Who are the Mountaineers? No one seems to know.
The West Virginia Mountaineers and Kansas State Wildcats seem to be in a competition over which is the most confounding Big 12 team of the 2021. From week to week, you don’t really know which version of WVU you’re going to get, and that remains true as they prepare to travel to Fort Worth for a night game in the Carter amidst TCU’s Homecoming festivities.
What we know about WVU is that we don’t really know: one week, they play the Sooners tough in Norman, the next they’re losing at home to Texas Tech. Coming off of a bye, will Neal Brown have his team ready to pull off a mild upset?
Quarterback Jarret Doege is a frustrating guy to watch for Mountaineer fans, and he has led an offense that has been mostly impotent with him at the helm over most of the last two seasons. He’s not bad really — he’s completed 65% of his passes for 1,444 yards and eight touchdowns — but he’s not really good either (see the five interceptions), and he has a knack for doing the wrong thing at the worst possible time. Part of that is because he’s been under duress, having been sacked 16 times already. Woof.
Doege isn’t a threat to run really, but Leddie Brown certainly is. He’s averaging 91 all purpose yards per game, with the vast majority of those coming on the ground. Brown averages 4.4 yards per carry and has six touchdowns on the ground. He’s a tough runner that has been bottled up some in Big 12 play, but is always a threat to bust a big gain. He had a huge day on the ground against then #15 Virginia Tech, but but OU, Tech, and Baylor have all been able to hold him in check.
Brown can get going if the passing game does, and a lot of that will fall on Winston Wright. The junior is averaging nearly 12 yards per catch but has yet to get into the end zone this fall.
Overall, the Eers are averaging 28 points per game and just over 375 yards, but no one that has watched them play would call them an explosive offensive unit.
Surrendering just 22 points per game to opponents, the WVU defense is salty as hell. They gave the Spencer Rattler Oklahoma offense so much trouble that the fanbase was calling for Caleb Williams, and looked primed to pull off an upset until late.
It’s a bend, not break, unit, allowing 350 yards per game, but it’s going to be hard to score once you get in the red zone. The only loss they looked bad in was at Baylor, and that was just a weird game that seemed to have everything go green and gold’s way.
WVU has collected 16 sacks, and they can really get after the quarterback. They have 13 QB hits and 18 PBUs, as this is an aggressive, attacking unit at all three levels. I personally can’t wait to see how QJ matches up against the corners after his breakout performance in Norman.
The sacks can come from a lot of places, but you should know that there’s still a Stills on the roster somehow, and Dante has been excellent in 2021, with four sacks, 13 tackles, seven TFLs and two QB hits. Hopefully him and Max don’t get too much quality time together Saturday, but I have a feeling he will find his way to the backfield.
I mean, TCU should win. It’s a home game, the offense played well, and this is a pretty predictable offense that even this version of a Horned Frog defense should be able to contain at the very least.
Currently a five point favorite, I think the Frogs take the positive momentum from Oklahoma on the offensive side of the ball, and play with more confidence. Hopefully they can run it a little better — even if Zach Evans remains sideline due to injury — and not only win, but cover.
Prediction: TCU Football 34, WVU 28.