Some quick thoughts after a frustrating WVU loss:
- The book on the Kansas State Wildcats isn't a mystery. They play tight to the vest and don't make mistakes. Except tonight they made a ton of them. A turnover, a missed field goal, a touchdown taken off the board for a penalty and over twice as many penalties (9) as they've averaged on the season (4). And they ran for 1 yard.
- We got an answer to our question about whether or not something's been wrong with Clint Trickett. It has been. Once Skyler Howard came into the game to replace an injured Trickett, we saw a lot more of the downfield passes that we'd become accustomed to - you know, the stuff you do when you have weapons like Kevin White and Mario Alford at your disposal. We saw a Mountaineer offense that looked more like what we expected. Now we spend the next week wondering if WVU wins that game if Howard starts (hint: they do). I'll hit the Trickett thing in more depth later (hint: we got more out of him than we ever had any right to expect).
- After going -3 on turnovers for the night, WVU is -16 on turnovers over 11 games this season for a 1.45 average. That's 2nd from last in the FBS. The other 5 teams at the end of that list are Georgia State, Michigan, SMU, Eastern Michigan and New Mexico State. Those teams are a combined 10-40. All the sudden WVU's 6-5 record looks pretty impressive, right? To that point:
#WVU ranked 120th (out of 125) in turnovers lost in 2013. Including so far tonight, they're ranked 126th (out of 128) this season.— Chris Anderson (@CMAnderson247) November 21, 2014
- This Mountaineer defense continues to be quietly outstanding. See above paragraph on turnovers. With every reason to finally throw up their hands and say "what the hell" they keep trotting out there when their offense turns it over on their side of the field and holding teams to field goals. It's impressive and I'm going to do some stat-digging over the next couple days to show y'all just how impressive.
- The biggest concern for WVU on the defensive side of the ball next year is going to be the pass rush. The secondary is outstanding and the front was otherworldly against the run, allowing a scant 5 yards. But the lack of a pass rush allowed Curry Sexton and Tyler Lockett to make double moves, single moves and at one point re-enact scenes from movies together. They had a lot of time to operate. That's not fair to a secondary that could be really, really good if they got a little help on the front.
- Speaking of Lockett he owns WVU. Ten catches for 198. On top of his previous two games against the Mountaineers that totaled 17 catches for 305 and 5 scores. Oh, and he returned a punt 42 yards for a score. Happy graduation Mr. Lockett.
- These guys don't quit. I know that's not much solace on the heels of a trio of games that quite frankly half the team played well enough to win, but it's something. Many times in the last two years we saw this team fight for 3 quarters and then get down double-digits and pack it in. This is in a lot of ways aimed at the defense that keeps them in games they have no business staying in and we'll be seeing a lot of these guys back next year so that's why it matters.
- Hey Vernon Davis maybe try backing away from the oblong object as it's bouncing unpredictably at ever more dangerous angles near your feet. That was plain stupid and there are fully grown and supposedly experienced men paid a lot of money who haven't been able to communicate to Davis how stupid that is. So who's REALLY the stupid one?
- The guy who might be the starting quarterback next year (Skyler Howard) threw the most passes to the receiver (Daikiel Shorts) who will be coming back next year to try to fill the massive chasm left by the departures of Mario Alford and Kevin White. That was encouraging.
- A disappointing loss. Quite possibly a quarterback change in the 3rd to last game of the season. A boatload of questions and frustration at a team that seems to spend a lot of time emptying it's clip into its own feet. I mean that's a lot to talk about, right? Stick with us here at the Musket and hit up the comments to add your thoughts. Tears make beer better.