West Virginia came into Norman 17 point underdogs. The gritty Mountaineers had the entire nation watching as they took a three point lead into the fourth quarter. Then, squandered it away, like they have many times before. This is my recap:
Before I get into the content of the game itself, I first will acknowledge how incredibly spoiled the Oklahoma fanbase is. I cannot imagine booing a future NFL draft pick and possible Heisman contender QB. That is all.
The game itself wasn’t surprising to me. I knew West Virginia was going to give Oklahoma a fight. In fact, I picked the Mountaineers to win in our weekly staff predictions. However, I would ALMOST rather have been blown out than lose the way WVU did last night. But, I am happy as far as the effort goes. They showed heart and grit. Just like true Mountaineers do every day. We are strong and courageous, and the team showed that last night. But, I am not happy about the result. Should ANY Mountaineer fan be happy about anything besides the effort?
First (and only) Positive: The effort as mentioned in the opening. One of the best efforts I have seen in a long, long time. The team showed power and love for the state of West Virginia. They showed they belong in the Big 12 Championship conversation. They proved to the country that the West Virginia D is LEGIT. They gave Mountaineer fans confidence that has seemingly been missing ever since the Maryland game, even though some was repaired after the win vs Virginia Tech. When you turn on a Mountaineer game, win or lose, you want to see the heart and hustle. We saw that last night. Unfortunately, mechanical issues, not moral issues, flushed what could’ve been one of the greatest wins in program history right down the pipe.
First Negative: Miscues. There’s an old saying. “If you can’t beat WVU, just let them do it themselves.” That statement has never been more true than it was Saturday night. The false start inside the 1 yardline on first down, Doege’s high throw to a wide open Bryce Ford-Wheaton in the endzone, the miscommunication on the snap on WVU’s final drive (x2) all proved to be game changing. The most impactful one is debatable between Zach Frazier’s snap that went by Doege and Doege’s bad throw to Wheaton in the endzone. (Notice how they both involve Jarett Doege). Anyway, to me, it’s clearly the snap miscommunication. Naturally we would blame the quarterback. But, as of now, we do not know exactly what happened. The one thing we do know is the fact that it changed the game entirely. WVU would never see the offensive side of the ball again, as OU took a slow, miserable drive down to end the game.
Second Negative: What is wrong with West Virginia’s second half offense? In three games this season (not including Long Island for obvious reasons), WVU has scored just NINE second half points. To put it even more bluntly, WVU hasn’t scored a single touchdown against a P5 opponent in the second half of a game this season. Why? First off, the inconsistency at quarterback is simply making things extremely difficult. We saw Doege miss some throws, especially on sideline routes. We also saw Greene fumble which luckily didn’t turn into a turnover. So, the QB situation isn’t helping the problem. Secondly, the play calling get’s too conservative. Bubble screens, 5 yard dumps on 3rd and 11. The list goes on. You’re playing on the road against a top 4 team. Just send it, man. Don’t play not to lose.
To conclude, this game was truly heartbreaking. It ranks right up there with 2014 TCU, 2018 Oklahoma, but will never touch 2007 (s)pitt. With that being said fellow Mountaineers, you can say that you’ve “been there, done that.” Because we have experienced this, we are used to it. But lets take a moment and think. The sun rose this morning, we woke up this morning, we are healthy, alive, and we are Mountaineers. On to Texas Tech.