The WVU Mountaineers bounced back in tremendous fashion last Saturday to take down TCU with ease. Their 18-point victory improved the team’s record to 5-3 overall, with a 4-3 mark in the Big 12 Conference.
Running back Leddie Brown led the way for WVU, totaling 156 rushing yards on the afternoon.
The Mountaineers proved they are a different team when they’re successful in the running game. Head coach Neal Brown and the offense have gone away from the run too early in some games this year, and that has cost them.
Brown, a junior from Philadelphia, has eclipsed the century mark for rushing yards in five of WVU’s eight games. The Mountaineers are 4-1 in those contests.
His 897 rushing yards rank him third among all running backs in college football. Brown trails only Iowa State’s Breece Hall and UTSA’s Sincere McCormick.
While the back paced WVU, quarterback Jarret Doege was more than efficient throwing the ball.
He completed 19 of 26 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns.
WVU’s 14-3 halftime lead was plenty for this amazing defense. The Mountaineers held TCU to just 295 total yards, as well as forcing two turnovers.
Senior T.J. Simmons’ second receiving score of the day basically ended this one.
After recovering a fumbled punt return, the Mountaineers struck quickly to put the game out of reach. Doege hit Simmons for a 38-yard touchdown on the offense’s second play to take a commanding 24-6 lead.
The win was crucial for WVU and its backers at West Virginia sportsbooks.
The Mountaineers easily covered their point spread of -3 and sent bettors home happy once again. They are now 6-2 against the spread this season.
Let’s examine their latest win over the Horned Frogs and what the Mountaineers will be working on during their bye week.
WVU beats down TCU
WVU was in control from the start of this game and won it wire-to-wire.
After the defense made TCU punt following a decent opening drive, the Mountaineers may have had their best possession of the year.
TCU’s impressive punt that was downed at WVU’s one-yard line made no difference. WVU traveled 99 yards on 15 plays to score the game’s first points.
The drive lasted over seven minutes and set the Mountaineers up for success the rest of the way.
Doege plunged one yard into the end zone to give his side the early lead that it would never relinquish.
As mentioned, Brown and the rushing attack were key to winning. Even wide receivers Sam James and Simmons got involved, adding a combined 20 yards on three carries.
Although the Mountaineers only dropped back to pass 26 times, several receivers had notable performances.
Simmons led the team with his two touchdowns and with 90 receiving yards. Sophomore Winston Wright Jr. was solid, as well. He led the Mountaineers with six grabs for 47 yards.
Five additional receivers caught a pass for WVU, including junior Sean Ryan with four receptions.
On defense, a familiar name filled the box score yet again.
Linebacker Tony Fields II was spectacular, notching 14 total tackles, with eight of those being of the solo variety. He now ranks fourth in the nation in total tackles with 79 for the season.
Several others had quality showings, too. Junior linebacker Exree Loe accounted for 12 tackles, while sophomore safety Tykee Smith had nine and an interception.
The fourth conference victory for the Mountaineers exceeds their total from a year ago in spite of the shortened season.
They now have an opportunity to finish the campaign on an even higher note, with two ranked opponents left remaining on the schedule.
WVU faces No. 18 Oklahoma at home on Nov. 28, then finishes up the year on the road at No. 17 Iowa State.
Mountaineers’ bye week plans
The Mountaineers are definitely feeling confident heading into their final bye of the season. They’ve won four of their last six games, with their two defeats coming by a combined total of 11 points.
WVU has already matched its overall win total from 2019, so it’s clear that things are coming together for the boys in Morgantown.
Coach Brown is pleased with how his squad is playing at the moment, more so than the results. According to Sports Illustrated, he said:
“It matters how you play. When end results aren’t always what you want, we can find solace in understanding that what’s really important is the effort and physicality that you play with. I thought what we put on tape today was West Virginia football. Individually and collectively, I thought our guys laid it on the line. I thought the coaches put them in a really good position to be successful.”
Turning things around at a new program isn’t always the easiest, but it appears Brown has laid a solid groundwork thus far.
While winning consistently in a conference like the Big 12 might take some time, there’s no reason good teams shouldn’t be giving it their all every week.
One area the Mountaineers can work on this week is getting off to better starts. Of course, that’s easier said than done, but it’s absolutely something they can improve upon.
In the seven conference games WVU’s played, it has scored first in just two of them. It won both of those matchups.
For whatever reason, both the offense and defense aren’t fully ready to go at the beginning of games.
If the Mountaineers can continue to have quality first quarters as they did against TCU, then they should have more success.
Coach Brown understands he has a long way to go, but he sees things coming together in his second year. According to the WV MetroNews, Brown said:
“I don’t think we have arrived by any means, but I think we are figuring it out. The product we put on the field today was very good.”
WVU football odds at WV sportsbooks
Even though WVU probably won’t win the Big 12 this season, it will have a say in which team does. Oklahoma and Iowa State are the two favorites to win the conference.
According to DraftKings, the following are the current odds on who will win the Big 12:
- Oklahoma -110
- Iowa State +275
- Oklahoma State +350
- Texas +350
- Kansas State +3300
- WVU +25000