The Mountaineers changed their losing ways with a critical road victory in Ames, IA yesterday. West Virginia became bowl eligible with the victory and the staff at HailWV could not be anymore proud of how the team banded together to grind out a tough victory.
As far as our predictions, we are not quite as proud of those.
Ken Durbin’s Predictions: 1.) I’m looking for the Mountaineers offense to pile up 650 yards of offense. Expect Stedman Bailey to be a key contributor against a weak ISU secondary with 12 receptions for 185 yards and 3 touchdowns. 2.) So in my boldest prediction of the season, I predict that the Mountaineers defense will have a banner performance. The defense will hold ISU to 350 yards and 28 points. I look for the defense to come up with 2 turnovers and force at least 4 punts. 3.) WVU finally makes a bowl game with a 45-28 victory.
Nov 23, 2012; Ames, Iowa, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers wide receiver Stedman Bailey (3) catches a pass against Iowa State Cyclones defensive back Jeremy Reeves (5) during the first half at Jack Trice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-US PRESSWIRE
1.) I certainly over-reacted to how well the offense performed against a stout Oklahoma defense. Since the ISU defense ranks much lower than the Sooners defense, I was figuring that the Mountaineers would be able to duplicate if not improve on last week’s performance in Morgantown. The offense played well but was moving at a slower tempo than they were against Oklahoma. The offense finished with 475 yards, only 175 yards shy of my projection.
Stedman Bailey was a key receiver for Geno Smith, but did not have as stellar a game as I had predicted for him. The soon to be Biletnikoff winner caught 7 passes for 82 yards and a touchdown.
2.) I have been tough on this defense all year and I would like to acknowledge just how proud I was of this unit yesterday. The defense looked a little sluggish against the pass in the 2nd quarter, but otherwise, turned in a tremendous four quarter performance. I was about as close on my defensive prediction as you could be. The defense only surrendered 396 yards and 24 points. A great performance by Joe DeForest’s group.
3.) I thought the Mountaineers offense would click a little better than they did yesterday. Had they not been called for some questionable holding calls and false starts, some of those 3 field goals would have turned into touchdowns.
Brandon Miller’s Predictions: I look for 350+ all purpose yards and 3 touchdowns from Austin. Geno gets his mojo back and puts in his strongest effort since Texas with 450 yards and 4 TDs. WVU wins a shootout in Ames 55 – 52.
Big 12 football sure is unpredictable isn’t it? I promised myself after the Oklahoma game that I would not predict our defense to hold anyone under 40 points again this season because I really thought a high school team could put up 40 points on us. Well, I guess Iowa State has an offense on par with a middle school.
I haven’t double checked the stats, but I believe our defense put in it’s best performance in a conference game this season. 24 points, 396 yards, 10 stops on 19 3rd downs. These aren’t great stats for a defense, but for ours they are. I really think this has little to do with our defense turning some corner and more to do with Iowa State having an anemic offense, but I’ll take it. I give the defense credit for a good effort and keeping the score reasonable. It was enough today. Hopefully it will build their confidence and we’ll see an even better performance next week against the fighting Weiss’s.
I was surprised that our offense never really got moving like it did against Oklahoma. No doubt, 31 points and 475 yards isn’t a bad game, but I figured we’d see a lot more than that after the performance against Oklahoma. I was thrilled to see Alston come back and have a huge game. We’ve been missing that all year and I have to think we’d have won some of the games we lost if he was healthy (TCU, OK St, and OK). It also seemed like Geno handled the wind better than he did at Texas Tech. Overall a solid performance to get the Mountaineers bowl eligible.
Nov 23, 2012; Ames, Iowa, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers running back Tavon Austin (1) rushes up field against the Iowa State Cyclones during the first half at Jack Trice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-US PRESSWIRE
To review my specific predictions:
-I look for 350+ all purpose yards and 3 touchdowns from Austin: Austin didn’t get as many touches against the Cyclones. I think it was due to a combination of Shawne Alston returning and running well and the coaching staff wanting to protect Austin a bit. Tavon ended up with 261 all-purpose yards, which seems underwhelming for him but is still an excellent game. He also added 1 touchdown- a very important one that sealed the game for the Mountaineers. Austin didn’t quite meet the lofty stats I predicted, but he still had one heck of a game.
-Geno gets his mojo back and puts in his strongest effort since Texas with 450 yards and 4 TDs: Geno had a solid 236 yards for 2 TDs, about half of what I predicted. Again, the effectiveness of Shawne Alston and the weather kept Geno’s numbers down.
-WVU wins a shootout in Ames 55 – 52: Well, I was way off here, other than it being a close game. But I’m not too worried about it. We won and are going bowling. This season will leave a much better taste in everyone’s mouth if we can beat Kansas, beat a good team in a bowl game (maybe USC or Arizona in the Holiday Bowl?) and finish with a 3 game winning streak.
Alan Searles’ Predictions: Another 300 yards plus from Tavon in all purpose yards (more evenly balanced though), and Stedman gets a pair of TDs. Vegas and their lines be damned; 34-21 Mountaineers.
I wasn’t too far off on the score but it certainly wasn’t a resounding victory. The stats weren’t very high either. I really thought we would finally have a great break through but i am more than happy with a win. Each week it is something new that plagues us and this week it was penalties right in the middle of big plays or drives, or on defensive we had some solid stops to only give up big third downs. A win is a win though, so I slept just fine.
Patrick Pishko’s Predictions: 1.) Tavon Austin: 25 carries, 145 yds., 2 TDs. 2.) Karl Joseph: 11 total tackles, 1 pass defensed, one forced fumble…we are learning this one can really lay the hammer down.
I thought the weather would play a great role in yesterday’s game. Thankfully, it did not seem to affect Geno as much as I thought it would. We also got a surprise in the full return of Shawne Alston; my oh my how nice it would have been to have him healthy the entire year.
I predicted Tavon would carry the ball 25 times in order to gain 145 yards; similar stat line for Alston, so maybe it would have happened this way had he not played.
Nov 23, 2012; Ames, Iowa, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers safety Karl Joseph (8) celebrates with teammate K.J. Dillon (9)after recovering a fumble in the end zone against Iowa State Cyclones during the second half at Jack Trice Stadium. West Virginia defeated Iowa State 31-24. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-US PRESSWIRE
I almost totally hit the nail on the head with Karl Joseph; I believed he would rack up 11 total tackles, 1 pass defense, and a forced fumble. Instead, he tallied 13 total tackles, one of those being for a loss, and a fumble recovery which sealed the victory for WVU.
All in all, I think it was a decent performance against an OK Iowa State team…just unfortunate we could not bask in the glory of a Pitt loss at our hands!