WVU Football: Defense and Special Teams shine against Baylor

WVU Football’s Defense and Special Teams units set the table for an upset versus #12 Baylor.  What are the takeaways, from the loss in Waco?  

As WVU Football Head Coach Neal Brown addressed the reporters assembled in the post-game media room at McLane Stadium, he kept his composure through the inevitable questions regarding delay of game penalties, offensive gaffes that negated precious red-zone opportunities and an injury depleted roster that suffered more casualties from an extremely physical Halloween evening, of Texas football. The first-year Mountaineer coach sounded despondent, gutting through the questions and taking personal responsibility for the negated field goal attempt that would have tied the game, but for a delay of game penalty. As painful as it was to watch West Virginia’s head coach answer those questions, I understood that this “climb” that Mountaineer Football is enduring is going to be a multi-year, ongoing process. There is light at the end of the tunnel folks and it isn’t an oncoming train. West Virginia University Football is one unit away from fielding a complete team.

Defense and Special Teams

Waco’s Thursday night lights beamed bright, upon the Defense and Special Teams units for West Virginia. Coach Brown flatly stated that these two units played well enough to win the game. Darius Stills dominated his assignments and sacked Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer, on three occasions. Darius’ brother Dante added two sacks of his own, for good measure.

Electric Special Teams plays provided sparks that kept the upset engine humming, even though the Bear offense out gained their Mountaineer counterparts by a 2 to 1 margin. A 95 yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Winston Wright brought WVU to within four points of Baylor. Casey Legg nailed the PAT to bring the Mountaineers to within three points. In the 4th quarter, the punt unit recovered a fumble that placed the Mountaineers in field goal range. However, the Mountaineers couldn’t muster any more points. The score ended 14-17, in Baylor’s favor.

My Takeaway

A young, relatively inexperienced team of (not) freshmen traveled halfway across the country and gave the No. 12 team in the country all it could handle. Two thirds of the team played well enough to win. The one third that didn’t will continue to gain experience throughout the rest of this season. The offensive line will eventually gel, just as the defensive line has done. This will take a few recruiting cycles to accomplish, but it will happen. Two seasons ago, Baylor won one game, all year. The current coaching staff of West Virginia University Football will accomplish the mission. The fans must be willing to let them go about their business and understand that this “climb” will have ups and downs. Folks, I’m a Penn State Men’s Basketball season ticket holder. My Alma mater’s Basketball program has been “climbing” for 9 years. West Virginia is just an offensive line away from fielding an outstanding team.

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