Great research - thanksLike everyone else, West Virginia will prove a challenge for the Black Knights next week. Looking at their season averages, they run a very balance offense (331 rushing attempts for 1,309 yards and 15 TDs; 230-359-3-2,495 passing with 13 TDs); have only nine turnovers; and the Mountaineers defense is holding teams to 126 yards rushing, 171 yards passing, and 20.4 points per game. Their offense has scored 22 TDs and 10 FGs in 26 trips to the red zone; holding opponents to 9 TDs and 5 FGs in 17 red zone trips. They have converted 41% of their third downs and stopped opponents 60% of the time. A pretty good record for their second year head coach and a rather young, fast, athletic football team.
Now for the rest of the story. WVU is 5-4, opening with Eastern Kentucky and then splitting with eight of theirs nine Big 12 opponents. The game with Oklahoma was first cancelled by the Sooners Thanksgiving weekend, then the Mountaineers had Covid issues and canceled the 12/12 rescheduled game. The Mountaineers went 5-0 at home against 3-6 EKU, 2-7 Baylor (two overtimes), 0-9 Kansas, 4-6 Kansas State, and 6-4 TCU. WVU lost all four games on the road, against 7-3 Oklahoma State, 4-6 Texas Tech, 6-3 Texas, and 8-3 Iowa State. They lost to the Longhorns 13-17. The Mountaineers lost all four games they were losing at halftime, and won all that they were ahead or tied at the break.
Of WVU's 69 offensive possessions (excluding the EKU, KU, and KSU games), they scored on 30% (19 TDs and 5 FGs), and punted 48% of time [compared to Army's 37% (24 TDs/ 5 FGs) and 38% punting against FBS foes]. West Virginia opened most of their Big 12 games with a balanced attack; but once they were behind, they tended to pass and pass. They do tend to run on first and second downs, and pass on third down. 61% of the Mountaineers possessions were six plays or less and only ten possessions were more than ten plays. While they have averaged 145 rushing yards per game; they only exceeded that against EKU (329), KU (226), KSU (184), and TCU (180). OSU, Texas Tech, Texas, and ISU held them under 91 yards rushing. Their strength is a passing attack, averaging 277 yards a game, with over 300 against KU, TT, KSU, and Texas. WVU's best game of the season was the 24-6 thumping of the Horned Frogs. 54% of the rushing attempts have been made by Leddie Brown who is averaging 111 yards a game. Alec Sinkfield has 78 attempts and 362 rushing yards. Quarterback Jarret Doerge is 224-349-3-2,428 with all the TD passes. in all of the Mountaineer losses, the opponent has shut down their running game (64 yard average) and limited the effect of a good passing attack.
On paper, the Mountaineer defense is very good. Opponents have only scored 19 TDs and 5 FGs on 69 possessions (35%) and they have held 61% of these to less than six plays. In three of their losses, opponents had halftime leads of 20-7, 20-13, and 21-0. Only at Texas, losing 7-10 at halftime, did WVU play well in the second half, holding the Longhorns to one TD (but West Virginia was only able to make two field goals). WVU's leading tackler (88) Tony Fields has opted out of the Liberty Bowl game. There are two other defenders each with 61, and another pair each have 51 tackles. Arizona three year transfer safety Young, with 150 tackles, has played the year on the scout team, and the NCAA has approved his participation in the bowl game. But it has been a year since Young has been in a game. The WVU defense has intercepted twelve passes and recovered two of ten fumbles. None of the Big 12 opponents are run heavy, but three out of five teams averaging 160 yards or more increased their rushing yards above their average in games against the Mountaineers (OSU 203, TT 179, ISU 236) with Texas and TCU being held 4 and 81 yards below their average. TCU got behind 14-3 at the half and gave up on its rushing attack that averages 215 yards a game. WVU should have beaten Texas. The WVU defense has only seen four opposing possessions of ten or more plays.
In conclusion, the Mountaineers do not play well on the road and from behind, as they shift to more passing and become less and less effective. The WVU defense has done best against passing oriented attacks; but against more rushing offenses, tends to fail. The Mountaineer offense is only effective when they have a balanced attack.
