The West Virginia Mountaineers are coming off a 27-21 win over the Virginia Tech Hokies. The Mountaineers controlled the game for three quarters, but two turnovers in the fourth quarter allowed the Hokies an opportunity to win the game in the final minutes. However, the Mountaineer defense made a stand on their three-yard line to hold on to the six-point win.
"I thought it was huge for us to get the Black Diamond Trophy back to Morgantown," said West Virginia head coach Neal Brown during his weekly Tuesday press conference. Great feeling in the locker room after the game. Those are some of those special moments that you remember for a long time. I thought it was a tremendous atmosphere for college football on Saturday."
After watching the game on Sunday, Brown shared his thoughts on all three phases of the game, starting with special teams.
"We've got to punt the ball more consistently," said Brown. "We only punted the ball four times. One of them, Tyler [Sumpter], really hit a bomb and really flipped the field position. We were able to get a touchdown out of it, but the other three, we got to be more consistent."
"They had a big kickoff return on us. We've been really good on kickoff here the last three years, but we let one get out on us – missed a couple of tackles," continued Brown. "And then, the penalty on the kickoff return. We had a pretty decent return, and then we had a penalty that got moved back inside the 10, which is not what we're looking for." Also adding, "Staley did a tremendous job on kickoffs. We had four touchbacks," and Casey Legg's 44-yarder in the third quarter.
"I felt like our field goal block team did a nice job of kind of squirting through and effecting the kick they missed right before half," said Brown. "Our punt coverage was really good. We didn't have a whole lot of hangtime on the three punts we had to cover, and I thought our gunners and our cover team got down really well."
The defense was the story of the game after holding Virginia Tech at the WVU three-yard line. However, Brown highlighted a few defensive breakdowns, most notably, Braxton Burmeister scrambling for 25 yards on a third and 24.
"Our situational awareness just has to be better," he said. "A couple of penalties allowed third down conversions as well and our communication in the secondary. I don't know if we handled the noise well, even though it was at home – it was loud when they had the ball, and we got to do a better job of communicating – that led to a couple of explosives as well."
"I thought our sudden change was tremendous," he continued. "The big kickoff return - no points. Both turnovers - no points. I think that ended up being the story of the game.
"We've been really good in the red zone so far this year. And then we created negative plays, six sacks, 10 tackles for loss, and then 2.5 yards per carry."
Offensively, Brown noted the fast start and averaging 5.2 yards per carry but pointed out the two turnovers in the fourth quarter, along with mentioning the team sits at -5 in turnover margin.
Brown concluded by announcing the program's players of the week.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Offensive lineman of the Week
Zach Frazier – "He graded out at 92% for getting his job done.
Blue Collar Award
Doug Nester – "He played really well – second graded offensive lineman but being inside that program the last two years then fortunate enough to get him back home, here."
Special Teams Award
Evan Staley and Casey Legg – "I thought they were huge in the game. They both earned it."
Defensive Player of the Week
Jared Bartless – Five tackles, including three sacks and a forced fumble
Offensive Player of the Week
Leddie Brown – 19 carries, 161 yards, one touchdown. Three receptions for 35 yards.
SCOUT TEAM PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
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