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What I Think After West Virginia’s Heartbreaking Loss to Virginia Tech

NCAA Football: West Virginia vs Virginia Tech Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

I Think this game is college football

This is the first game I’ve gotten to attend in four years. The last time I saw the Mountaineers play was in Baltimore against the Maryland Terrapins in 2013. The atmosphere for Sunday’s game was electric. The rivalry was absolutely alive. Two fan bases who dislike each other and two teams who were equally matched. It was everything that makes college football great.

I Think West Virginia should still be ranked

I fully expect that the Mountaineers will fall out of the rankings this week because pollsters are idiots and only look at final scores. Team A beat Team B, so Team B can’t be ranked. However, the Hokies came into the game ranked higher and won at the end of the game. It is exactly what the rankings predicted and shouldn’t change anything. But it will. The Mountaineers won’t be ranked because they played a Top 25 team while TCU, who played a cupcake team remains ranked.

On the flip side, Florida. If Florida remains ranked this weekend, I think you have the right to protest any and all rankings. There is nothing about the Florida Gators that made me believe they were one of the 25 best teams and I have zero doubts if you put the Mountaineers and Gators on the same field, West Virginia wins. Big.

I Think the offensive line deserves major kudos

Will Grier was given so much time to scan the field. Defensive tackle Tim Settle, a behemouth of a man at 6’3” and 335 pounds, was not in the backfield at all. In fact, the Hokies rarely got pressure on Grier. Bud Foster was given a choice: blitz and put your corners one-on-one or rush four and hope to clog the passing lanes. Foster elected to do the latter and it did not go well. With the offensive line easily handling the Hokies defensive front, the Mountaineers marched up and down the field to the tune of 592 yards. As I rewatched the game, I was amazed at the amount of time Grier was given. If the offensive line stays healthy, they will give the team an important boost in their quest for a Big 12 crown.

I Think Dana was rightly pissed

I know, I know, Dana “needs to learn to control his emotions”. I fully agree. I’m glad he got flagged and I hope its the last time it ever happens. Dana can become unhinged during a game when things don’t go his way. The NCAA and the refs made it a point of emphasis that coaches would be flagged with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty if they stepped onto the field. Dana was granted leeway while arguing an out of bounds hit on kickoff. When his player was called for holding, he was set off.

Yodny Cajuste was flagged for holding on a 3rd and 1 run that netted a first down. Cajuste is number #55. Show me the hold. That “hold” pushed the Mountaineers back to 3rd-and-11. While manageable, the announcers would have made you think that the flag on Dana was the only flag on the play. 3rd-and-11 is difficult to convert as well.

While this was called holding,

this wasn’t. I know holding can be called on almost every play but given how blatant of a hold this is, with Shuler’s jersey being tugged by the tackle right in front of the ref, I would have been heated too when Cajuste was called for holding.

Do not forget that West Virginia was already at 3rd and 11 when that flag was thrown on Dana. Also do not forget that Virginia Tech was given the same flag later in the game.

I Think Ka’Raun White needs to catch the ball

White has all the physical skills to be a number one receiver. Tall, fast, and strong but you cannot drop easy passes right in front of you. While White was struggling, Gary Jennings became a man. Jennings became the security blanket for Grier. 13 catches for 189 yards and another long touchdown. Jennings is extremely physical and presents a matchup problem for many teams. Putting him in the slot matches him up against a safety or linebacker. While they are physically strong enough to battle with Jennings, Gary is typically faster. Putting him against a corner allows him to use his strength.