After losing on the road against the No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners, there is a lot more good than bad concerning this team moving forward.
The Defense is LEGIT
Since joining the Big 12, the one constant has been when the Mountaineers and Sooners play, Oklahoma scores a lot of points. This defense kept West Virginia in the game, and kept them tied or ahead until the final 0:02 of regulation. But this defense showed the country that last season was not a fluke and can hang in with some of the most potent offenses in the country. The Mountaineer defense was able to limit Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler for the majority of the game, and allowed Oklahoma to only record 57 rush yards.
Neal Brown is the guy
Neal Brown out coached Lincoln Riley. Brown took the Mountaineers on the road, and did not lose West Virginia the game. Brown cannot control a lineman committing a false start, cannot stop a bad snap, but he can get his team prepared to win and he did just that. Brown took his team on the road to a top-five team, and had them on the brink of winning. Fans should “Trust the Climb,” because this team is capable of being one of the best three teams in the Big 12. Brown had a game plan and stuck to it for the most part. Brown was able to manage the clock, and despite the loss, he has this team moving in the right direction.
Second Half Offense
In the last two weeks, the West Virginia offense has scored a combined six points in four quarters of second half play against two ranked teams. West Virginia split those two games, and if they can figure out how to get the ball in the end zone more in the second half, they are able to win some of these games. Earlier in the week, Brown lamented how it could be hard for the offensive line to schematically adjust to having two quarterbacks play and they did that at times. Both Doege and Greene showed promise, but as the Mountaineers get deeper into conference play, Greene should see the field more and more, which should only help this duo and offense get better.
West Virginia just went into one of the hardest environments and went toe-to-toe with the No. 4 team in the country in a prime time game. The Mountaineers showed the conference and the country they are a team that can compete with some of the best. If West Virginia plays the way they played tonight against Oklahoma, they will definitely be in the conversation of playing in the Big 12 Championship. Coach Brown and his staff have preached this team is getting better, and tonight they proved that. If West Virginia catches a couple of breaks we are writing about an upset of the century, but instead we are writing about a heartbreaking loss. This team is close, and they are only going to continue to get better.
Photo by Dale Sparks, All Pro Photography