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What I Think As West Virginia Demolishes The Horned Frogs and Eyes The Finish Line

The Mountaineers have now put themselves in a position where they control their destiny. Don’t blow it.

NCAA Football: Texas Christian at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Dana Gets Payback For 2015

Back in 2015, the Big 12 looked to be in the midst of a renaissance. TCU Horned Frogs, Baylor Bears, Oklahoma Sooners and Oklahoma State Cowboys would all finish with double digit wins and ranked in the final rankings. West Virginia was dealt a death blow by the schedule committee when they forced the Mountaineers to play all four teams in one month, consecutively - starting with the Sooners and ending with Baylor. West Virginia weathered the storm and would finish the season 8-5 but that October stretch was detrimental to the team as a whole. TCU and Baylor did some horrific damage; Baylor beat the ‘Eers 62-38 and TCU destroyed WVU at night 40-10.

Fast forward three years and WVU has weathered the hardships of the Big 12 and dealt out some much needed retribution to those two particular teams. In three years, Dana and his staff turned 102-48 deficit into a 105-24 beatdown of two teams who looked like they were going to run the conference for years.

Dana uses a timeout wisely

The wind played a big factor in Saturday’s game. When West Virginia had its back to the wind, they scored 40 points. When they were with the wind, they scored 7. TCU was also affected by the wind, scoring 10 points all together. At the end of the third quarter, another TCU drive stalled out and the Frogs were forced to punt. As the clock ticked down, Dana took a timeout and forced Patterson and his team to punt into the wind, rather than allowing the punter to punt with the wind and possibly pin the team deep. Excellent, smart coaching by Dana.

Sills on Punts

Speaking of punting, how about David Sills almost downing two punts at the one. Those early deficits proved to be useful in allowing the Mountaineers to dig themselves out of the funk of cold mountain mornings. Good teams limit punt returns. Great teams make big plays on special teams.

Trevon Wesco is Mark Bavaro

For the past three seasons we’ve heard how the Mountaineers are going to use the tight ends and for the past two seasons we’ve seen very little proof that the tight ends were going to be involved. Every now and then we would get one pass to the tight end but for the most part it was throws to the receivers that drove this offense.

Not this year. After another slow start, Wesco has emerged as a legitimate threat to catch the ball and when he does, watch out. Wesco has a catch in every Big 12 game since Texas Tech and other than KSU and Iowa State, he’s caught at least two passes. In his last three games, he’s caught 11 passes for 165 and a wide-ass open touchdown. Even better is when his number is called for the tight end seam. It seems like once a game, Wesco catches a pass past the linebackers and drags several defenders with him. As a Giants fan, it is just like watching Mark Bavaro drag 49ers.

Tell me that doesn’t look like Wesco dragging people.

This is exactly what you wanted in August

Everyone said at the beginning of the season that they wanted to compete for a Big 12 championship. With two games left to play, West Virginia controls its own destiny and is in contention for a title. Even better, by the time you read the next “What I Think” there exists a better than average chance that West Virginia will already have secured its place in the Big 12 Championship Game.

If the Mountaineers are able to withstand the Oklahoma State Cowboys on Senior Night and the Texas Longhorns play a semblance of defense against Iowa State, the Mountaineers will be in the Big 12 Championship. A win by WVU would mean that the worst the Mountaineers can finish with is 2 conference losses while a loss to Texas would mean that Iowa St. will have three conference losses. WVU owns the tiebreaker against Texas so they would have secured their place in the title game.

The Run Game

While everyone focuses on the explosive nature of the passing game behind Heisman Trophy candidate (yes he is still a candidate) Will Grier and the receivers, the running backs have carried the Mountaineers and made this team multi-dimensional.

Over the past three weeks, the team has rushed 112 times for 568 yards (5.0 YPC). Martell Pettaway broke out against Texas with a 121 yard effort, but otherwise, this has been a committee approach that has gotten its yards by being just effective every time rather than being a chunk yardage game. The run game has allowed the offense to stay ahead of the chains and has picked up multiple first downs in short yardage situations.