This one's coming to you live from DKR on an iPhone, so we're gonna go 5 points on each phase and y'all can pick me up in the comments.
1) Hell yes - we beat a ranked team by 17 and have a bowl bid fully on the table.
1.5) HELL YES - WE BEAT A RANKED TEAM BY 17!
2) In the last two games, we've finally gotten something every healthy run game needs - backs who are creating more than what's blocked. Texas had some strong blocking in the first half, but the runners carried us to our big first half. Gray broke a tackle and both the safety's ankles en route to a 39 yard TD run, and notched another big run and three total TDs. Malcolm Brown broke some nice runs and tackles of his own, and fortunately returned after a hard shot to the head and neck in the first half. Even Eric Foreman got into the act with a few nice carries - Texas has something that at least resembles the kind of stable you need to support a real power run game.
3) Of course, the other part of a power run game is the ability to impose your will and our will went pretty well un-imposed in the second half. WVU's run blitzing went totally unpunished, but there were too many linemen getting individually whipped in one on one matchups by guys 30-50 pounds lighter with regularity. The penetration on run plays had to have Wickline spitting blood on the sideline. On the plus side for the OL, they looked plenty potent in the first half and the blitz pickup was terrific through most of the game.
4) Swoopes was iffy at best in this one. See #5 for my thoughts on our approach, but there's not much of a shine to put on 11-29 and 4.3 yards per attempt. He took care of the ball outside of a hideous short-armed INT that prevented a potential game-icing FG, but it was a step back while other parts of the team were stepping up. This non-linear progress thing can be a bitch to watch.
5) I didn't enjoy watching the Cowboys run every route 20+ yards against the blitz against Arizona, and I was no fan of getting to see the same game plan twice. My big issue with Watson in this one was what seemed to be a nonsensical approach against a high pressure team. There are other play action concepts besides "sideline Hail Mary" - when the LBs are biting up, there's nothing wrong with a nice little toss to the TE up the seam or an in route. WVU's corners just weren't reacting to run action at all, manning the wideouts with a single high safety. Play action gained us absolutely nothing on those kind of throws, and while you want your wideouts to win some more one on one fights you should be scheming better blitz-beaters when your QB is off.
1) Wow - WVU racked some yards and White helped his owners win their college PPR Fantasy leagues, but we
came in and executed a terrific game plan for containing an explosive O.
2) There were some requisite frustrating moments with the 3-3-5 against the run, but on the whole we survived in that look and thrived with four down linemen. It almost felt like Texas was rope-a-doping the Mountaineers into a bunch of non-harmful runs, and outside of a late 4th quarter scamper by Smith (I think?) they kept the WVU run game from stinging them. The DL took care of business, and the LBs are really stepping up against run games that don't employ the QB as a real threat.
3) You never want to give up 130+ yards to a team's lead receiver, but when it comes on damn near 20 targets and in the context of a 5 YPA night for the opposing QB you'll take it all day. Texas ran its game plan to perfection on White, keeping a safety over the top and getting competitive underneath coverage from Diggs and plenty of help from the LBs. The tackling was good, Diggs bagged a pick in what looked like Catch Man coverage, and none of the other waterbugs beat us thanks to great underneath coverage (by Hicks especially.) Nice work.
4) Ced Reed, take a bow. He's struggled in a frequently thankless 5-tech role for much of the season, but he got turned loose tonight and punished Trickett with a ton of big hits including a safety. Hopefully Reed can close his senior season out with a bang.
5) A D that has succumbed to fatigue and offensive miscues largely hung tough tonight instead of hanging their heads. Aside from that long run setting up WVU's late TD, they responded to a ton of Texas 3-and-outs with stout play. It was great to see their passion in denying Holgo his late cosmetic TD - they'll hopefully get four real quarters from our offense next week, but they're playing tough in tough circumstances.
Nice stand with MB making huge plays
3-3-5 killed by the run
1) We started off with a mind-boggling lack of situational awareness by senior Mykkele Thompson to hold on a punt that we weren't even considering trying to return. Yeesh.
2) Then, shades of the OU game with a bad kick and worse coverage - Rose had to have mishit it by the backspin on the ball, but the coverage was still outlandishly bad. Thankfully, he put most of the rest out the back to hide this wildly underperforming unit.
3) But ladies and gentlemen, we have a punter! After a shank from Russ, the staff turned to #35 (Davidson I believe?) who turned in some great pin-em-deep work including a coffin-crawler that set up our safety. Amazing what can happen when you win some special teams battles.
4) Ok, special teams only gets 4 - it's time to drink.
THE BOTTOM LINE
We beat a ranked team at home for the first time since 2008. If you stuck with this team through some ugly games this season, throw back some well-deserved drinks tonight - you earned them.
Let's go beat OSU and get in the postseason - I'll jump on the Toilet Bowl so fast I'll crack the seat.