Justin K. Aller
Once again, it was the passing defense that let down West Virginia in a 50-49 loss to Oklahoma on Saturday. The Smoking Musket wonders if changes in scheme is what has plagued the passing defense this season.
The season is in complete freefall for the West Virginia Mountaineers, who lost their fifth consecutive game on Saturday, 50-49 to the Oklahoma Sooners. Once again, the Mountaineer offense put up plenty of points. And, once again, the Mountaineer defense gave up more.
It was, as usual, pass defense that gave West Virginia fits, as Oklahoma quarterback Landy Jones finished with 554 yards passing, including the game winning touchdown pass to Kenny Stills with 24 seconds left. The Smoking Musket has seen this before, and wonders if its time to dump the excuse that the Mountaineers are no longer playing Big East offenses:
Our Secondary - They continue to give up key 3rd and long conversions at terrible times. I realize that has a lot to do with pass rush, but OU went 4 for 4 on 3rd down conversions to start the game, and the second to last OU touchdown on 3rd & 7 was so badly defended I have to believe the guys didn't know what they were supposed to be doing.
Here's a thought that I've heard little talk about: perhaps the reason we are seeing such a poor performance out of our secondary this year is not that we were necessarily playing substandard Big East offenses in the past. Maybe it has more to do with the fact that we've been playing with 5 defensive backs for the past decade and that has artificially skewed our past statistics.
However, that wasn't the only problem that they saw, as special teams also doomed West Virginia Saturday night:
Special Teams continues to kill us. Missed extra point and horrible coverage on the last kick-off cost us the game. Sure, there were other things we could look to, but get those two things correct and the game ends differently.
The most difficult part of West Virginia's schedule is done, and they end the season with a road trip to Iowa State and a home match-up with Kansas. The Mountaineers need one win in those two games to earn bowl eligibility this season.