The West Virginia football team kept their bowl games hopes alive on Saturday afternoon when the team edged out Texas in their home finale, 31-23.
Mountaineer head coach Neal Brown met with the media following the game to break down the action and interpret the game how he saw it. Brown began by talking about how hard fought of a win it was for his team and how his team bounced back from a tough loss last week to Kansas State.
“Good win, I’m proud of our staff, proud of our players, how we responded. Obviously last week didn’t go the way we wanted it to. [Were] playing a very talented Texas team who continues to compete, I think those guys even through that losing streak they’ve continued to compete and I think that’s a good reflection on that staff and what Sark (Steve Sarkisian) does,” said Brown of his team’s play.
With the Texas game now over and the home slate of the Mountaineers regular season all wrapped up, there’s only one game remaining in the regular season. This week Brown talked with his players about how it’s never too late in the season to put your best foot forward.
“What we talked about was it’s never too late, it’s never too late to play quality football. What I told them is the time is running thin but it’s not too late and I knew we had it in us and for me the whole goal of today was quality football and I truly believe if you handle the processes right, the preparation right then the results will take care of themselves,” explained Brown. We just went back and made sure we were clearly defining what our expectations are in all three phases and what was going to be acceptable and what are non-negotiables for us in each of the phases,” explained Brown.
West Virginia’s defense was able to hold Texas to not a single first down until there were 10 minutes left in the second quarter. That’s quite impressive against the Longhorns offense as the Mountaineers were also able to hold them to only 355 yards.
“We dropped eight probably more than we have at any point this season and we were intentional about keeping the ball in front of us, we knew they were going to be able to run the ball some and we felt like if we could just keep the ball in front of us we would have a chance and make them take their time and methodically go down the field,” Brown said.
The Mountaineers also ran the ball fairly effectively on the day as senior running back Leddie Brown was able to prance into the end zone with two minutes remaining before halftime. Brown spoke about how his team was able to run the ball well on Saturday.
“Persistence — struggled with it early and then we got into a rhythm probably sometime in the second quarter and they played us a little different, a lot of four down looks than what we’ve seen on video, I thought we ran hard, we did a good job covering them up, but it was a hard earned 158 yards and Leddie did a nice job.”
The play of the day for West Virginia may have come in the fourth quarter on a Texas fourth down when senior safety Sean Mahone picked off a Casey Thompson deep pass at the six-yard line and returned the ball to the 34-yard line.
“He made a really good decision to come back,” said Brown. “He’s a guy that definitely increased his stock with NFL scouts, he’s put himself in a position to win the William Campbell Trophy which is incredible what a great honor, he’s been academic All-American all those type of things and so we got them in that fourth down and we needed a play, we were able to get some good pressure on that play as well and the ball was thrown to him, he had a good run after the catch too, I’ll give him a little credit on that.”
West Virginia will be back in action next weekend from Lawrence, Kansas when the Kansas Jayhawks host the Mountaineers at 7 p.m. on FS1.
Photo by Bryan Dougherty, Blue Gold Sports