I Think I respect the hell outta ISU
Man them corn-fed boys from Iowa do not quit. Ever since this “rivalry” was created in 2012, it has been one of the least dramatic games on the schedule. The 2013 collapse not withstanding, West Virginia has owned this game. Head coach Matt Campbell has instilled a new confidence and a new personality at Cyclone headquarters and it showed. This team last year gives up being down 20-3 at halftime. This year they didn’t and you need to respect that.
You knew coming in that Iowa State wanted to muddy the game up. You knew they were going to play ball control and limit possessions. That is how less talented teams win games. You don’t get into shootouts with Oklahoma and TCU, you hold them to 5 or 6 possessions and make them sustain drives. Respect to Iowa State. You are bowl eligible and playing with house money, finish this season strong.
I Think Grier played an outstanding game outside of one throw
And its not the throw you are probably thinking about. The interception was actually a really good throw. In fact, I said myself “go deep here and put this game away”. Iowa State was finally giving in that they couldn’t stop the run with 3 down linemen. They pulled a fourth linemen/linebacker into the box which meant at max 7 in the secondary to defend the pass. It is a perfect time to take a shot. Great play by the Cyclone defender, D’Andrew Payne. He stayed step for step with David Sills and immediately grabbed the ball when Sills slightly juggled it.
Iowa State wants you to get greedy and waste a down. If you go deep you gotta hit— Jake Lantz (@NiteStare) November 4, 2017
No the play I’m talking about was the deep shot to Gary Jennings after Iowa State cut the lead to 20-10. West Virginia was slowly, methodically moving the ball. West Virginia was across midfield but not in field goal territory yet. You need at least 10 more yards to give Evan Staley a chance to kick the ball. Grier takes a deep shot to Gary Jennings but 1) he’s bracketed in coverage 2) the throw made Jennings stop and attempt a jump-ball, and 3) if you don’t connect [which they didn’t], you put yourself behind the sticks. That is exactly what Iowa State wants. They want you to get greedy. They want you make a mistake and then one mistake compounds into another. West Virginia almost made up for it when Simms got 8 yards on the 2nd down play but then two runs were swallowed up by the Cyclones and Iowa State got the ball back and great field position.
That was Grier’s one bad throw on an otherwise great performance. Grier finished the game 20 of 25 (80%!) with 316 yards and 2 touchdowns. The 300-yard performance, Grier’s eighth of the season, tied Geno Smith’s school record.
I think the #DAWGS balled out
These are how Iowa State’s second, fourth and fifth [and final] drives of the second half ended. West Virginia’s maligned defense held firm when it had to. Iowa State was helped by some questionable officiating [I mean seriously, how are you supposed to defend the slant pass??] but when push came to shove, Dana Holgorsen’s week long credence of toughness came through. Tony Gibson was playing without his full compliment of starters, yet the guys who were in the game made plays.
Big shout out to Ezekiel Rose. Rose came to West Virginia from East Mississippi Community College, home of “Last Chance U” on Netflix.
In addition to those featured athletes, we also get a pretty good look at current West Virginia Mountaineer defensive end Ezekiel Rose. Although Rose doesn’t get a whole lot of the spotlight, because he shares defensive lineman duties with three of the main characters of the season, we do see him in action quite a few times as the season rolls on.
Rose started at defensive end and played with an edge. Early in the game he had a big sack on quarterback Kyle Kempt which led to an Iowa State punt. Later in the game he dropped into coverage and knocked a ball away on ISU’s last possession to force that critical 4th down. Rose looked a lot like former Mountaineer Noble Nwachukwu with his moves at defensive end.
Another shout out goes to Kenny Robinson, not only for his play on that aforementioned fourth down but throughout the game playing a steady hand along the perimeter. Robinson, a true freshman, was a player we stole from Pitt, VA Tech and yes, Iowa State. He is gaining valuable experience and thrusting himself into a prominent role on this defense.
Just think, 2018 could feature Dravon Askew-Henry, Kenny Robinson and Kwantel Raines in the same secondary. Watch out Big 12.
I Think tackling is still a problem
I’m not sure why our guys are going for “knockout” hits instead of wrapping up but it has now gone from trend to problem. Time and time and time again our players try to hit a receiver or running back instead of wrapping up. The result is that they bounce off the player or miss entirely and the other team gets a first down, touchdown or extra yardage. This game was no different as plenty of times we could have stopped Iowa State short but went for kill shots and the ISU player was able to pick up extra yardage.
I Think I really dislike Tommy Tuberville
First as the Ole Miss head coach he said "They’ll have to carry me out of here in a pine box," in reference to not leaving to coach at another school. Two days after he made that statement, it was announced that he was departing for Auburn. As a young impressionable Ole Miss fan at the time, that hurt.
Then as the head coach of Texas Tech, Tuberville was at the hand of the Mountaineer’s unraveling in 2012. The Mountaineers were 5-0 and riding high but left Lubbock, Texas with a 49-14 defeat and it spiraled to a 5-game losing streak.
Now as a broadcaster, apparently Tuberville is unable to read a roster sheet. “Laron White” caught a touchdown, “David Steals” was quiet in the second half.
As someone who frequently makes mistakes in this column, you readers call me out and I fix it. Can someone please fix Tuberville and let him know that Ka’Raun White plays for the Mountaineers and David SILLS leads the nation in touchdown receptions??
I Think I stand by my statement
Jake Lantz: Those are all great points but I'm still going to lean on our record. I can't count how many times we were in the Big East and would lose a dumb game to someone we shouldn't. I agree with Mike that our yearly goal should be the Big 12 Championship game and right now we're outside looking in but I would rather know that we are knocking on the door rather than we had a shot and lost to 2-9 Texas Tech on a Friday Night game.
JL: And that goes to something I wanted to point out, if WVU wins this weekend, WVU and ISU both have two wins over ranked teams, while WVU has losses to 3 ranked teams and ISU has losses to 3 unranked teams
WVU now has wins over then #24 Texas Tech and #14 Iowa State at home. It has a loss to then #21 Virginia Tech on a “neutral” field, a loss to #8 TCU on the road and a loss to then #11 Oklahoma State at home. Two of the losses, Virginia Tech and TCU came on the last play of the game while the Mountaineers were not competitive against Oklahoma State despite the score. Still, those losses were somewhat expected and could have gone either way. ISU now has losses to Texas who may not become bowl eligible and Iowa, who actually look a whole lot better after they dropped HALF A HUNDRED on THE ohio state university, plus the loss to us.