Can they make a run?
The West Virginia University Football Team picked up a 27-21 double overtime win over Baylor last Saturday in Morgantown. West Virginia is now 2-1 overall and 1-1 in the Big 12 Conference. The game was another sloppy effort by the offense, but an excellent effort was turned in by the defense led by senior Darius Stills.
Stills, as he did in Waco last year, spent almost the entire game in the Baylor backfield. The Fairmont senior was credited with 2 ½ sacks and 3 ½ tackles for a loss, while Tony Fields II, true freshman Ahkeem Mesidor, Jeffery Pooler Jr. and Jared Bartlett also were involved in sacks.
A youthful and inexperienced West Virginia offense made the game challenging at times with a plethora of mistakes that will keep head coach Neal Brown and his staff busy correcting them well into the open weekend. West Virginia (was penalized 12 times for 102 yards, a number of those coming during the beginning of offensive possessions. Quarterback Jarret Doege threw a pair of interceptions, one resulting in Baylor’s lone first-half score, and fumbled once when he was stripped attempting to pass in the pocket.
“At times, it was hard to watch and it was extremely frustrating, but in the second half the offense didn’t screw it up,” Brown admitted. “If you look at it, the offense had the ball 31 minutes and we figured out a way to win by going three-for-three on fourth down and in the red zone we were four-for-four.”
While the offense has struggled with penalties and execution at times, there are times when they look quite promising like when WVU took the opening possession 70 yards for a touchdown on 15 plays. Then the Mountaineers struggled the rest of the half in large part due to three turnovers. West Virginia’s second score came in the third quarter on an 11 play 72 yard drive. So, we know they can function when they don’t make mistakes.
One stat that stands out is WVU out rushing Baylor 134 yards to 27 yards. Kudos to the defense for that and the offense for their improved running game from a year ago. The 134-yard total isn’t an awesome number but, considering how poorly the Mountaineers ran the ball last season this is a noteworthy improvement. The line is still struggling at times, but junior running back Leddie Brown is helping them out with superior efforts.
Saturday Brown ran 27 times for 93 yards and two touchdowns. Looking ahead one would think coach Brown probably doesn’t really want running back Brown carrying the ball 27 times a game. On the season Brown has 66 carries for 320 yards for over 106 yards per game average. That also works out to a nice 5.1 per carry average, which, of course includes gaudy numbers put up against Eastern Kentucky.
Brown and the rest of the Mountaineers get a week off to rejuvenate before they return on the 17th to face Kansas at noon in Morgantown. The game will be televised on FS1. WVU will be a heavy favorite in that game, but then will travel to Texas Tech and host Kansas State in games that will likely be evenly handicapped. A 5-1 record heading to Austin on November 7, isn’t impossible if the offense gets its act together.