Initial Thoughts on West Virginia's Win Over Kansas
West Virginia's lackadaisical start resulted in a 10-0 deficit within the first six minutes of the game is not exactly the start I had in mind considering it was the first time fans were allowed to attend the game.
The defense started well, outside of Nicktroy Fortune letting a ball slip through his fingers into the hands of Andrew Parchment for a 43-yard touchdown to give Kansas the early advantage, and they finished strong too. The 10 points in the first quarter is the only points the defense gave on the day and both drives started near midfield.
Offensively, if it wasn’t for Leddie Brown and the offensive line, the Mountaineers may have not moved the ball. After essentially calling out the receivers the last two weeks, as a unit, the receivers dropped six passes in the first half, and I’d be willing to bet the coaching staff had a higher number.
Doege began the second half with an interception, which credit defensive end Malcolm Lee on reading the play and jumping in front of the screen. Then, on the second offensive series of the half, an unsportsmanlike penalty for pulling players off of a pile (I’ve never heard of it) killed the drive.
It would take Leddie Brown busting up the middle for an 87-yard touchdown run to give the Mountaineers cushion. Really can’t say enough about this young man, he gets stronger as the game goes on and so does the offensive line. He earned every bit of 195 yards on the ground and also chipped in five receptions for 36 yards, totaling 221 yards and two touchdowns on the day.
The defense fed off the touchdown and continued their dominance throughout the second half. It says a lot about this group coming out and performing at a high level (gave a ton of effort) against a 0-3 Kansas team. It would have been easy to just “show up” and it’s a good thing they didn’t because it’s clear that the Mountaineers will have to rely on running the ball and defense.
Doege and the receivers settled in, some of it had to do with play calling and finding holes and sitting underneath the defense then getting upfield.
The offense as a whole is still a young group, you can see some growth especially from Bryce Ford-Wheaton, who had a couple of drops in the first half but came back and led the team in receiving with five receptions for 89 yards and a touchdown.
Penalties were a problem in the first half as the Mountaineers were on the receiving end of seven of them but cleaned it up in the second half, only being penalized twice.
Overall, it wasn’t pretty but I wouldn’t necessarily call it ugly either. It was a day the Mountaineers fell behind early, rode the defense until the offense got going, and pulled away from the Jayhawks. It’s not pleasing to the eye at times but the W at the end of the day sure is.
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