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Missouri exposes inexperience, gives Mountaineers first loss in blowout fashion

MORGANTOWN, W.Va- In the first true test for Neal Brown and company in Power 5 competition, the Missouri Tigers rolled over the Mountaineers on a hot Saturday afternoon by the score of 38-7 in Columbia.

After sneaking past James Madison last week, feelings were mixed coming into the game about how prepared the Mountaineers were for the Tigers. The problems the Mountaineers had on offense last weekend were recognized by Neal Brown during the week, but seemingly stayed constant during the loss. West Virginia was able to muster together just 171 yards during the game, and the rushing struggles continued with just 30 yards, with most of them coming in the final minutes of the game. 

Despite being given 10 penalties for 100 yards by Missouri to keep drives alive, the biggest problem remained finding ways to sustain drives consistently. The two senior running backs looked to be the stalwart of the offense this year but were unable to find cracks to run through the line of scrimmage. The running game for Missouri however had no problem with West Virginia’s offensive line, averaging 4.6 yards per rush, and 5.4 yards per pass. 

Austin Kendall finished passing 15-25 for 137 yards, throwing a touchdown and two interceptions. Both Jack Allison, and Trey Lowe made appearances late in the game. Allison threw a pick-six during his drive, and Lowe handed the ball off to the running back during the last two minutes of the game to run the clock out.

Kelly Bryant continued to perform well after his transfer from Clemson, throwing three touchdowns and no turnovers despite only throwing 25 passes. Bryant showed why he’s an elite dual-threat quarterback, weaving in and out of the pocket with big plays, commonly forcing missed tackles. 

Late in the 4th quarter, grad transfer George Campbell hauled in his second touchdown of the season on a blown coverage play, giving the Mountaineers their only score for the game. Campbell and redshirt freshman Sam James were the two bright spots for the receiving room.  Campbell had two receptions for 59 yards, with Sam James hauling in five catches for 35 yards.  

Defensively, Josh Chandler lead the Mountaineers in tackles for the second week in a row. He contributed five tackles and once again looked strong getting through the offensive line. The other bright spot was Darius Stills who contributed the teams two sacks and continues to lead the defensive unit as a whole. 

Despite the score, the Mountaineers will have a great opportunity to bounce back next week at home. NC State is coming to town to play in a 12:00 PM affair in Morgantown. Neal Brown started the trend #TrustTheClimb, and this team will continue to prepare and grow over the course of the season. The Mountaineers will need all the support they can get, and it’s time to flip the page to the Wolfpack.

**Defensive end Taijh Alston was carted off the field late in the second quarter with an apparent knee injury. Defensive coordinator Vic Koenning confirmed it was on the blindside block by Missouri. The injury appears to be serious, and we will keep our thoughts with him, and we will update as we learn more about the situation. **

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