by Jim Buzzerd
I’m going to try and keep this rant short, as I need to be on the road soon. I’m still in a state of shock over how poorly the West Virginia University Football Team played Saturday night against Iowa State in Ames, Iowa. West Virginia lost the game 30-14 and they were lucky the score wasn’t worse as the Cyclones totally dominated WVU on both sides of the ball. ISU out gained WVU 498 yards to 152; they had a 25-9 edge in first downs and had possession of the ball for over 37 minutes of the game.
WVU’s only trip into ISU territory was following a first quarter interception at the Cyclone 44 yard line. WVU was able to score following the turnover and led 7-0. That was the end of the offense for the night. On 10 other possessions WVU could not cross midfield. A return of a blocked field goal for a touchdown provided the Mountaineers with their only other score and kept the outcome in doubt into the fourth period.
Going into the game I was admittedly skeptical of just how worthy WVU was of its ranking as the sixth best team in the country, but I still considered the Mountaineers capable of eventually earning a spot that high. But they needed to clean up their act as the team had been stumbling a bit since the first quarter of the Texas Tech game. Saturday offered the Mountaineers a chance to do just that and they failed miserably.
Six weeks ago I was very confident in this West Virginia offense. I thought it was good enough that not even a defense like Alabama’s could throttle it like the Cyclones did. Of course my reasoning for that confidence was based on WVU’s Heisman candidate Will Grier playing quarterback. But Grier suddenly looks like anything, but a Heisman candidate.
He threw three interceptions against Kansas. Saturday he looked lost many times. On TV it’s hard to always know if he has open receivers, but at times it seemed he was hesitant to throw for fear of being picked off. Not saying that was the case; just have a hard time believing Iowa State is good enough to cover WVU’s receivers all night. Which leads to the seven times Grier was sacked. The offensive line is playing very poorly and Grier did not need to have as much pressure on him as he did, but the knock here is that on four, possibly five of those sacks he could have thrown the ball away and didn’t.
The coaching staff failed as well. The running game seems to have one play; a delayed handoff into the center of the line. Every once in awhile Kennedy McKoy or Martell Pettaway can find a seam, but mostly the run is not there. My personal opinion is poor blocking and predictable play calling has doomed the run game.
I don’t know if a playoff spot was ever realistic, but a lot will have to happen for WVU to reenter that conversation. Until Saturday night a conference championship did seem realistic, and while it’s still on the table, if the WVU team from Saturday shows up for any more games there will be no shot at a Big 12 title.
One basketball note for you; on October 21 five star recruit Oscar Tshiebwe (shoo-bway) will announce where he intends to play college basketball. He’s 6-8, 230 and looks like a man among boys in his videos. WVU and coach Bob Huggins are said to be in good shape here.