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NCAA Football: West Virginia at Houston

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The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly of The Dana Bowl

West Virginia loses on a Hell Mary.

Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

This was an absolute killer for the team, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. We outgained Houston by 150 yards, had the ball for 14 more minutes, but still found a way to lose the game. Sadly, that typifies WVU football”

The Good:

  1. The passing game - Garrett Greene went off tonight for almost 400 yards passing. This was the most explosive our passing game has looked since Dana was wearing the Flying WV. Hopefully these type of numbers can continue and allow the running game a little more room to breathe.
  2. Devin Carter - Finally had his coming out party. He finished with 5 catches for 116 yards and looked like the guy the coaches said he could be. His emergence should allow a lot more open looks to Kole Taylor.
  3. Hudson Clement - The hero for a very brief moment. Hudson took a pass from Greene for a 50 yard touchdown in the waning seconds of the game to briefly give WVU the lead. The Martinsburg native continues to show why he is a fan favorite.

The Bad:

  1. The defense - Absolutely atrocious defense all night, especially in the second half. Donovan Smith looked like a Heisman Trophy candidate against our defense, completing 16 straight passes in the second half, including the ridiculous tip drill on the final play of the game. Our tackling was awful, we took horrible angles towards ball carriers, and we left receivers wide open all night. We were gashed in the run game as well, giving up almost 6 yards per carry. All of the good will that this unit built up the last couple of weeks came crashing down tonight. Unfortunately, this was a return to last year’s defense at the absolute wrong time.
  2. Penalties - We came into the game as one of the least penalized teams in the nation. Tonight, we looked like the WVU teams of the past 4 years. We had 8 accepted penalties (plus a few more that were declined) for 84 very big yards. Quite possibly the biggest being the 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct against Garrett Greene that forced the kickoff back to the 20 yard line and allowed Houston a better chance to throw the game winning Hail Mary.

The Ugly:

  1. Special Teams - This was another area that had been a strong point for the Mountaineers so far this season. Unfortunately, just like our defense and our minimal penalties, this took a huge hit tonight. We gave up a 100 yard kick return for a touchdown to keep Houston in the game in the first half. We almost gave up a second return TD that was called back because of a penalty. We got very little return yardage to benefit our offense. A huge regression from this unit tonight.
  2. The run game - I know people will look at the stat sheet and see 155 yards and think I’m crazy. What I’ve seen over the last three weeks is a constant decline in our yards per carry. Tonight we averaged only 3.5 yards per carry against a team that was giving up almost 5 yards per run coming into the game. I know we were missing two starters on the line, but this is a defense that was just asking to be run all over.

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