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What I Think About Neal Brown’s First Night Game

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Oklahoma v West Virginia Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

This is one of the better opportunities that Neal Brown has had as the coach of the West Virginia Mountaineers. His team has matched last year’s win total with 2 games left to play. Both of those games are against ranked conference opponents. Neal’s team boasts the best defense in a decade and the best one in conference. Now, he gets to take on the reigning conference bully, at home, at night. The opportunity to pull off a massive upset and firmly cement his claim that his way is right is now.

Make Mountaineer Field Great Again

In years past, a night game in Morgantown meant the opponent needed to tread very carefully. An upset was brewing and if you didn’t come prepared, you were going to leave with your tail between your legs. Even if you came prepared, you might still leave with your tail between your legs because the Mountaineers were not to be trifled with at home at night. Its been a while since that has been true though. At least when it comes to the Oklahoma Sooners. I’m sure if I go through the logs of the Mountaineers in the Big 12, I’m going to find that the Mountaineers have a decent record of home night games, but I suspect those games are games we should have won. Youngstown State. Baylor (2018). Georgia Southen, etc. When it comes to Oklahoma, the Mountaineers have been competitive at times (2012, 2013, 2018) but the rest of the time, its been over before it really began.

Proof Is In The Pudding

I go back to the days I watched Eli Manning play at Ole Miss and one thing I always knew about David Cutcliffe and those Ole Miss teams; if you gave them two weeks to prepare, they were going to be dangerous. Coming off a bye when you play an team that isn’t, should be the single best chance for an upset. You have had time to prepare. You’ve had time to scout. You’ve had time to see weaknesses and how to exploit them. All of those things are in play this week. West Virginia just came off a 5-game streak and got a break when it needed it. Oklahoma had a bye in early November and just played the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Now they have to travel 1,000 miles to come see us. Can Neal and his staff draw up some extra plays? We haven’t seen much of Garret Greene. This would be the perfect time to unleash a redzone package with Greene at QB. It would be the perfect time for any new formations on offense. Its time to throw the kitchen sink at Oklahoma.

Leddie Brown Needs To Eat

We’ve already detailed a few different things that control West Virginia this season with the main thing being how well do the Mountaineers rush. When they rush for 100 yards, they win. When they fail to break 100 yards, they lose. Its fairly simple. The Oklahoma Sooners own the conference best rushing defense at 96 yards per game. In their two losses, the Sooners gave up 26 and 136 yards rushing. For the Mountaineers, they can’t get into a shoot-out with the Sooners, they don’t have the bullets in their guns to matchup one for one. The Mountaineers have to limit possessions and to do so, they need to win the line of scrimmage, rush consistently and own the time of possession. That means Leddie Brown needs to be healthy and needs to pile up the yards. Not big gains, just consistent 4-5 yards.