It was a bit nervier than expected early, but the Mountaineers (3-1, 2-1 Big 12) used a big 2nd quarter from Leddie Brown to steady themselves and take control of the game before cruising to a 38-17 win over the Kansas Jayhawks that wasn’t even that close.
- The defense continues to be awesome. Both of Kansas’ first quarter scoring possessions started in our own half of the field, and then the Jayhawks literally didn’t cross the 50 for the rest of the game. Overall we held them to just 157 yards and 7 first downs while generating 5 sacks and 10 TFL. The front seven is particularly special, with Akheem Mesidor ascending to create a devastating 4-man rotation with Jeffrey Pooler and the Stills bros. On the back end, newcomers Tony Fields and Alonzo Addae have exceeded every expectation, and the open field tackling of the group as a whole is as good as I can remember. It really is the first championship-level defense that we’ve had in nearly a decade, but unfortunately..
- I’m not really sure what we’re trying to be as an offense sometimes. I can appreciate the idea of taking shots down the field, but it seems like we take an inordinate amount of them either on first down, putting us behind the sticks if we don’t connect, or on third down when gaining 7-8 yards would do, forcing a punt. It really seems like we’d be far better off if we simply committed ourselves to Leddie Brown as an identity. Good things happen almost every time we give him the ball, and even more importantly, it feels like the worst-case scenario for any Leddie touch is a 2 yard gain. He finished the day with 23 touches for 231 yards and 2 touchdowns, and objectively he should be the focal point of the offense going forward.
- Drops. Sooooo many drops. We came into the game with an 8.6% team drop rate, good for 6th worst in the country, and we certainly didn’t do anything to improve our standing today. I’m not sure what’s going on with Sam James, but he had three drops by himself, including two on back-to-back possessions in the second quarter and one on a sure-fire touchdown just before half time. Simply put, we need him to be better, so hopefully he’s able to get some momentum going after his lone catch of the afternoon ended in a score.
- Bryce Ford-Wheaton still makes some mental mistakes – he dropped an admittedly tough one in the second quarter and didn’t get his head around quickly enough on a post just before half time – but man is he going to be a handful if he ever figures it all the way out. He finished the day with 5 snags for 86 yards and a touchdown, and is as physical a presence as we’ve had on the outside since Kevin White.
- This is now three consecutive games where opponents have scored off our turnovers. It ultimately didn’t matter because, you know, Kansas is Kansas, but we really have to stop giving teams free points. We’re a good team, but we’re not so good that we can do that against real teams and expect the result to be anything more than a coin flip.
- 8 penalties for 76 yards represents progress. It’s still bad, but some of those calls were questionable at best, and regardless, it’s better than what we’ve averaged so far this season. Hopefully we can continue trending in the right direction.
Players of the Game
It’s hard to pick anybody else here really. Leddie helped us find our rhythm as an offense on that 91-yard scoring drive in the second quarter, then effectively finished Kansas off with an 87-yard burst late in the third. Just an all-around great performance.
Tweet of the Game
“This is like if Bob Huggins was the football coach.”