MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Neither West Virginia nor Iowa State is going anywhere, but the teams are headed in different directions before Saturday's season finale.
The Cyclones ended a seven-game losing streak with a 34-0 win Saturday at home against Kansas. They're 2-9 overall and 1-7 in the Big 12 entering Saturday's 4 p.m. game at Mountaineer Field. It will be televised by Fox Sports 1.
"That meant a lot," Iowa State Coach Paul Rhoads said. "It was a huge victory. Anytime you're sitting there with zero conference wins, any time you're in the midst of a long losing streak like we were, any time you get a chance to get a victory for your seniors in their last home game and you do it and you get it done means a great deal to everyone involved internally and externally."
The Mountaineers, meanwhile, are coming off a 31-19 loss to the same Kansas team Iowa State dominated and the same Kansas team that had lost 27 consecutive Big 12 games before thumping WVU (4-7, 2-6 Big 12), which apparently wasn't over the 47-40 overtime loss to Texas a week earlier.
"The Texas game beat us twice," WVU Coach Dana Holgorsen said. "We talked about it not happening, but it did. Why? You can keep pointing your finger at me. That's what my job is and I didn't reach them. I didn't get them back. That's on me and I don't mind saying that."
The players and coaches soldiered through practice last week, knowing there was no bowl bid waiting on the other end of a second straight Thanksgiving weekend game against the Cyclones. Practice last week was structured in a way that rested regulars and developed young and infrequently used players.
The Cyclones, meanwhile, have been dealing with their reality longer. Their seventh loss came Nov. 2.
"Our football team is excited about playing," Rhoads said. "We're coming off a nice win and we have a chance to finish the season on a really positive note. That's good for the departing seniors and good for us heading into the offseason. I think that gives folks enough excitement to prepare for the next game."
Holgorsen walked into last week uncertain what to expect from a team that had just surprised him with what it showed at Kansas.