Leddie And The D

No, that isn’t a new band – much like the rest of the year, it’s who carried the Mountaineer Football team. WVU got off to an incredibly slow start on Saturday with Kansas opening up a 10-0 lead on a TJ Simmons fumble and a clipping penalty on a kick return that buried us deep. Jarret Doege eventually answered with a 33-yard TD pass to Bryce Ford-Wheaton and it was all Mountaineers from then on. KU wasn’t able to score again until a Kickoff return at the end of the game.

The Defense did what it has done all year and stifled the Jayhawks. Senior DL Darius Stills (6’1 285 lbs.) even came up with an Interception off of a tipped pass. Freshman DL Ahkeem Mesidor and Senior DL Jeffrey Pooler Jr each had 2 sacks, with Sophomore Bandit Jared Bartlett throwing in 1 sack. DB Alonzo Addae added an Interception. Our leading tackler was Junior LB Josh Chandler-Semedo with 9 overall.

Leddie Brown carried the offense once again. This time he had 18 totes for 195 yards with a rushing TD after busting loose for an 87-yard beeline to the house in the 2nd half, and add to that 5 catches for 36 yards and a receiving TD. The WRs had a ton of drops, Sam James had 3 all by himself. Ford-Wheaton had 5 catches for 89 yards and a TD but he also had a few drops. Winston Wright Jr. came away with 4 catches for 54 yards. Doege’s numbers don’t look as bad as he played. He was extremely erratic most of the game, especially the first 3 quarters when the game was close, he did settle down some in the 4th when the team had a big lead. And yes, his receivers dropped some balls but he also missed quite a few wide-open passes. He finished 26/44 for 318 yards, 3 TDs and 1 INT.

Special Teams was again mediocre. Evan Staley missed a 44-yard FG to make him 12 out of 22 (54%) for his career on kicks over 40 yards and Pooka Williams returned a Kickoff for a TD. Our kicking game (or lack thereof) will come back to haunt us at some point. You have to be able to make kicks over 40 yards in FBS, especially Power 5 play. Against a better opponent, it would have haunted us this game. After Staley missed the 44 yarder, Neal Brown decided to go for it on a 4th down and failed when we could have kicked a 49 yarder. Instead of going up by two scores (20-10) we remained ahead by only four points. Fortunately, because we were playing Kansas, it didn’t end up mattering but against our Conferences better opponents – it will catch up to us.

If we could find consistent Quarterback play, we would be one of if not the best teams in the Conference. Unfortunately, as it stands, we won’t be able to put up enough points against teams like Oklahoma or Iowa State to win. Which is frustrating considering we have the Defense (#1 overall in Nation) and a stud Running Back in Leddie Brown to hang with anyone for 2 or 3 quarters. But no Defense can keep a team down all game. When the Quarterback can’t get 1st downs. The Defense ends up becoming gassed (we saw a lot of this with Holgorsen’s Score or Punt in 30 seconds Offense) and then the best D in the world cannot stop anyone once they’re exhausted.
Next Saturday we travel to Lubbock to play Texas Tech at 5:30pm on ESPN2. ESPN has our chances to win at 59.9% while Tech’s is 40.1%.