Our sincere condolences go out to the Wolfley family on the passing of former West Virginia Mountaineer lineman Dale Wolfley who passed away in his sleep over the weekend. Wolfley was a backup on the 1988 undefeated team and graduate assistant on the 1993 team. Wolfley was part of the Mountaineers broadcast team through 2021 before venturing out on his own with his Wolfman’s Call podcast.
“He was very important to a lot of people and to Mountaineer Nation, so my condolences go out to his family,” Holgorsen said. “He’s going to be missed. I coached two of his kids. He meant a lot to me. I’m sure he was going to be here [Thursday], but I just wanted to send my condolences to Mountaineer Nation.” - Former WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen
“[I am] still probably in a little bit of shock there,” Brown said. “No bigger supporter of West Virginia football than Dale Wolfley. Helped me a lot when I first got here, connecting with former players, and really kind of got our 1891 Club off the ground with Coleman [Barnes], and got some people back involved that hadn’t been involved in a long time. He was the link between a lot of the former players and the current team, and even guys before he played. He had built really good relationships with those guys. Through the years, he did a really good job of getting guys back here…He was always the guy that really engaged former players and got them back around the program. He’ll be missed.” - West Virginia head coach Neal Brown
Thursday will mark Neal Brown’s fifth Thursday night game at West Virginia. The first Thursday night game, once a fixture of the Big East conference, was Brown’s only bowl win so far at West Virginia, a 24-21 win over Army in 2020. Three other games came last year in 2022 - the season opener against Pitt, a 38-31 loss, a 33-10 win over rival Virginia Tech and 43-40 win over Baylor. It should be noted that Brown is 0-4 following Thursday night games, losing the season opener to Maryland in 2021, losing to Kansas, Texas and Texas Tech last year following each of the Thursday night games.
“Bye Week” Ranks
The Mountaineers are currently second in the Big 12 standings, behind the Oklahoma Sooners as one of the two undefeated teams in the conference. The Mountaineers currently rank:
11th (out of 14 conference teams) in points per game [26.4]
6th in rush yards per game [191.80]
14th in passing yards per game [155.6]
12th in total yards per game [347.4]
3rd in scoring defense [19.0 points per game]
5th in rush defense [114.80 yards per game]
8th in pass defense [220.6]
3rd in total defense [335.4]
The Mountaineers are also second in conference in time of possession, holding onto the ball for an average of 32 minutes and 53 seconds per game. Only Cincinnati at 34 minutes is better than the Mountaineers. West Virginia is winning in the margins, holding onto the ball more than their opponents, playing tough defense which has drug each opponent into a rock-fight and slowing the game down. The Mountaineers are also one of the least penalized teams in the nation, having been flagged 18 times through five games for 33 yards per game.
Second Half Schedule
The Mountaineers second half schedule eases up quite a bit. It features the following opponents - Houston [13th], Oklahoma State [7th], UCF [14th], BYU [8th], Oklahoma [1st], Cincinnati [12th], Baylor [11th]. Other than Oklahoma, the Mountaineers face the bottom four teams in the current standings while avoiding the 3rd ranked Texas Longhorns, 4th ranked Kansas Jayhawks, 5th place Iowa State Cyclones and 9th place Kansas State Wildcats.
ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) has the Mountaineers as favorites against Houston, Oklahoma State, BYU and Baylor. It has the Mountaineers as underdogs against UCF and Oklahoma and has the Cincinnati game as a tossup. “Best” cast has the Mountaineers going 5-2 down the stretch.