So far this season, West Virginia has underperformed. The Mountaineers have not gotten a win yet during conference play and in order to get its first conference win, and first road win since 2019, the Mountaineers will have to beat TCU in the ground game on both offense and defense.
West Virginia (2-4, 0-3 Big 12) is currently looking up at the nine other teams in the Big 12 standings. The Mountaineers have been searching for an identity on offense, and hope following the bye week, they will be able to find that identity by running the ball.
TCU (3-3, 1-2 Big 12) ranks second to last in the conference in rushing defense, allowing 210 rush yards per game. On the flip side, West Virginia ranks last in the Big 12 in rushing yards per game — with 111.8 yards per game.
West Virginia head coach Neal Brown said his team has to continue to get better running the ball and their rushing attack was one of the focuses of the bye week.
“That’s where we spent most of our time last week is getting our running game on track,” Brown said. Senior running back Leddie Brown also knows the West Virginia run game needs to improve in order for the offense to improve.
“We need to play a complete game as an offense,” Leddie Brown said this week about what he thinks the offense needs to improve upon. Brown has been somewhat quiet after a breakout year last season. Through six games, Brown has rushed for 422 yards, and six touchdowns, after rushing for over 1,000 yards a year ago.
Unfortunately for the West Virginia offense, despite TCU giving up 32 points per game this year, West Virginia expects the Horned Frog defense still presents a challenge for their offense.
“Defensively, they make it tough. Year in and year out and make it tough [and] they take away what you do best,” Neal Brown said.
Although running the ball is not the thing this Mountaineer offense does the best, there is not many things it does well to begin with, so for West Virginia to have success, they will have to have a good game plan to be able to run the ball.
Defensively for West Virginia, the Mountaineers will have to continue to be able to stop the run. This season, the Mountaineers have been playing the run well. Having given up only five touchdowns on the ground and just over 100 yards on the ground, it should present a good matchup with TCU’s strong rushing attack.
TCU running backs Zach Evans and Kendre Miller have more than 950 combined rushing yards, and 11 combined touchdowns on the ground as well.
“I don’t think that they’ve hidden the fact that they want to run the football, that’s their first and foremost goal,” Brown said. “That’s got to be our first priority versus these guys,” is stopping the run.
TCU is coming off a 52-31 loss against Oklahoma, after picking up a win against Texas Tech the week before by the same score. The Horned Frogs are 2-2 at home this season, and have not won against West Virginia since 2017.
West Virginia is coming off a dreadful start. After losing three of its first five games by a combined 12 points, the Mountaineers got pummeled in a 45-20 loss to Baylor, before having its bye week. The Mountaineers will look to find its footing in the Big 12 this season, and beat a team on the road for the first time since they defeated TCU 20-17 on Nov. 29, 2019.
The Horned Frogs and Mountaineers are set to kickoff at 7:30 p.m., with the game taking place at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas.
Photo by Bryan Dougherty, Blue Gold Sports