If not for several big stops by Lamonte McDougle, the WVU football team may not have been Kansas by three touchdowns last week.
Around the time in the second half where the Jayhawks were catching up to the WVU football team, down by just seven points, Lamonte McDougle had a huge play to secure the momentum. McDougle had a sack of Kansas quarterback Peyton Bender, which cost the Jayhawks 10 yards, and he forced a fumble.
For those efforts, McDougle was named the defensive champion after the Mountaineers 56-34 win against the Jayhawks. McDougle finished the game with three tackles, the most in a game so far in his collegiate career.
At 5-foot-10, 295 pounds, McDougle is a mighty force on the defensive line. Since arriving in Morgantown from Miami, Florida, McDougle has adapted well to his surroundings and is dedicating himself to the team. By hitting the weight room and focusing in training camp, he has earned this early playing time for the WVU football team.
Before seeing even more playing time against Kansas, the week prior, McDougle recovered a fumble against Delaware State.
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The Mountaineers can use almost any help on defense, because it has been a unit that has struggled mightily against almost every team they have played this season. The WVU football team gave up way too many yards to Kansas last week and the defense is No. 8 in the Big 12 with 451 yards per game.
Three of West Virginia’s first four opponents were Delaware State, East Carolina and, most recently, Kansas, who is a perennial cellar dweller in the conference. If the Mountaineers are giving up 450 or more yards to stronger Big 12 teams, which they probably will, things are going to get even rougher faster.
Luckily, the West Virginia offense has shown it can score at will. So, most of these other Big 12 showdowns will likely be a shootout. The defense still needs to step up. Players like Lamonte McDougle are showing they are up for the challenge. He has to continue to use his strength to make plays and get more experience on the defensive line.
McDougle came in for the injured Xavier Pegues on Saturday. With a week off, Pegues may be back to full strength for the upcoming game against TCU. If not, McDougle will be back ready to capitalize on what he started against Kansas.
Adam Shuler and Reese Donahue are the other linemen who play along either McDougle or Pegues.
A lot of things need to start coming together for the West Virginia defense, but one sure thing right now seems to be Lamonte McDougle.