The Mountaineers made the most of their final home game of the year, blowing out the hapless Kansas Jayhawks 59-10. We here at HailWV tried to make the most of our predictions for the final game and it looks like we did pretty well in our regular season finale.
Ken Durbin’s Predictions: Tavon will go for 350 all-purpose yards and 2 touchdowns. Not to be outdone, I think Stedman Bailey will own the Kansas secondary to the tune of 12 receptions for 250 yards and 3 touchdowns. WVU dominates KU from start to finish, 63-31.
Well, I kind of overstated the contributions of both Austin and Bailey in this one. The way the Jayhawks have struggled defensively this season, I figured that Austin and Bailey would be able to find plenty of open field. I thought Tavon would get 350 all-purpose yards and a pair of touchdowns, and he ended up with roughly half of my projection, 187 yards and 1 touchdown. Credit Kansas punter Doherty for keeping Austin bottled up in the return game.
Stedman Bailey, who should be the Biletnikoff winner, had a great outing, just not as great as I thought he would be. He tore up the KU secondary for 11 grabs for 159 yards and 2 touchdowns. Bailey probably would have had an even more impressive stat line if it were not for Kansas’ inability to keep the game remotely close.
Finally, WVU got the huge offensive explosion I thought they would, powered mostly by the run game. I thought that the defense could play pretty well but would give up more points based on how quickly I thought the WVU offense would score. Joe DeForest’s kids played one heck of a game in the face of an option rushing attack. In total, a great team effort.
Brandon Miller’s Predictions: I’m going to go really bold and say Geno throws for 550 yards and 5 TDs. Stedman Bailey, who may or may not be playing his last game in Morgantown as well, will contribute 13 catches for 250 yards and 2 TDs. Shawne Alston will run all over the Jayhawk defense and go for 125 yards and 2 TDs. And finally, Tavon Austin will have a another amazing game to finish out his career, going for 450 total yards and 3 TDs. I’ve been burned twice when predicting the defense would turn in a good game, soI refuse to do so this week, but I still think we will win big. WVU 70, Kansas 34.
If you ever wondered what this season would have been like if we were still in the Big East, the game against Kansas should tell you all you need to know. I’m still glad to be in the Big 12 though. It gives you a sense of how big of an upgrade in competition we faced- probably a difference of 3 wins on our record.
I have to give credit to the defense in this game. I predicted they’d give up 34 points and they turned in their best performance of the year. Yes, Kansas has a terrible offense overall, but they do have one of the better rushing attacks in the country and we held them in check. (I’ll caveat all this with the fact that we would have given up 30+ points had they had a QB that could throw the ball well). Kudos to the players and staff.
We did about what we expected on offense. The Jayhawk defense was no match for Geno, Tavon, Stedman, and Buie. I predicted over the top stat lines for our offense, but overall we weren’t that far off except for Alton- not sure what happened, but if he had played in the second half he would have come close to what I predicted. But everyone else was great. Geno had a great game. Tavon showed us again why he should win the Heisman. Bailey showed us why he should win the Biletnikoff. I’m glad we sent the seniors off right.
Now it looks like we get Syracuse in the Yankee Bowl. I guess hanging a bunch of points on them will be a nice way to end the season, but I’d rather be playing a power conference team in the Holiday Bowl.
Alan Searles’ Predictions: We will still make too many mental mistakes to blow them out, but Stedman and Tavon account for 300 yards receiving and 100 rushing and the Eers win 35-31.
Similar to Miller’s thoughts on what this team would look like in the Big East, if you were wondering what we would look like when we didn’t make stupid mistakes and played a complete game, then Saturday was for you.
Certainly Kansas played into the outcome as they are an awful squad, but very soon we are going to look back and think, how did we spoil all of that talent? As I documented in my preview earlier in the week, if you come out focused against KU you will end up having fun. We sure did have a fun day. It really makes me happy we could send Stedman, Tavon and Geno out that way. Hopefully we can romp in our bowl game as well.
Patrick Pishko’s Predictions: I’m predicting that Geno Smith goes 15-20 for 260 yards and 2 touchdowns. Defensively, I think Karl Joseph will make 13 tackles and 1 forced fumble.
Well, I was correct in my assumption that WVU would wallop the Jayhawks of Kansas; I, however, was not spot on in my anticipation on how they would accomplish such a beatdown. Geno threw it four more times than I had predicted, but outgained said prediction by over 140 yards and a touchdown. The combo of Alston and Austin did do well, combining for 117 yards and three TD’s.
My current favorite Mountaineer, Karl Joseph registered a pick, a forced fumble, a half tackle for loss, and 7 total tackles. This young man is thriving in his role for the Gold n’ Blue. Can you imagine what his sophomore year will hold?
It was a nice finish to an up and down season. I look forward to the Pinstripe Bowl, even though it pains me to say such a thing. This team failed to live up to the media’s hype, but to those of us true Mountaineer fans, I believe it was sort of expected. We will continue to get better, and I really do think WVU will surprise a lot of folks next year; after all, it seems as if we always do our best when no one expects us to.