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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 21 Oklahoma State at West Virginia

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What I Think After 28 4th Quarter Points

Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Two games ago, the West Virginia Mountaineers sat at 4-1 and in control of their destiny. Now they suddenly find themselves 4-3 and any goodwill that was gained during the first four game winning streak of the head coach’s tenure is now gone with even the most ardent supporters throwing their hands in the air and shout they are done. It’s very hard to see any good 54 games into a tenure that hasn’t shown any growth, and mistakes that prove to be costly continue to happen.


I make no bones about what I’ve written in the past and I’m not going to sugarcoat bad things to make the palatable for the masses. I’m here to give you my informed opinions on what I see in the games and over the course of a season. It seems as if the staff doesn’t like these opinions and I put this out there to the staff - if you want to have a conversation, contact me. I’m very easy to find. I’m on Twitter (X), Instagram, Facebook, whatever. You want to have a conversation and “correct” me, find me. I’m not hiding.

Maybe I should, when I point out that after giving props to the defense, and being chastised about the defense, the defense led by Jordan Lesley has now given up - 433, 393, and 491 yards in three consecutive games, 1,317 total yards in three games (439/game). Additionally, since holding Pitt to 6 points, they’ve given up 13, 21, 41, 48 points. That’s trending in the wrong direction.

PFF credits the Mountaineers with just seven (7) quarterback hurries against Oklahoma State, 0 QB hits, 0 sacks.

Defensive Pressure

Opponent Pitt Texas Tech TCU Houston Okie Lite
Opponent Pitt Texas Tech TCU Houston Okie Lite
Sacks 2 2 6 2 0
Hits 4 8 5 1 0
Hurries 4 13 12 7 7
Total 10 23 23 10 7
Defensive Pressure Jake Lantz

What has changed since TCU? The team went from sending the house, getting in the face of quarterbacks, to suddenly we’re back to playing zone and getting picked apart. How and why is defense not doing what worked just two games ago? On top of that, I’ve long been screaming about the lack of turnovers generated by this defense. I’m not willing to give the punt return (fumble recovery) as a forced turnover even though its going to count at the end of the season, so the interception was the first forced turnover since Pitt! On the year, the team has forced 8 turnovers (6 interceptions, 2 fumble) in seven games. Since Jordan Lesley became the defensive coordinator in 2020, the Mountaineers have generated 13, 14, 11, and 8 turnovers in 3.5 seasons. That’s 46 turnovers in 42 games. It’s not good enough. We don’t generate pressure, we don’t generate turnovers, we don’t get stops in the passing game and we can’t tackle. Yet we continue with the DC year after year.

Turnover Margin

Now the head coach does not get away from my ire regarding turnovers, because this is ultimately on him and the lack of turnovers on defense mean that any turnover on offense is magnified simply because it is going to affect the game even more. Since 2019, the Mountaineers have the following turnover differential:

2019: -6 (100th)

2020: +2 (45th)

2021: -7 (107th)

2022: -8 (117th)

2023: -2 (87th)

If you are mathing at home, that is a -21 differential in the past 4.5 years.

Against the Cowboys, the Mountaineers generated two turnovers, the previously mentioned fumble recovery on the punt return and the interception. Unfortunately they gave it away twice, with a fumble on a reception, an interception and a fumble on the punt return. It is very hard to win games when you give the ball away more than you take it away.

Turnovers - Part 2

The only way, THE ONLY WAY, you can win games when you give it away more than you take it away, is if you are good at scoring points when you take it away and you are good at not giving up points when you give it away. That was the opposite on Saturday.

Oklahoma State fumbles the punt return, West Virginia recovers. The Mountaineers then two plays later fumbled a pass when Kole Taylor caught a pass from Garrett Greene and the ball slipped out, bounced on the turf and into the waiting hands Kendal Daniels. Oklahoma stopped us from getting points.

Following that fumble, the Cowboys would go 9 plays and kick a field goal.

OSU - 3 points off 1 turnover

WVU - 0 points off 1 turnover

Next possession, Garrett Greene underthrows a route and the Cowboys pick off the pass. 6 plays later, the Cowboys have their first touchdown of the game.

OSU - 10 points off 2 turnovers

WVU - 0 points off 1 turnover

In the second half, Alan Bowman began to struggle and Anthony Wilson picked off the quarterback, deep in Mountaineer territory. The struggle bus continued as the Mountaineers would punt the ball back to Oklahoma State 3 plays later, unable to generate a first down.

OSU - 10 points off 2 turnovers

WVU - 0 points off 2 turnovers

The play that changed the game, and we’ll talk about it in a moment, Wilson-Lamp runs into Preston Fox after the Mountaineer defense generated a stop of the Pokes, and causes the third West Virginia turnover of the game. Oklahoma State recovers and scores a touchdown 3 plays later.

OSU - 17 points off 3 turnovers

WVU - 0 points off 2 turnovers.

In a game you lost by 14, seeing the opponent granted 17 points off your mistakes hurts and will cost you wins.

AWL and that Punt

This is likely not going to be well received, but the fault lies with Wilson-Lamp and not Oklahoma State. Was he pushed? Yes. the Oklahoma State defender made contact with Wilson-Lamp. Did he push him directly into Preston Fox? No, he didn’t. Wilson-Lamp was 5-7 yards away from Preston Fox and the defender disengaged from AWL. He was not shoved in the back into Fox. The question is why is Lamp that close to Fox, running that hard and anywhere near the ball.

Neal Brown - Post Game Whining

“I thought our guy was just clearly held at the point of attack. I thought Marcus Floyd, clear right out in the open, and we miss a tackle and Pressley goes in to score.”

“We get the ball at midfield, fourth-and-2, and I felt like we were struggling which was proved right. We were struggling with the tackle, so we went for it right there. Really, we should have handed it off. Garrett (Greene) played his tail off. He really played his tail off and gave us a chance to win it. Sometimes he thinks he’s Superman and he can make all the plays, but that read told him to get it. And he’s got to get it. I’m not faulting him. “

“I thought we clearly got interfered with on (junior tight end) Kole Taylor’s first-down play down there.”

I suggest you stop whining about holds or interference, stop throwing your quarterback under the bus and start winning games. If you want to talk about holds, your players held OSU in the endzone. Wasn’t called. Multiple times I thought the defensive back interfered with a OSU player. Wasn’t called. Stop whining and start winning.

Presented without Context

Neal Brown Contract Details

Year Salary Record Amount Paid Total Wins $ Per Win
Year Salary Record Amount Paid Total Wins $ Per Win
2019 $3,055,000 5-7 $3,055,000 5 $611,000
2020 $2,950,000 6-4 $6,005,000 11 $545,909
2021 $3,150,000 6-7 $9,155,000 17 $538,529
2022 $3,500,000 5-7 $12,655,000 22 $575,227
2023 $4,000,000 4-3 $15,887,876.71 26 $611,072.18

Neal Brown’s Buyouts By Year

Year Salary Buyout
Year Salary Buyout
2022 $3,500,000 $20,200,000
2023 $4,000,000 $16,700,000
2024 $4,100,000 $12,700,000
2025 $4,200,000 $7,310,000
2026 $4,400,000 $3,740,000
Neal Brown’s Buyout Status Jake Lantz

You’ve currently paid Neal 15 million and he’s owed another 13.4M for the next 3.5 seasons.

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