Through seven conference games, the formula both for the Mountaineers and their opponents is clear - rushing. The following statements are true.
- The Mountaineers have won every game they have rushed for 100 yards.
- The Mountaineers have lost every game they have rushed for less than 100 yards.
- The Mountaineers have won every game they have held a team under 100 yards.
There has been only one game where the Mountaineers gave up 100 yards and won - our last game against the TCU Horned Frogs. For West Virginia, as Leddie Brown, the workhorse running back, goes, so goes the team.
There is one other truth that follows the Mountaineers, excluding Kansas Jayhawks, the team that scores the first touchdown wins. Texas, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech scored first. Baylor, K-St, TCU all fell behind West Virginia early.
If you use your eyes, this makes sense. The Mountaineers are at their best when they jump out to an early lead and force a team to either abandon their first game plan. When the Mountaineers are playing catchup, the defense struggles to find its footing and can’t dictate a game the way they want.
What does this mean for the final two games of the 2020 regular season? It doesn’t look good. Oklahoma holds its opponents to less than 100 yards per game by jumping out to an early lead and taking away your ability to grind it out. Iowa St. is second in conference at 108 yards per game and has shown a toughness in not allowing themselves to get too far out of a game.
Because of both teams propensity to stop the run they are 3rd and 4th in conference for total yards. Unfortunately for the Mountaineers, the Sooners are 1st in conference in Points Per Game and the Cyclones are third. West Virginia’s #1 scoring defense will be tested by both teams.