Many people are still talking about the performance by the Mountaineers over the weekend. At many points during the game, the team struggled against Baylor, most notably the offense. Though West Virginia was able to pull out the double overtime win, it did not come without a headache or two.
While fans continue to complain about the ugly victory, they do not realize this is simply Neal Brown’s brand of football. During his stint at Troy, Brown did not bring with him the high-flying air raid offense of his Texas Tech days. What he would instead do with the Trojans was run the ball and play defense. It wasn’t always flashy, it wasn’t always pretty, but it got the job done.
In 2018, Troy would struggle in two games that they very easily could have lost. Being as it was a Neal Brown coached team, they found a way to win in the end.
Everyone remembers the Trojans’ upset over the Nebraska Cornhuskers in Lincoln. Though Scott Frost hadn’t entirely gotten his feet under him yet, Nebraska was still expected to win. However, Neal Brown and the Trojans would have something completely different in mind.
Statistically, the Trojans had every right to lose the game. If one were to take a glance at the box score on ESPN.com, they would probably be stunned that Troy was even in the game at all. The Cornhuskers were able to outgain the Trojans, 364 to 253, and won time of possession, 32:54 to 27:06. What was the most eyepopping statistic of all was the 12 first downs for Troy. What this indicates is the Trojans often struggled to move the ball over the course of the game.
Despite all of this, Troy pulled out the 24-19 victory – and never trailed in the game. Neal Brown and his squad were able to take the lead in the first quarter, and never surrendered it. The Trojans relied on their defense, and their defense got the job done. This would not be the only time this would occur during the 2018 season, as Troy would once again have to rely on defense. This time against a lesser opponent.
Later that season, Troy would barely edge Texas State 12-7. Going into the contest, the Bobcats were a pitiful 3-7 (1-5 in conference). If you like ugly defensive football, you probably loved this game.
The Trojans were once again outgained, 284-220, and would only pick up 13 first downs for the entire game. Passing the ball, Troy was only able to accumulate 79 yards – pretty bad, right? What would win this game for Neal Brown was the six turnovers that his defense forced, as well as winning the time of possession battle.
They once again never trailed during the game, and were able to hold strong against Texas State’s late comeback attempt. Sound familiar?
What we saw against Baylor was a West Virginia team that did everything they could to lose the game. The Bears were on the comeback, but West Virginia’s defense prevailed. If the Mountaineers plan to compete for the Big 12 with Neal Brown as their coach, this is simply the style of football they will do it with.
After all, winning is all that matters, right? No matter how you do it, WIN THE DAMN GAME. I have full confidence that Neal Brown will win some damn games at West Virginia,. Even if it causes our fanbase heart attacks and comes with several close calls in the end.
TRUST THE CLIMB