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2021 West Virginia Offensive Review: Part One - Standard Stats

Depending on how you look at it, the offense overachieved or massively underachieved

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 30 Iowa State at West Virginia Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Three years into the Neal Brown era at West Virginia, the Mountaineers have fielded a team that just hasn’t met the expectations of a fanbase desperately wanting something more than a .500 team. The large struggle of the team has been the offense and the fact that they have struggled was enough to force the hand of the administration to at least lean on and strongly suggest that a new playcaller be forthcoming. However, we can’t move forward if we don’t at least look back and I’m sure as we get through this exercise we will both cringe and be surprised. At least I hope that is the case.

The Receivers

West Virginia Receivers

Player Receptions Yards Average Touchdowns Yards / Game Long
Player Receptions Yards Average Touchdowns Yards / Game Long
Winston Wright Jr 63 688 10.92 5 52.92 40
Bryce Ford-Wheaton 42 575 13.69 3 47.92 45
Sam James 42 505 12.02 5 38.85 53
Sean Ryan 25 399 15.96 3 30.69 44
Isaiah Esdale 29 362 12.48 1 36.2 55
Leddie Brown 36 217 6.03 1 18.08 25
Kaden Prather 12 175 14.58 0 19.44 32
Reese Smith 12 124 10.33 1 11.27 20
Mike O'Laughlin 11 65 5.91 0 10.83 11
TJ Banks 6 51 8.5 0 4.64 17
Tony Mathis Jr. 7 29 4.14 0 2.64 9
Sam Brown 2 16 8 0 8 16
Justin Johnson Jr 2 9 4.5 0 1.29 7
Preston Fox 1 8 8 0 2 8
West Virginia Receivers

As always, credit for these stats can be found at Here is a link to the PDF.

For the second year in a row, Winston Wright led the team in receiving yards. Wright’s 688 yards represent a season high for the receivers in the three years since the head coaching change. Despite the career high in receiving yards, this was the first time a West Virginia team has finished without a 60-yard pass play since 2009 when Bill Stewart and Jeff Mullen where at the helm of the offense.

Wright led the team in receptions, yards and touchdowns, tying Sam James with 5 touchdown catches. Bryce Ford-Wheaton and Sean Ryan also added multiple touchdown catches, giving the Mountaineers 4 players with at least 3 touchdown catches.

It should come as no surprise for a team with the offensive struggles of the Mountaineers that this was also the first year that a WVU offense failed to have a deep threat capable of breaking defenses over the top. Sean Ryan’s 15.96 average yard per catch represents the lowest since 2009 as well.

The Runners

West Virginia Runners

Player Attempts Yards Average Touchdown Average / Game Long
Player Attempts Yards Average Touchdown Average / Game Long
Leddie Brown 223 1065 4.8 13 88.75 80
Tony Mathis Jr. 72 312 4.3 0 28.36 45
Garrett Greene 48 297 6.2 4 27 67
Justin Johnson Jr 24 90 3.8 0 12.86 15
Sam James 2 9 4.5 0 0.69 9
Markquan Rucker 2 6 3 0 1.5 5
A'varius Sparrow 3 4 1.3 0 2 3
West Virginia Receivers

True to form, Neal Brown’s offense has stayed with the mantra of getting a lead horse and running him into the ground. When Brown was hired it was pointed out how he had a stud workhorse of a running back and the rest of the team was an after thought and that has been the truth so far. Leddie Brown was indeed the baddest man in Morgantown, handling the bulk of the duties as he fought his way to another 1,000 yard season. After that it was slim pickings.

Behind Brown were Tony Mathis and Justin Johnson and despite the lack of carries, in the bowl game, both showed elusiveness and speed. Mathis saw an increase in carries as the year went on.

We come to our first Garret Greene reference and as a runner, Greene was dynamite. He led the team in average per carry and despite minimal use nearly finished second on the team in rush yards. He was also the only other person, other than Leddie Brown, to score a rushing touchdown. Leddie Brown’s 13 rushing touchdowns tied Noel Devine (2009), Amos Zereoue (1998) and Rasheed Marshall (2002) for 10th best single season total. Brown finishes his career with 27, good for 7th all time.

The Passers

West Virginia Passers

Player QB Rating Completions Attempts Percentage Yards Yards/Attempt Yards/Completion Touchdown Interception Average / Game
Player QB Rating Completions Attempts Percentage Yards Yards/Attempt Yards/Completion Touchdown Interception Average / Game
Jarret Doege 135.91 272 417 65.23 3048 7.309352518 11.20588235 19 12 234.46
Garret Greene 109.03 16 26 61.54 147 5.653846154 9.1875 0 0 13.36
Will Crowder 217.6 2 2 100 28 14 14 0 0 14
West Virginia Passers

The quarterbacks. Jarret Doege finished a career high 3,000+ passing yards and the second most touchdowns in his career (19). Unfortunately he tied his career high with 12 interceptions. When you have such an inconsistent quarterback the calls for the backup are loud and the backup was Garrett Greene. Greene either wasn’t given many chances or failed to take advantage of the chances given as he only attempted 26 passes. It became clear as the year wore on that the coaching staff did not trust Greene to pass the ball.

Freshman Will Crowder officially appeared in two games but the only action he saw was in the FCS “scrimmage” against Long Island where he threw 2 passes.

2021 Team Rankings

West Virginia Offensive Ranks

Statistic Total Conference Rank National Rank
Statistic Total Conference Rank National Rank
Points Per Game 25.2 9 88
Yards Per Game 371.5 8 87
3rd Down % 39.8 8 69
Rush Yards Per Game 123.62 10 103
Pass Yards Per Game 247.9 4 55
Completion % 64.9 4 26
4th Down % 67.8 3 17
Redzone Scoring % 90% 5 19
West Virginia Offensive Ranks


Tidbits and Observations

  • None of these rankings come as a real shock or surprise. We all knew the offense was bad and when you finish 88th in points per game, 87th in yards per game, 103rd in rush yards per game and 69th in 3rd down conversions, you are going to struggle.
  • I do think its interesting that the team finished 19th in the country in redzone scoring percentage (redzone scores divided by redzone opportunities) but finished 5th in conference. The Mountaineers finished scoring 9 out of every 10 times they got inside the 20 and that was good for mediocre in conference.
  • The fourth down percentage is encouraging, especially considering they went for 28 times. Brown, either (mostly) out of necessity or a gambling streak wasn’t afraid to go get an extra chance. And it paid off more often than not.
  • I always thought the idea of having a single back was not a great idea and now it seems to be obvious that we need to have more guys capable of rushing, not one big horse. Brown finished 7th in conference in rushing yards. He finished 6th in rush yards / game. Yet the team finished 10th in rushing yards per game, because no one else contributed.
  • Granted, this is just a snapshot, but out of the 17 categories I ranked the team in, the average ranking is 5th. The Mountaineers, as a team, finished 6th in the conference. Lots of improvement to be had.