Big happenings in the little apple.
West Virginia fans can and should be riding a wave of jubilation. After a string of losses, a win - any win - helps to drown the mounting frustration. A win over a ranked conference foe on their own turf, however, is a whole different flavor of relief. With Jarret Doege assuming QB1 duties, West Virginia’s offense inherited a different form.
Faster, looser, more urgent- that would be an apt description of what was on display in Manhattan on Saturday.
In its new iteration, the Mountaineers seemed geared to adapt and overcome. It’s worthy of celebrating and indicative of a team that still believes it has something to play for. Here are week 12’s offensive helmet stickers:
Jarret Doege, QB- Whether in Bowling Green orange or West Virginia blue, Doege looks like a play-maker. In his inaugural start as a Mountaineer, the MAC transfer played well, very well. 20/30, 234 yards and 3 TD’s while not turning the ball over is as good as West Virginia has been under center all season long. Doege was able to evade pressure on several crucial downs and ultimately hit targets far beyond the chains. In addition, he made throws across the middle of the field in tight windows, illustrating a high degree of confidence. The proof is in the (highlights) pudding:
There are still two games left- must-wins for West Virginia in the pursuit of bowl eligibility. While Austin Kendall showed some grit in the face of injuries, inexperience and general chaos up to this point, Doege simply changes the dynamic. Saturday provides another hefty challenge in the form of Oklahoma State. If he can recreate similar magic in back-to-back weeks, Doege will ascend to legitimate fan club territory.
George Campbell, WR- Campbell and touchdowns- it’s sort of becoming a thing, isn’t it? The Florida State transfer reaped immediate benefits on Saturday with his roommate under center en route to posting a career day of five receptions, 92 yards and two TD’s.
It was, by a mountain mile, the most complete game Campbell has played in his long, injury-plagued career. With this critical stretch now approaching, Campbell needs to harness the five-star potential that made him one of the most coveted high school prospects in the nation several years ago. With Sean Ryan grounded the last few weeks and only now returning to action, it will take far more than a Sam James-a-thon to power the Mountaineers to bowl eligibility. Campbell has all the ability to be both a possession receiver and a red zone threat as he displayed so vividly on Saturday. Could this be the crescendo his otherwise unremarkable career has been building towards? I think we're all eager to find out.
Leddie Brown, RB- While senior Kennedy McKoy trotted out with the first team to start the game, it was the sophomore from Philadelphia who helped cement the upset. I wrote yesterday about how the running game had a sort-of resurgence on Saturday and Brown really exemplified why. He once again looked powerful and beat contact with contact on several big runs including a 19-yard rumble that set up a pivotal scoring drive. At this point, any signs of life from a vegetative run game is noteworthy but it seemed to find its footing in sequence with Jarret Doege mixing things up in the pass game.
I'm not here to dissect causation. Whether Doege's emergence sparked the ground game or the other way around matters not. What truly matters is that Brown and McKoy both had raised their hand in key moments on Saturday and provided just enough wrinkle offensively to open up the field so that the big plays could materialize. Suffice to say, it's all happening at precisely the right time. This new wellspring of hope at the 11th hour, courtesy of West Virginia's offense, could be what saves the 2019 season from being tossed in the dumpster.