Chip Shots

Jim Buzzerd

Passing grade?

The West Virginia University Football Team spotted 21-point underdog Kansas a 10-0 lead last Saturday before WVU scored 38 unanswered points to post a 38-17 win over the Jayhawks. The win leaves the Mountaineers with a 3-1 record heading into this Saturday’s game at 1-3 Texas Tech. The unusual 5:30 p.m. kickoff in Lubbock will be televised on ESPN2.
West Virginia dominated the statistics as well as the game. WVU piled up 544 yards in total offense to just 157 yards for Kansas. The Mountaineers had a 29-7 edge in first downs, 226 rushing yards to 62 yards and 218 passing yards to 95 yards. In the second half the West Virginia defense held the Jayhawks to 17 total yards on 23 plays. That’s good stuff and as a result the Mountaineers are the number one defense nationally this week for giving up just 240.3 yards per game.
Now, I’ll concede this defense is good and will likely get better, but the stats may not get better. You have to factor in that Eastern Kentucky and Kansas are two of the four opponents thus far. And there is that scar from the Oklahoma State game when WVU played solidly on defense except late in the fourth quarter when OSU kept the ball eight minutes on a coffin sealing touchdown drive. West Virginia will be seeing better offenses the rest of the way.
Running back Leddie Brown was exceptional carrying the ball 18 times for 195 yards including an 87-yard touchdown gallop. The rest of the offense, namely the passing game, needs to get better. The numbers in the passing game don’t really tell the story the eyes saw Saturday. Quarterback Jarret Doege was 26-44 and one interception for 318 yards and three touchdowns. Those numbers would have been significantly better if at least five dropped balls that should have been caught were.
Doege has some blame to share also, because some of his throws were poor, and easy throws at that. Most will give Doege a pass for now, I think. Despite the good passing stats from Saturday I saw more problems than successes. I mean, can coaching fix bad hands? This isn’t a one game thing either, there have been multiple drops in every game.
An interesting side note for the trip to Lubbock is that it’s Doege’s hometown which should be a motivating factor. Doege’s brother, Seth, played quarterback for Texas Tech and his offensive coordinator was Neal Brown.
Next week’s home game with Kansas State has been set for a noon kickoff on either ESPN or ESPN2.