I think Shelton Gibson is the most important player on the team
When Dana was lauding Shelton last year, I thought “Really Dana? You’ve had Tavon, Stedman, and Kevin White just at WVU, not to mention loads of other receivers and Shelton is one of the best? We’ll see”. Four games into his second year and Shelton is starting to open some national eyes. The Mountaineers were down against the Wildcats before Shelton made a spectacular grab while having his helmet ripped off. That one play turned the tide.
WVU has plenty of receiving options. Daikel Shorts has become the man on third down. Jovon Durante has started to figure out the inside slot. Ka’Raun White offers a big body presence along the outside and across the middle, but no one else offers West Virginia the single shot-in-the-arm that Gibson does. When safeties roll coverage to other receivers and leave him one-on-one with a cornerback, Howard is throwing the ball deep. After seeing the play on Saturday, is there any doubt that is the right call?
I think the light has come on for Jovon Durante
Durante had a bad route against Missouri that resulted in an interception for Howard. Against Youngstown State, he blew a block on a wide receiver screen that had major potential. The coaches and fans were obviously frustrated. Against BYU last week, we finally saw the coaches change the game plan for Jovon and it worked wonders. He finally registered a catch, catching 6 passes and displaying speed and quickness. The confidence came back.
Against Kansas State, Durante led all receivers with 7 catches. Howard found him on a crossing route in the third quarter and Durante quickly turned up field, saw the first down marker and got the first down. Later in the same drive, on 4th and 6th when I was screaming “TAKE THE POINTS!!!” Howard found Durante on an inside slant to get the first down. Rushel Shell would eventually fumble but twice on that drive Durante made necessary catches. Finally it all culminated with the game-winning touchdown. Durante starts on the left side of the formation, works his way right, weaving through defenders and hauls in a beautiful throw from Skyler. Good job Jovon.
I think Big 12 Defenses are atrocious, and not just because of the offenses
Kansas, Texas Tech and Texas (!!) are all ranked 105th or worse in scoring defense. Oklahoma State, Iowa State and Oklahoma make six teams who are ranked 85th or worse in scoring defense, giving up 33.5 points or more per game. Kansas State is the number 12 scoring defense, averaging 16.5 points per game. WVU is 24th and Baylor is 32nd. Regarding Baylor, they played 3 cupcakes. Now that they’ve played two Big 12 teams, they’ve given up 66 points (33 per game) which would rank right there with Oklahoma State.
If you are of the opinion that WVU should be winning by more, first off, why? Second, keep in mind that BYU came into the WVU game allowing under 350 yards per game and Kansas State had no allowed 300 yards per game, until WVU. The rest of the defenses WVU will face this season are nowhere near as stingy as the defenses WVU has faced.
I think I say it every week but give Tony Gibson more money
Gibby's #DAWGS have now played 19 Big 12 games since he became DC. In all 19 of them, they've held the opponent to 50% or less on 3rd down.— Jed Drenning (@TheSignalCaller) October 2, 2016
I think Justin Crawford has some Odell Beckham in him
Professional analysis: Justin Crawford is jacked and he has great hands @CMAnderson247 pic.twitter.com/RDQCzEdewG— Carter Sokolowski (@CjsMountaineers) October 1, 2016
On Crawford’s fourth quarter touchdown, watch both fullbacks, Michael Ferns and Eli Wellman. They pancake two Kansas State defenders. Those blocks allowed Crawford to stroll into the endzone and start the comeback.
I think teams have tried to make WVU methodical and it’s backfiring
BYU and Kansas State both came into their games knowing that they didn’t have the speed to keep up with WVU. The plan was to play coverage and make WVU march down the field. In the past, that plan has worked. Dana, Skyler and Clint would get antsy having to take 3 or 4 minutes and 9 or 10+ plays to score. They want to go deep, they want chunk plays, they want quickness. BYU and KSU would not allow that.
WVU scored 4 offensive touchdowns against BYU. Three of those took at least 12 plays and over 80 yards. WVU scored two offensive touchdowns against KSU, both of which required at least 8 plays. That’s five drives and 54 plays. WVU still likes to go tempo but for the most part we are avoiding the stupid penalties or stupid plays that kill drives.
Now I said for the most part. Rushel Shell had a stupid play that killed a 10 play drive as WVU started its comeback. Fumbling at the two-yard line, I am surprised he was even allowed back in the game. WVU’s two longest drives of the game resulted in no points. Howard’s pass to Gibson fell incomplete to kill a 13 play drive and Shell’s fumble killed a 10 play drive. The good news is that as WVU is able to pull these drives off, they wear down defenses and run them ragged, allowing them to score more in the fourth quarter, as you saw Saturday.
I think you shouldn’t discount just how big this win was
If you believe in omens and such, WVU's last scoreless first half at home was v. Louisville in 2005. Some things happened after that one.— Mike Casazza (@mikecasazza) October 2, 2016
Entering the season, WVU was 3-17 under Dana Holgorsen with 12 straight losses in games it doesn't score 30 points. It's 2-0 this season.— Mike Casazza (@mikecasazza) October 2, 2016
Since 1990 Kansas State under Bill Snyder was 178-6 when leading at halftime. 157-29 when scoring first. #WVU overcame both today.— Keenan Cummings (@rivalskeenan) October 2, 2016
That’s called breaking the mojo right there.
I think I’m going to leave you with this to end
Does it get any better than a Mountaineer win? #WVU pic.twitter.com/e923LPH606— WVU Mountaineers (@WestVirginiaU) October 1, 2016
I don’t need anything else to tell me God was a Mountaineer fan on Saturday and WVU is certainly “Almost Heaven”