West Virginia Defense Has A Shot At Redemption From Last Year's Performance.Against Baylor

Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Win as a Team, lose as a Team.

That motto definitely holds true in any sport.  But, there are certainly areas of emphasis within a football team that can be marked as "need for improvement " to help your team come up on the winning end.  This off-season I would label the WVU defense as "Need for Drastic Improvement...And Fast"

Let's rewind for a second to last season.

WVU had steamrolled Marshall, took care of JMU, and did enough to beat a gritty Maryland team.  There were doubts of how good this team really was and there was no better stage than the Big 12 home opener against the high powered Baylor Bears.

What we witnessed next was a barrage of offensive production that could only be describe as a video game on Level- Easy  college football match-up that paired 2 offenses that were highly effective and 2 defenses that were highly over-matched.

Win as a team, lose as a Team.  It took WV all of its 807 yards of production and 70 points to hold off the Bears.  Even those insane numbers made Mountaineer fans uneasy late in the game when the game was still in jeopardy.  It finally took the Offense, yes the offense, to run out the remaining clock with a 1 possession lead in a successful attempt to keep the ball out of Baylor's hands.

Team Stat Comparison

BAY

WVU

1st Downs

34

33

3rd down efficiency

11-16

12-15

4th down efficiency

1-1

0-0

Total Yards

700

807

Passing

581

656

Comp-Att

29-47

45-51

Yards per pass

12.4

12.9

Rushing

119

151

Rushing Attempts

45

37

Yards per rush

2.6

4.1

Penalties

6-56

6-78

Turnovers

1

0

Fumbles lost

0

0

Interceptions thrown

1

0

Possession

25:40

34:20

We had won the game, but our Defense was exposed.

Let's fast forward to this year.  Baylor is once again firing on all cylinders' on offense.  Their production has been downright nasty thus far.

2013 OVERALL FBS RANKINGS

PASSING YARDS

444.3 1st Overall

RUSHING YARDS

307.0 5th Overall

POINTS FOR

69.7 1st Overall

POINTS AGAINST

7.7 2nd Overall

For those current players that were on the field last year, they have to remember that bitter taste in their mouths as the Bears scored touchdown, after touchdown on their home turf.  As the Bears eclipsed 40, then 50, and even 60 points one would have to say enough is enough.  Every player from last year should have this game circled for a chance to again store pride into the hard-nosed hitting, low scoring Defense that Mountaineer faithful know they are capable of.

Our Defense has showed vast improvements from last year.  We showed true grit playing out in Norman in an effort that was good enough for a win if the O could have helped us out a bit.  This D also knows long gone are the days when our O will score 50+ points as it had the previous year.  (I'm confident, Holgs will get this back, but currently it's a work in progress).

This Saturday they face their stiffest test to date.  Baylor will get yards, they'll get first downs and they most likely will score some points.  But the goal is to get stops, create turnovers and put the offense in a position to score.  WVU is starting to become a more complete team. The defense is stepping up and helping out this young offense find their way.   They played great against OK State, but now they play the high powered Bears.  Such is life in the Big 12.  I truly hope it's challenge accepted.

When the Defense travel to Waco this Saturday, redemption should be on their mind.  I look for a much improved defense to step onto that field, not intimidated by the crowd, looking to make another statement that the woes of last year are behind them.

Offense- if you could score 71 points that wouldn't hurt either.

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