MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – WVU football has seen its fair share of ups and downs this season. After last week, the latter is at the forefront.
Unfortunately, the lows always seem to follow those big moments.
“From my chair, the inconsistency is extremely frustrating. Probably the most frustrating thing professionally I’ve ever dealt with. I’ve never dealt with these highs and lows like we are dealing with,” WVU’s head coach said in an exclusive interview for this week’s Neal Brown Show.
After being Virginia Tech 33-10 in the final game of September, a poor performance in Austin led to a 38-20 loss to Texas. It was the worst rushing output up to that point as WVU only managed 61 yards on the ground.
An open week followed before the Mountaineers welcomed Baylor for their final Thursday night contest of the year. The two traded blows throughout the game and Casey Legg’s field goal with 33 seconds to go sealed a much-needed victory.
WVU hoped that battle would provide the confidence it needed to defeat Texas Tech for the first time since 2018. However, those same woes came back to haunt Neal Brown’s team as it was handed a 48-10 defeat after busting just 33 rushing yards.
“The expectation is that you are going to play at a high level and certain standard we set and when you don’t, it’s not okay. How we performed at Texas Tech was not okay. There was nothing okay about that performance,” Brown said. “Offense and defense, simply not good enough. Special teams, we did okay. We didn’t necessarily contribute to helping us win the game, but we didn’t do anything poorly either.”
Looking at the stats, WVU’s performances in the Baylor win and Texas Tech loss were night and day. WVU finished with a 100-yard rusher, a 100-yard receiver, allowed zero sacks and forced three takeaways in a 43-point performance vs. the Bears.
Against Tech, the leading rusher and receiver didn’t even combine for a total of 100 yards. WVU was the one committing turnovers with four total. Missed tackles led to big plays and touchdowns for the Red Raiders and the Mountaineers only managed one touchdown.
“Sometimes when we win, we get too high,” defensive lineman Sean Martin said. “We need to do a better job just focusing on game by game and not getting too hype on just winning one game.”
Brown said he “refuses to accept” that the Texas Tech game is who WVU is as a team.
Their mentality is “next”: next game, next opponent, next opportunity.
“How we played is not good enough and you don’t sugarcoat that. It’s direct. It’s honest feedback. Then what do we do to correct that and make sure it doesn’t happen again? We have a great opportunity. TCU is a really good football team, and we’ve shown signs of being a good football teams at times,” Brown said. “We have to be more consistent and they have to come to our place. This is a tough place to travel to and a tough place to win. We’ve got to be able to put a much better performance on the field on Saturday. If we do, we have the chance to win.”
WVU has searched for a defining moment this season. A win over No. 7 TCU, the top team in the league, would be exactly that.
The two clash at Milan Puskar Stadium on Saturday at noon. It will be televised on ESPN.