Chip Shots

by Jim Buzzerd

Red zone woes, Top 15

Going to touch on two things regarding the West Virginia University football and men’s basketball teams. The football team dropped a 17-13 decision to Texas last Saturday in Austin. It was another game where the defense did what it needed to win, but the offense just couldn’t get it done, especially in the fourth quarter when two fourth down passes fell incomplete in the end zone. On Monday Bob Huggins’ basketball team was ranked 15th in the AP Preseason Poll, which is the sportswriter’s poll.
Saturday’s defensive battle began with the look of a shootout as each team scored on its first possession. Leddie Brown’s 12-yard touchdown run at the 8:58 mark of the first period would be WVU’s only touchdown of the game. The Longhorns put and end of Brown’s run of 100-yard rushing games holding the junior to a net 47 yards. The team’s total was just 43 yards with two sacks of Jarret Doege contributing to that total. Doege turned in another 300-yard passing game completing 35-50 passes for 317 yards. Texas ended up with a 363 to 360-yard edge in total offense.
Head coach Neal Brown laid the game on the line twice calling for passes on fourth and one. The first was a fourth and one pass from the Texas 16 to Mike O’Laughlin in the endzone. The ball could have been caught. The second fourth down attempt was from the Texas eight-yard line with Doege’s pass to Ali Jennings being batted away. What looked like interference went uncalled and WVU’s chance to win went out the door.
“Today was on me,” Brown said. “It comes down to two fourth quarter fourth downs in the red zone. I want people to understand I don’t regret going for it. There’s all kinds of data that says it is the right thing to do by going for it. In this league, you better score touchdowns there to win. That is proven week in and week out.”
West Virginia returns home this Saturday to face TCU in a noon game televised on FOX. The Mountaineers will then get a week off before hosting Oklahoma on the 28th and then end the regular season with a trip to Iowa State on December 5.
Some folks care about this early ranking a lot more than I, but the WVU basketball team is 15th in the AP preseason Top 25 poll. Huggins has a team loaded with potential. A team that could be worthy of a Top 10 or better ranking. Personally, any ranking this early is meaningless, especially in basketball where the results on the court for the next five months will decide things.