MORGANTOWN, WV - NOVEMBER 25: A member of the West Virginia Mountaineers holds up his helmet before the take the field against the University of Pittsburgh Panthers during the 2011 Backyard Brawl on November 25, 2011 at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
During Friday's game I had a bad feeling. We were not playing up to our potential and making mistake after mistake in all phases of the game. I just knew we were about to gut punched by this Pitt team.
Luckily for us all that feeling was dead wrong. We narrowly escape the jaws of defeat with a great defensive stand and are still in the hunt for the Big East Championship.
Offense: C –
How have we gotten worse since the beginning of the season? We had our best game against the best defense in the nation and now we can’t score against terrible Big East teams. Other than Stedman Bailey, our players are reverting back to the Jeff Mullen days with their performances.
We should have an easy time with USF on Thursday, but we could get embarrassed in a potential BCS game. Our line forgets to block at times. When Geno does have time our receivers can’t get open or he can’t find them. We have nothing that can even resemble a running game.
Instead of the Casteel Curtain, I think I’m going to call our defense Tim Tebow from now on. It may start out looking terrible, but by the end of the game we are ahead on the scoreboard. Our defensive line and linebackers were able to get consistent pressure and fill running lanes after Pitt’s first two drives. If we had not Stew’d the defense on multiple occasions because of poor special teams plays the defense would not have allowed 20 points
Special Teams: D+
After Pitt’s first punt I texted Charley that Tavon should never return another punt. The next punt hit one of our players because Tavon yet again refused to catch a punt. The next punt with right through his arms and was recovered by Pitt. The only saving grace was the play of Corey Smith. He was the game’s MVP in my book. If he does not get that last punt across the 50 Pitt would’ve been able to run the ball more to get into field goal range.
Defensive Coaching: B+
Jeff Casteel’s defense appears to be rounding into its normal late season form. It took a little while longer than usual, but it is finally coming together. Not everyone loves the 3-3-5, but it has been good for us over the years. Now the question is will he leave to join Rich Rod in Arizona?
Dana Holgorsen: D+
Saying he is occasionally demonstrative and demeaning on the sidelines is like saying Urban Meyer occasionally changes his mind. While I like the fire and passion it went too far Friday night. His actions on the sidelines reminded me of some of our fans reactions on message boards. Every time we didn’t score he would throw a headset or yell at a player. Not even Huggins goes that far with his anger.
I grade him at a D+ because towards the end of the game I think he realized he was acting crazy. He began to act more like a teacher and less like an abusive father. His play calling was pretty poor in my opinion too.
I think the crowd was louder and more into this game than it was for LSU. I know I didn’t sit down the entire 4th quarter and everyone around me was really loud. This is the type of crowd we need at every game to be a "big time" program in the Big 12. We have the population and emotions as a fanbase to do it.
This is where I would normally pick on the students but I’m not going to pick on them. Even though I’m pretty sure WVU sold tickets in the student section because the corner was full before the 50 yard line seats. They were awesome the entire game. They produced noise when us general admission ticket holders were quiet and just waiting for something bad to happen. Oh, to be young and not know about all the stomach punches WVU has taken over the years.