From a 37-7 win to a 59-20 loss, the pendulum is swinging hard and fast for West Virginia university football.
Here are the biggest takeaways from WVU head coach Neal Brown’s postgame thoughts following his team’s loss to No. 17 Oklahoma:
Losing the line of scrimmage
For a team whose strengths are supposed to show themselves in the trenches, WVU did not see its typical production from the offensive or defensive line, according to Brown.
“They beat us up front,” he said. “After our first initial drive there [and] in the first [and] second quarter where the game got away from us a little bit, they got after us up front, and that’s really the first time that’s been done all year.”
Oklahoma tallied just one more rush attempt then WVU, but the Sooners outgained the Mountaineers 221-176 on the ground. Oklahoma (5.3 yards) also rushed for a whole yard per carry more than WVU (4.3 yards).
Regression in the passing game
Junior quarterback Garrett Greene came into Saturday’s game with four-straight starts with a completion percentage of 50% or above. Against Oklahoma, he completed just 10-of-27 passes (37%) for 154 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
“Garrett really struggled – after that first drive – in the first and second quarter,” Brown said. “[He] didn’t play like himself.”
“We can’t beat any quality teams if our pass game is in the shape it was tonight,” Brown added. “It’s probably as bad of stats passing as I’ve ever been associated with. We had drops. We missed reads. We missed throws. We got hit tonight more than we have, and then our third-down execution just wasn’t good enough.”
The Mountaineers were 6-of-20 on third and fourth downs combined Saturday night.
A porous defense
The WVU defense allowed 644 total yards, eight touchdowns, 5.3 yards per carry and 8.3 yards per play. Outside of a pair of sacks, there wasn’t a whole lot going for the Mountaineers on the defensive side of the ball.
“We couldn’t get off the field,” Brown said. “They exposed us in coverage. They took advantage of matchups.”
The Sooners converted 8-of-14 third-down attempts and both of their fourth-down conversions.
Oklahoma quarterback Dillon Gabriel accounted for eight touchdowns (a program record) with 423 passing yards and 50 rushing yards.
Three Oklahoma skill-position players earned over 115 yards from scrimmage Saturday night: running back Gavin Sawchuck (22 carries, 135 yards), wide receiver Nic Anderson (four receptions, 119 yards) and Stoops (10 receptions, 164 yards, three touchdowns).