Garrett Greene has gone through some growing pains this season after getting thrusted into the starting position late last year, coming off the bench against Oklahoma and getting his first real start against Kansas State then Oklahoma State. He won a quarterback competition in the spring and has held onto the job despite some ups and downs. Yesterday’s game was possibly the best he’s looked all year and should give hope to fans moving forward to next year.
Greene had 272 total yards at halftime, two rushing touchdowns and a 75-yard passing touchdown. His second rushing touchdown of the game might have been the one that broke Cincinnati as the Bearcats clawed their way back to make it 21-7 and gave the ball back to West Virginia with 1:32 left on the clock. The first play from scrimmage Greene scrambled for 30 yards then completed a pass to Kole Taylor for another 15 yards. A 4 yard pass to Taylor was followed by a 26-yard romp to the endzone to make it 28-7 and the scoring drive took less than a minute of gametime. Cincinnati went from get a stop and score after halftime and make it a game to down 3-scores and all but deflated at that point.
Greene would go on to finish the game with 210 passing yards, 154 rushing yards and four total touchdowns. His QBR (not ratings, which is a separate stat measured by ESPN, but his QBR, the madeup stat by ESPN that caps at 100.0) for the game was 98.7. Very few plays have had as good a game as Greene had on Saturday this year. Jayden Daniels, the top rated quarterback this year, has only had two games better than what Greene did Saturday - a 98.8 against Georgia State and a 98.9 against Florida. Greene yesterday was special.
Performances all time where a #WVU player has thrown for 150 and rushed for 150?— Keenan Cummings (@rivalskeenan) November 18, 2023
1. Pat White (2)
2. Garrett Greene today
The freshman from York, Pennsylvania has inserted himself into the conversation as the best running back on the team. With only 80 carries, he has now amassed 659 yards on the ground and 3 touchdowns. For comparison, CJ Donaldson has more than double the amount of carries White has (166 - 80) and Donaldson only has 775 yards on the ground. The term “starter” may not actually apply if both Donaldson and White are going to get carries, with the bulk of the carries going to whoever has the hotter hand on the night. Last night it was White, who carried 21 times for 204 yards. Against Oklahoma, it was CJ Donaldson.
White has shown his explosiveness all year, as he has averaged 8.2 yards per carry and has five games where he has averaged over 9 yards per carry. White has also tied Donaldson for most 100-yard games on the season as both have three 100-yard games this year.
If you were critical of the offensive line after last week, you had every right to be critical. They didn’t play well. This week, Doug Nester was out and facing one of the top defensive linemen in the country, the offensive line opened holes and paved the way for over 400 yards on the ground. Jaheim White found holes and lands all day and Garrett Greene for the most part was kept clean and given angles and windows to throw into. One of the big talks was Frazier vs Corleone, the top graded returning defensive linemen in the country and he finished with 3 tackles, 2 hurries, 0 sacks and just 3 stops.
The offensive line hasn’t been great and given the age and the accolades of the line, great was expected on this season, but yesterday the line did everything it couldn’t and held a tough Cincinnati front down and paved the way for 400+ yards on the ground. To put this into perspective, Jaheim White ran for 204 yards and only 108 came after contact, meaning almost 50% of his yards came before! contact.
Seniors (and other players leaving)
Yesterday was senior day for the Mountaineers and the following players walked as seniors: Jared Bartlett, Beanie Bishop, Devin Carter, Marcis Floyd, Zach Frazier, Davoan Hawkins, Lee Kpogba, Noah Massey, Doug Nester, Malachi Ruffin, Luke Hamilton and Jalen Thorton. The big names here are going to be Frazier and Nester, two guys who have made up a significant chunk of the offensive line over the past couple of years and have meant a lot to the program.
It’s official!!! Welcome OL Zach Frazier @zfrazier54 from @WVUfootball to the 2024 Reese's Senior Bowl! #HailWV #TheDraftStartsInMOBILE™️@JimNagy_SB @PaniniAmerica #RatedRookie pic.twitter.com/4T1ui3QNoB— Reese's Senior Bowl (@seniorbowl) November 17, 2023
In addition to the guys who are listed as walking this year, you should expect to see several other players look for new homes this coming winter. Jaylen Anderson and Justin Johnson more than likely will be encouraged to find new landing spots as it seems they’ve been pushed out by Donaldson and White and their chances at carries will be limited. One question that will linger this offseason will be Nicco Marchiol and the portal. Greene is coming back for his senior year (and for those who wonder, he is a junior - 2020 doesn’t count; he’s played 3 seasons [2021, 2022, 2023] and has one year of eligibility left) meaning Marchiol is going to be a backup for one more year. Does he want to do that or is he looking for a chance to start now. If Marchiol wants to start, will West Virginia throw a ton of NIL money at him to keep him? Marchiol may not want to leave and the staff certainly likes him and wants him to stay and compete, but quarterback is the one position where you don’t trade snaps and you don’t rotate players in.