WVU is trending in the right direction following yet another huge win.
Morgantown, WV – When Neal Brown visited Arlington, Texas for Big 12 Media Days, he was adamant that his team would not finish last in the Big 12, as projected by the media. Following a massive 24-21 win over TCU on Saturday, many would venture to say that he was correct in his prediction.
It was ugly, rough, and often unpredictable, but what WVU was able to do on Saturday night in Fort Worth should have Mountaineer Nation excited for what is to come. There is something different about this team, and they now have the opportunity to become something special as we turn the calendar to October.
Continuing our series of five thoughts, today’s entry may just be our most positive yet. After all, it is hard not to be buzzing after just taking down the reigning national runner-up.
- Garrett Greene is much farther ahead of Nicco Marchiol than many realize
And that’s really to no fault of Marchiol. Garrett Greene has now been with the Mountaineers for four years, and has seen the most game action out of the two. Experience is on his side, and that was evident on Saturday night. Marchiol will get there, but this is Greene’s team for the time-being.
- This defense rallies
After seeing two teammates go down to injury, the Mountaineer defense could have easily folded. Instead, they cranked up the intensity and shut out the Frogs in the second half. I am not sure what Jordan Lesley did to change the fortunes of this unit in 2023, but it sure as hell worked. West Virginia has some fighters on the defensive side of the ball. That will be huge as we get deeper into Big 12 play.
- Michael Hayes is a worthy successor to Casey Legg
As usual, I am going to give the special teams some love. While I have been high on the Oliver Straw ladder (and I still am), I’m going to give the placekicker some attention this week.
Holy sh*t…does Michael Hayes have a leg! The junior connected on a 49-yard field goal in the fourth quarter which proved to be the difference. However, he also connected on a 53-yard field goal to end the first half that was ultimately called back due to a questionable false start penalty. Hayes would then proceed to almost hit a 58-yard field goal, but left it wide. I was a little worried about placekicking after the departure of Casey Legg, but this dude seems to have what it takes.
- This team can play and beat anybody
There is not a game remaining on the schedule that the Mountaineers cannot win. Will they win out? It remains to be seen, but with their style of play that I like to call “bully ball,” they will at least have a fighting chance in every fourth quarter.
- Neal Brown is the early favorite for Big 12 Coach of the Year
It is hard to argue against this one. After being picked as the worst team in the Big 12, Neal Brown’s team has taken down two of the conference’s darlings coming into 2023. If he can pull off some more stunners, there is no doubt in my mind that he will be voted as the Big 12’s best coach in 2023.
(Photo by WVU Athletics)