The memory should still be fresh.


Perhaps more than any game last year, the Kansas State Wildcats can point to West Virginia as the one that got away.


But much has changed since the Mountaineers, riding a five-game losing streak and 14-point underdogs on the road, outscored K-State 10-0 in the fourth quarter to hand the Wildcats a devastating 24-20 loss.


For one thing, No. 16-ranked K-State is a 4 1/2-point underdog heading into Saturday's 11 a.m. rematch in Morgantown, W.Va., despite a 4-1 overall record and league-leading 4-0 Big 12 mark. West Virginia is 3-2 with a 2-2 league record after falling 34-27 at West Virginia last week.


The Wildcats also know a bit more about West Virginia quarterback Jarret Doege, who made his first start and completed the Mountaineer comeback with a scrambling 50-yard touchdown pass that proved to be the difference last year.


"He was kind of an unknown (last year), but he’s really putting the ball where it needs to be," K-State defensive coordinator Scottie Hazelton said of Doege, a Bowling Green transfer who preserved his redshirt last year by not playing in more than four games. "He’s extending plays, making the right reads."


Doege also ranks No. 16 nationally in passing yards with 1,389 and in passing yards per game with a 277.8 average. Throw powerful junior running back Leddie Brown, who ranks seventh nationally in rushing yards with 592, and the Mountaineers should provide a serious test for a K-State defense that has steadily improved as the season progressed.


"It's kind of damned if you do, damned if you don't in some of these cases," Klanderman said of West Virginia's diverse offense, which ranks 47th in running and 54th in passing, but allows an impressive No. 25 overall 460.8 yards per game. "That's where we have to do a really good job with our looks."


K-State linebacker Justin Hughes especially has his eye on Brown, a 5-foot-11, 214-pounder, who is averaging 5.8 yards per carry.


"We had our captains meeting with Coach (Chris) Klieman and he was like, 'What do we have to do to beat West Virginia?' He asked me personally, and I said we have to stop the run because their running back is a great player.


"If we come out there and slow him down, then we can start forcing some turnovers and get the ball back to our offense to score some points on the board."


Hughes also pointed to the other side of the ball, where West Virginia ranks sixth nationally in total defense, limiting opponents to 261.8 yards per game. The Mountaineers also are second in the Big 12 in scoring defense at 21.8 points allowed.


"Their defense is stout," Hughes said. "They have a great front seven like they always do.


"Their (defensive backs) are always physical. They are who we thought they would be, so we just have to come out and beat them at the physical game of football and outsmart them."


K-State's defense has not been as stingy, yardage-wise, giving up 427.8 yards per game, but has been more opportunistic with a 10-2 turnover margin. The Wildcats also have blocked four kicks and returned two punts for touchdowns.