried the ball 21 times for 344 yards.
"We got back here and put the tape on and saw where he was lining up and how he was gaining all the yards," Rhoads said," and then soon after that, we vomited."
Austin brings all his speed and wiggle into Jack Trice Stadium today as well as something else that has the Cyclones spinning - an almost complete inability to prepare for Austin's sudden ascent.
"It's a pain in the rear end, especially with a six-day work week," Rhoads said. "Seven days is hard enough when you're preparing for the offenses you face in this league, but when teams start doing something different, you're dealing with the unknown. You don't want to chase ghosts, but to a certain extent, you have to, especially with a player as talented as he is."
The Mountaineers addressed struggles with the running game by moving Austin from receiver, where he leads the nation with 10 receptions per game, to running back, where he hadn't played since high school.
They aren't saying exactly what they'll do with Austin this week.
"He's a guy that you look for matchups for and you put him in a position to exploit those matchups," WVU Coach Dana Holgorsen said. "That's not necessarily always going to be the case with him in the backfield. It was a good game to do that with him. How much we do it is going to be week to week and what we see on film."
The Sooners played right into WVU's plan last week. They played man-to-man coverage and moved defenders away from the line of scrimmage to cover WVU's receivers.
"They only had one person accounting for me, just a safety, so I only had to beat him," Austin said.