In Defense Of The Defense: A Look At The One Thing WVU Does Well

WVU sucks on offense.

There's just no way around it after the offense scored zero points in the final three quarters of the Mountaineers' 19-14 loss to the resurgent Syracuse Orange on Saturday.  And while 19 points may sound like a respectable score for Syracuse, at least half those points were the result of the WVU offense putting the defense in a hole..

Across the board statistically, WVU's defense ranks in the top 10 in the country.  The mix of veteran grit, talent, and yes, defensive coaching prowess (okay, and the fact that we have yet to play an offense with a pulse) has led WVU's defensive unit to the top of the Big East.  And if there's any hope of salvaging this season, it obviously does not rest with the offense.

So where does that leave us?  Well, how about resting on the defense for once?  I understand that turnovers are a part of the game, but I get the feeling that turnovers by our offense have handicapped our defense even more than usual this year.  Turn it over at midfield?  That's one thing.  Blow a scoring chance or, worse yet, give it to the opposing offense in a position where they don't even need a first down to get a field goal?  Another thing entirely. 

The WVU defense is currently #6 in the country, allowing 13.29 points per game.  But how much better would they be were they not schackled with our anemic offense?  As always, let's look at the data:


Touchdown 6 Plays, 80 Yards - Legitimate scoring drive.

Touchdown 1 Play, 92 Yards - Keith Tandy gets burned.

Touchdown 7 Plays, 56 Yards - Legitimate scoring drive.


Touchdown 4 Plays, 72 Yards - Capped off by 60 yard TD pass.

Touchdown 1 Play, 80 Yards - Big play bug strikes again.

Field Goal 11 Plays, 22 Yards - Following interception off Jock Sanders WR pass.


Touchdown 4 Plays, 7 Yards - Follwing Ryan Clarke fumble.

Field Goal 3 Plays, 9 Yards - Following Geno Smith interception.

Touchdown 0 Plays, 60 Yards - Patrick Peterson punt return.

Field Goal 13 Plays, 72 Yards - Legitimate scoring drive.


Field Goal 8 Plays, 62 Yards - Against second team defense.

Touchdown 9 Plays, 66 Yards - Against second team defense.


FIeld Goal 7 Plays, 12 Yards - Followed kickoff return to WVU 45.

Field Goal 10 Plays, 50 yards - A legitimate scoring drive.


Field Goal 6 Plays, 15 Yards - Came off a Geno Smith interception in WVU territory.

Touchdown 5 Plays, 62 Yards - A legitimate scoring drive capped off by a big play.

Field Goal 7 Plays, 71 Yards - A legitimate scoring drive.

Field Goal 6 Plays, 31 Yards - A decent drive that started at the 'Cuse 46 after a WVU 3 and out.

Field Goal 4 Plays, 7 Yards - Followed Geno Smith interception returned to WVU 12.

The verdict:

There have been 19 scoring "drives" against the WVU defense this year.  Five have been short drives that started with favorable field position after a WVU turnover.  Two were the result of poor special teams play.  Two were against the second team defense.  That leaves 10 scoring drives.  Four of those were capped off by a big play.  So that's 6 (SIX!) sustained scoring drives against WVU's first team defense this season.  That, my friends, is dominance. 

And of course, I have to concede that big plays are a part of the game.  But even counting those four drives aided by a big play, WVU's first team defense has yielded 29 points in seven games, or approximately 4.15 points per game.  That's unbelievable, even against our weak schedule. 

So not only is our offense hurting us by not scoring points itself, it's actually inflicting additional wounds by turning the ball over in our own territory, thereby putting our defense in a hole and causing them to give up more points than they otherwise would.  That's a whole new level of incompetence.

And even Jock Sanders would have to admit that if the offense scores 20 points, it's a victory in the books. 

How about this, Jock?  Just score 10 and keep from giving the other team the ball on our side of the field.  That way, the defense can continue to hold the other team to less than 5 points a game and we'll still have a chance to win. 

Deal?  Deal. 

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