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What I Think After Letting One Slip Away

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A hard fought battle in Norman ends in disappointment

West Virginia v Oklahoma Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images

Its been nearly 10 hours since the game ended. Its been over 10 hours since I knew how the game was going to end. I’m sitting here, with my thoughts on my notepad, watching the SkyCast stream on ESPN+ and trying to decide, do I talk about the 18 things on my notepad, or the one thing that continues to eat away at me?

The Defense

The defense, for the most part, is outstanding. I’m going to offer a caveat, however in that we don’t know how good any of the teams we’ve played really are. Maryland eked out a win over Illinois, 20-17. If Maryland beats Iowa, then we can talk - even though Iowa nearly choked this weekend. Virginia Tech beat UNC - who I think is vastly overrated - but that’s it. Oklahoma isn’t the same OU that it was 2, 3, 4 years ago. This isn’t a buzzsaw offense. We’re about to get into the meat of the Big 12 and you better believe these teams can score. Against the Sooners, the run defense was great but the pass defense bent in the second half. The pass rush was unable to get to Rattler and he picked us apart. Oklahoma’s last two drives totaled 30 plays and two field goals. On those two drives Rattler was 14-15 on passes for 111 yards. Rattler threw for nearly half his yardage on those two drives.

It feels like 2010

In 2009 and 2010 my dedication to WVU fandom was tested. In 2010 we had an elite defense and an incompetent offensive scheme. I can’t say incompetent offense because we had Geno Smith and Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey and it wouldn’t be long before the fruits of their talents but the offensive scheme put them in a position that they couldn’t succeed. 2021 feels a lot like 2010. The offense has scored 24, 27 and 13 points in three FBS games. We are averaging 21 points per game against Power 5 teams. Is 21 points enough to win games week in and week out?

Worse is the second half. Against Maryland, we didn’t score until the offense had to score. We kicked a field goal. Against Virginia Tech we scripted a drive, got 3 and nothing else. The same against Oklahoma. We’ve scored 9 points in 6 quarters in the second half of three games. Do you believe that the 3 points in the second half is going to win us games?

If you have Facebook, you can see your memories and mine, every year I see myself from 2010 just losing my mind and hating the team and I’m getting to that place, because the offense is testing my patience. I’m tired of watching us flounder. I’m tired of wasting our defense. I’m tired of not being able to do anything. By now you know the damning statistic of 9 points in the second half (WVU has scored 3 points in each of their Power 5 Games in the second half. One field goal each game). Jeremy Phoenix, on the RVK post-game podcast, asked how many points we’ve scored after the first quarter. Brace yourselves.

TWENTY NINE POINTS. In nine quarters of football this year, the Mountaineers have scored a grand total of 29 points in the second, third and fourth quarter.

Three Things I Want

As Oklahoma kicked their game-winning field goal, I thought about something. I wrote how there were three things I wanted from this game:

  • Garret Greene to throw the ball
  • Defensive Turnovers
  • To Belong

We did all three. Garret Greene did throw the ball and was allowed to stay in when plays mattered. The defense did generate an actual turnover, not a bad handoff or turf monster fumble. We looked like we belonged all game. So the hell am I so mad? Because 16-13 when doing any of those things a bit more might have resulted in a win. If Greene is allowed to play a few more snaps, maybe the offense can actually generate points. If the defense picked off another pass, maybe we can score. If we belonged a bit more and generated a pass rush at the end of the game, maybe we win. Its tough to be right and lose.

Watch the SkyStream Cast on ESPN+

All I can say is that if you really want to see how bad our offense is, or how bad that Doege interception was, watch the alternate broadcast. Doege’s interception, he stared down the receiver and never goes through his progression. The offensive line doesn’t given him a lot of time in this game but he never goes through progressions. Please just play Greene. I can’t anymore.