- Kole Taylor - This guy is a beast. He’s huge and has an incredible wingspan. Our offense needs to run through him even more than it already does. With two quarterbacks short on game experience, a big time tight end is a great safety valve to have. Look at the difference in the offense of the Kansas City Chiefs with vs without Travis Kelce. They are a completely different team when he is not on the field.
- Beanie Bishop, Aubrey Burks, & Marcus Floyd - These guys were everywhere on Saturday. Any big play made by our defense felt like it came from one of these three guys. If the defense is going to make improvements, which we all hope it does, these are going to be three big reasons why it will happen.
- The Weather - I’m sure several folks will disagree with me on this point, but the weather had more to do with stopping the TTU offense than anything our defense did. The rain definitely affected the QB’s ability to throw an accurate pass. You could see the difference in the 4th quarter when the rain stopped, and their offense started moving the ball. I hate to say it, but I think on a dry day, we likely lose that game.
- 3rd Down Offense - Our third down offense this year has been atrocious. Through 4 games, we’re converting an abysmal 32.7% of our third downs, which ranks us 118th out of 130 FBS teams. We were no better on Saturday. We converted 3/13 first downs against TTU. Thankfully, their defense bailed us out multiple times. TTU’s defense committed 5 penalties on third downs that gave us a first down.
- 4th Down Defense - We allowed TTU to convert 5/8 fourth downs on Saturday, most of them during their 4th quarter comeback. The one that sticks in my mind most vividly is the 4th & 9 pass that Drae McCray caught for a 15 yard gain. We have to clean this up if we hope to continue this winning streak.
- The disappearance of CJ Donaldson - I don’t know if the team was trying to limit CJ’s touches, but he disappeared for a big chunk of the 2nd half. He had a total of 15 carries on the afternoon, tied for the team lead with Nicco. We continued to see Jaylen Anderson on the field at key times, and he continued to be ineffective (2.3 yards per carry).
- Tyler Shough’s ankle injury - It looked pretty bad. You hate to see anyone go down with a big time injury like that.
- The Offense - Our offense stinks. I can’t think of a nicer way to say it. Our play calling is lousy. Our results are terrible. We’ve been extremely fortunate the last two weeks that we’ve played the worst QB in FBS & TTU on a rainy Saturday. For some context, our offense averages 17.3 ppg against P5 competition. It jumps to 27 ppg if you include Duquesne. That’s good for 80th overall in FBS. We average 259 ypg against P5 teams and 349 ypg with Duquesne included. We average just over 5 yards per play (good for 95th in the FBS). We’ve had one play that went for 20 yards in the last two games, and only two overall against FBS teams. If that’s not a broken offense, I don’t know what is. This leads me to my final point:
- Neal Brown - He’s got to go. I know people are excited that he beat Pitt and finally beat TTU to go on a 3 game winning streak. The fact that people are that excited about the first 3 game winning streak in 5 years should tell us all we need to know. He’s a terrible play caller, as evidenced by all of the stats I listed above. He has zero feel for the flow of the game. In the second half, Neal kept trying to run the ball into the teeth of the Tech defense, with limited success. This allowed Tech the opportunity to get back in the game. Then, it true Neal Brown fashion, he decided to throw the ball on three straight plays on our last real drive of the game, gaining a total of 6 yards, chewing up zero time on the clock, and putting Tech in the position to tie or win the game. I hope Wren Baker has high standards and is already making phone calls to see what coaches might be interested in coming to Morgantown next season.