Week 14 Offensive & Defensive Helmet Stickers
Football, we hardly knew ye.
On Friday, West Virginia found itself watching the final seconds of its season burn into the ether and despite a solid victory over Gary Patterson and the Horned Frogs, the long off season now begins. Going out on a victorious note was no doubt the preferred exit strategy for Neal Brown and his group and the nectar of the final win that will go a long way in fueling West Virginia as it looks ahead towards 2020.
Offensively, it was by no means a perfect day and, in fact, much of it was downright ugly. Neither team was able to crest 300 yards total offense and Jarret Doege played by far the sloppiest game of his young tenure in Morgantown by tossing three interceptions. On defense, Tykee Smith and Sean Mahone played with their hair on fire and helped West Virginia hold human rocket sled Jalen Reagor to just 57 yards receiving. Ultimately, the Mountaineers made enough big plays to edge TCU and seal a three point win. Here's the final round of helmet stickers for West Virginia's 20-17 win over Gary Patterson's Horned Frogs.
Jarret Doege, QB- It was a drizzly, chilly day in Fort Worth and little and less was pretty which included quarterback play. In his third start for West Virginia, Doege and the offense capitalized early on a first quarter turnover by finding Leddie Brown for a three yard catch and score. Following that early scoring drive, however, the Texas native took a reckless turn and missed the mark on multiple passes, three of which ended up in the arms of TCU defenders. His 20-35, 158 yard line to go along with the three turnovers is largely middling and would be even less remarkable were it not for the two touchdown strikes, highlighted by a 35 yard gem that landed just over the shoulder of receiver Isaiah Esdale and effectively putting the game out of reach. Doege's season-capping performance was far from pretty but it got the job done. With two years of eligibility still remaining, the former Bowling Green standout carries all the momentum at the quarterback position and can enter the lead up to 2020 with his head up and a battle-tested roster behind him.
Kennedy McKoy, RB- It's never easy saying goodbye and it feels like McKoy, who figures to get at least some consideration as an NFL prospect, has been at West Virginia for the last half decade. In his swan song as a Mountaineer, the North Carolina native finished with 64 total yards, including a 36 yard burst on one of West Virginia's many stalled drives. It was a fairly quiet finish to an otherwise successful career that saw McKoy tally 2,720 yards from scrimmage and 25 TD's. It was almost impossible for West Virginia to get anything going on the ground this season and veterans like McKoy, unfortunately, had to shoulder a fair majority of the blame. With a final victory in hand and a solid legacy to stand on, McKoy's final day in gold and blue was a proud one and little else should matter.
Leddie Brown, RB- It was a solid day for West Virginia's primary ball-carriers down in Fort Worth as Brown, the heavy favorite to emerge as the lead running back in 2020, racked up 88 total yards in addition to a TD grab in the first quarter. Brown is potentially primed for a big year in 2020 and he showcased why on Saturday, exhibiting his formidable blend of size, power, speed and receiving ability. While he was snake-bitten like the rest of the Mountaineers RB corps this season, it's easy to see that the Philadelphia native has all the makings of a future pro. If the offensive line is able to patch its many holes en route to next season, Brown will be in store for big returns.
Isaiah Esdale, WR- Fireworks were hard to come by through the air on Saturday but perhaps the biggest bang came in the form of Esdale's score in the waning minutes of the game.
It was a beautiful sequence to cap a flat offensive outing by both teams. Esdale, who has only seen action in brief portions in 2019, deserves a lot of credit here for running a good route, displaying great body control and concentrating all the way through the play to hit the pylon. His two receptions for 39 yards was the second best mark on the day for the Mountaineers and should give the sophomore from Elkton, MD some extra chips to play with as position battles loom only months away.
Tykee Smith, S- 2019 ended much the same way that it began for the true freshman from Philadelphia: loudly. Smith finished Saturday with four tackles, 0.5 TFL and one very impressive interception in the game's early minutes that he ran back 39 yards to set up the ensuing Leddie Brown touchdown. Smith's play this season has been fast, violent and not at all indicative of a young player just getting his feel for the college game. With a budding defensive nucleus around him, Smith is already flashing future All-Big 12 and, perhaps, All-American bona fides.
Sean Mahone, S- Mahone wasn't one of the marquee defensive names heading into 2019. As the clock struck zero on Saturday, he served notice to Mountaineer nation and, to some extent the Big 12, as to why he should be one of those names heading into 2020. Against TCU, the junior tallied six total tackles and chipped in an interception to boot. Perhaps the defining play of his entire season occurred early in the first quarter when he absolutely destroyed a TCU receiver, causing the ball to flutter into the arms of safety Tykee Smith. No doubt defensive backs coach Jahmile Addae looked on nostalgically from the sideline, as it was an eerie call back to the work he once did in a West Virginia jersey.
Shea Campbell, LB- It's always a great thing when an in-state kid can steal the headlines, especially if it's his last spin on the gridiron. The Morgantown native gets defensive MVP honors after his effort against Max Duggan and the Horned Frogs offense, going for eight tackles, a sack and 2.5 TFL. The moment was in no way too big for him and he played like a man possessed as it was his final one playing for the team he grew up miles down the road from,. Like fellow mountain state-er Reese Donahue, Campbell leaves behind an indelible imprint on a program in the midst of a climb and gets to walk out the door a winner one last time.