Looking at the wins and losses alone, the WVU football team is in a good position heading into its bye week.
The Mountaineers are coming off a 56-34 road win at Kansas. The WVU football team let some things slip away in the middle part of the game, but managed to do enough in the fourth quarter to salvage a victory.
Part of the reason the WVU football team had its sluggish moments against the Jayhawks was because of temperatures that soared into the 90s in Lawrence, Kansas. It’s hard enough to sit in the stands and watch a football game in that kind of heat. So, imagine what the players had to do out on that hot turf.
The Mountaineers dealt with several injuries and cramps on Saturday. Plus, the defense looked lethargic at times. Again, almost everyone is a bit lethargic in 90-degree heat. West Virginia defensive coordinator Tony Gibson won’t take that as an excuse, though.
Gibson knows the Mountaineers did not play to their full strength against the Jayhawks. They probably didn’t leave it all on the field, even though they may have run out of gas in some spots. Gibson told WVUsports.com after the game that some players may not have proven that they can play at the Big 12 level.
"“I didn’t like that I had six starters that we can’t play Big 12 football with,” Gibson said. “Here’s the good news. We won today and we played a lot of guys who played a lot of snaps for the first time in a meaningful football game, the bad news is I have six starters out that played minimally. We won, but if we don’t get healthy we’re going to have some more growing pains.”"
Hopefully, some players on his defensive unit will take that as a reality check. The WVU football team has a week to rest up and get back out there because next on the schedule is an undefeated TCU team who knows the window to a Big 12 Championship is wide open.
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The Horned Frogs didn’t back down from the heat or the hype of a top ten team on Saturday. TCU earned a victory over visiting Oklahoma State, who saw its national title hopes likely dashed by falling to the Horned Frogs, 44-31.
The West Virginia defense showed that it does have depth on Saturday with senior Mike Daniels, who did not make a startles year after transferring in from a junior college, and freshman Lamonte McDougle made some big plays. Daniels had a pick-six and McDougle had a forced fumble on a sack.
But the Mountaineers’ total run defense was gassed by Kansas running back Khalil Herbert. The best standout on defense for the WVU football again was Al-Rasheed Benton. He led the team in tackles, like he has in every other game this season, with 11 stops.
The bye week probably couldn’t have come at a better time for the Mountaineers. There is enough to time to rest up before what is arguably the biggest game of the season, thus far, against TCU.
There is also plenty of time for the players who may be in Gibson’s dog house to rise up and earn back some respect from their defensive coordinator.