Keys to the bye week: Finding identity, eliminating penalties before TCU

Gold and Blue Nation

As the Mountaineers hit the halfway mark of their season, they stand at just 2-4 — but until their blowout loss to Baylor, they had been in every game late into the fourth quarter. The Baylor loss highlighted several of their deficiencies.

West Virginia continues to struggle to run the ball, unable to create a push up front or open holes for the running backs to get through, and it shows up in the stat sheet, as WVU ranks dead last in rushing in the Big 12, averaging 109 yards per game. In the loss to the Bears, they were held to just 90 yards and an average of only 2.4 yards a carry. Mountaineer quarterbacks were also sacked six times, no quarterbacks have been sacked more in Big 12 games than Mountaineer quarterbacks.

Through six games, the offense really doesn’t have an identity — who’s the leader? Who’s the go to guy when you need a key play on a third down situation.

Again, this shows in the stat sheet, because if you throw out the LIU game and the Mountaineers are averaging just 20 points a game.

In-game discipline has also been an issue — no other team has been penalized more than the Mountaineers, and several have come at key moments in games. Through the first five games, the defense hung strong, but in the loss to Baylor, they were beaten badly in the defensive back field with several wide-open receivers and missed tackles. They also struggled to put any pressure on the quarterback finishing with no sacks, marking the first time all season they failed to record at least one. As it stands right now, the Mountaineer defense is a middle of the pack unit in the Big 12, ranked fifth in total defense.

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