Army 21, West Virginia 14
Army has not run the triple option in the past few games.It’s going to be a close game for sure. But WV never played triple option in a long time. The guys were really happy to hear about going to a bowl game. They aren’t going to come up not showing up. Army is going to come in bringing their A game.
Good find, jrogue. Now I have to plumb the Eer website. Gonna be a fun week before the game.WVU will take some fatherly advice into bowl battle with Army
Living in close proximity to the Eer State Hueybird, my inbox is full from friends and Family torn between rooting for their Alma Mater or their Favorite WP Football Player!! Easy choice for Me Beat WVU!!!!Good find, jrogue. Now I have to plumb the Eer website. Gonna be a fun week before the game.
Then you are our inside source for the rest of the week. Get busy and keep us informed!Living in close proximity to the Eer State Hueybird, my inbox is full from friends and Family torn between rooting for their Alma Mater or their Favorite WP Football Player!! Easy choice for Me Beat WVU!!!!
Wild prediction - Anderson will start at QB. We will not be able to move the ball effectively on the WV defense on our first 3-4 series - Army will resort to passing and get intercepted - WV will build a 2 TD lead - Ballard will play most of the second half throwing at least 10-15 passes in an attempt to regain the lead. We will make a great effort but fall just short.
I hope I am completely wrong!
I agree with OntheHudson87...biggest mistake is to try to reinvent who we are...we should devise an offensive plan within our scheme that best gives us the opportunity to run the football, maintain possession (best defense), & have a shot at the end where “what to” matters most...Beat West Virginia! Beat Navy!
We keep having posters depending on the option offense to confuse WV. WE RARELY RUN THE TRADITIONAL ARMY OPTION PLAYS. I would have to review the game tapes, but I think we might have run the option a total of 2-3 times against Navy and AF. It seems that the majority of our plays are basic off-tackle runs by our FBs plus planned QB runs. This offense is not successful against a good defense.jiacono - I agree that WV is too well coached, so don't expect them to quit. I also agree with many of the other points being made. Our ability to win this game comes down to finding a way to stick with what we do best; running the triple option. A running between the tackles strategy (by-itself) will be very tough against a defensive line which includes a USA Today All American – and it won’t be long before they crowd the box. It also eliminates the one real advantage we have going into this game - WV’s lack of experience defending the option. Although I would not question our toughness in a knock down drag-out game against our opponent - the key to this game (IMO) is exploiting our advantage and keeping WV’s D off balance and confused.
Out of all our victories this year, the one that impressed me the most was the win over UTSA. The Roadrunners finished 7 and 5 this year but were underrated IMO – they nearly came-back to defeat a really good Louisiana football team yesterday. While UTSA had some experience defending our option (i.e. the previous year), the installment of a 2 QB strategy most likely caught them off-guard; it was brilliant IMO. It was a winning strategy against a good opponent - and with some key Qb injuries, it still allowed us to do what we do best. Why not replicate that concept for this game? While I’m not in favor of alternating Qbs during an entire season (i.e. next year), I do believe it provides us with our best chance to win. Just my opinion opinion but:
If we can sustain drives, I believe our already outstanding D will create more problems for the Mountaineer offense. We are CIC Champions – and never underestimate the heart of a champion.
- Recognizing a variety of skill sets, using multiple Qbs gives us our best chance (in this game) to utilize all phases of the triple option. This will exploit WV’s lack of experience defending it
- Using multiple Qbs (or alternating Qbs) IMO will also serve to by keep WVs D off balance and guessing
- Using multiple Qbs (or alternating Qbs) has worked before
We keep having posters depending on the option offense to confuse WV. WE RARELY RUN THE TRADITIONAL ARMY OPTION PLAYS. I would have to review the game tapes, but I think we might have run the option a total of 2-3 times against Navy and AF. It seems that the majority of our plays are basic off-tackle runs by our FBs plus planned QB runs. This offense is not successful against a good defense.