The Mountaineers will struggle to win if they get hit early
Nov. 13 – MORGANTOWN – West Virginia is a team built from within. The Mountaineers’ best units are the offensive and defensive lines.
When they’re at their best, WVU can look unstoppable, like they did against BYU two weeks ago. When an opponent can match them up front, however, the Mountaineers can look helpless, as they did last week against Oklahoma.
“They hit us hard up front,” WVU coach Neal Brown said of the Sooners. “The strength of our football team is up front and they did some things moving their defensive line that eliminated some of the we did in the early running game. and he got some movement.”
In the lopsided win, Oklahoma’s offense put up 59 points and 644 yards, both season highs for West Virginia’s defense. On defense, the Sooners held WVU’s offense to just 20 points on 330 yards, both the fewest since quarterback Garrett Greene returned to the starting lineup more than a month ago.
“We didn’t do nearly as well as we wanted to and that’s just something we have to look back on and we can’t forget about,” offensive lineman Tomas Rimac said. -this week we are really focused on just putting our heads down and working.”
The Mountaineers still ran for 176 yards and didn’t allow a sack, but OU held them to just 10-of-31 passing and 4-of-16 on third down.
“We still ran the ball for 176 yards and didn’t give up a sack – they just weren’t getting the upper hand,” Brown said of the offensive line. “Oklahoma’s D-line stepped up and they did a few different things than they did in previous games. It took us a while to settle down.
“It wasn’t that we played bad, most teams would probably have 176 yards (rushing) and no sacks against Oklahoma, but for us and the level we set as a we play first, it was not up to us. normal or our expectations.”
Defensively, WVU was just pushed around. The Sooners rushed for 221 yards, an average of 8.3 yards per play and were 8-of-14 on third down, all while scoring 59 points.
“We can say whatever we want, they beat us, easily,” defensive lineman Jalen Thornton said. “That’s the beautiful thing about this game, it’s the highest level and lowest of the highest and you can’t lie about it. I think it was good for us to come in (Sunday), watch the film, own it and just flush it down the toilet and move on.”
Brown said it was important for the team to watch the film from Oklahoma early because their next three opponents – Cincinnati (2:30 p.m. / ESPN+), Baylor and the bowl opponent – will all be watching that game and trying to copy what the Sooners have done.
“This is a copycat deal,” Brown said. “The things that (Oklahoma), Cincinnati and Baylor did can get in pretty easily. … That’s what we worked on (Sunday) and we’ll be working all week because we’ll see them again this Saturday and next Saturday. Apart from.”
Injuries WVU is dealing with injuries to two offensive starters this week – right tackle Doug Nester and running back CJ Donaldson. Nester returned to the starting lineup against the Sooners but did not finish the game. Donaldson was knocked down in the second half and also did not finish.
Brown said no players practiced on Sunday and he will have a better idea of their availability by the time he does his radio show Thursday night.