The West Virginia Mountaineers have reached the halfway point for the 2019 season. A season that started with minimal expectations has gone to script so far. The Mountaineers are currently 3-3 and have a daunting task ahead of them this weekend.
Tomorrow’s game in Norman, Oklahoma against the fifth ranked Sooners is one that has blowout written all over it. Oklahoma has Heisman favorite Jalen Hurts as their quarterback. The Sooners also have weapons all around Hurts to put together a dynamic offense. Dynamic offenses are something OU is used to, but now they finally have a winning defense. The defense has plagued Oklahoma’s national title hopes for the last decade but this year they have come around.
For West Virginia, a team with a lack of talent heading into the season, the news surrounding the team recently has just been adding salt to the wound. Starting quarterback Austin Kendall left last week’s game with a pectoral injury. Running back Martell Pettaway announced his plans to sit out the rest of the season. Two offensive linemen including all big 12 caliber tackle Josh Sills have had season ending injuries. Wide receiver Tevin Bush announced his plans to transfer and fellow wideout Sean Ryan had surgery last week.
On the defensive side of the ball, West Virginia learned linebacker VanDarius Cowan will miss the rest of the year. The Mountaineers already lost Jovanni Stewart to transfer and could very well be without their two best cornerbacks tomorrow. Keith Washington is questionable to play and Hakeem Bailey is suspended for the first half. Every week list of absences gets larger and larger and this rebuilding year for the Mountaineers continues to get tougher and tougher. The Mountaineers are facing one of the country’s best teams with a lot of inexperienced players that are going to need to play because of those absences. Baptism by fire is the term that best describes this situation.
As for the players West Virginia will have on the field this week, Austin Kendall will probably be back to get his chance against his former squad. Kennedy McKoy and Leddie Brown are both active to try and negate the loss of Pettaway. Sam James, WVU’s most dangerous offensive player, will be doing all he can against a solid OU secondary.
Defensively both Stills brothers will have to carry a weak box for the Mountaineers. In the secondary Josh Norwood is the only guarantee to play that carries any sort of experience at the college level.
The Sooners have virtually two elite rushers on the field at the same time with Hurts and Trey Sermon. CeeDee Lamb is an elite wide receiver and this time next year will be playing on Sundays. Pair him with Jadon Haselwood and OU carries two elite receivers.
The revamped OU defense is led by linebacker Kenneth Murray. The kid who wanted to come to WVU has terrorized them and the rest of the country every time he plays them. He’ll eat up everything in the run game this week.
Tomorrows Headline: “Oklahoma makes history, first college game that ends at halftime due to mercy rule.”
Cover Photo Credit: Kelsie LeRose, BGS