Winning won’t come easy
With a quarter of the season completed, it’s time to take a look at what Mountaineer fans can expect as West Virginia prepares for its border state battle with the Terrapins from the University of Maryland as well as its eight remaining contests in its new home – the Big 12.
Redshirt freshman Ford Childress’ performance against an outmatched Georgia State squad failed to do the one thing third-year head coach Dana Holgorsen hoped it would accomplish – end the quarterback carousel with junior Paul Millard and FSU transfer Clint Trickett.
Yes, the numbers appear impressive – 359 yards and three touchdowns. But, it would be inaccurate to rate the Panthers’ secondary with the level of athleticism Childress will face with a Terrapins defense that held its own against a Mountaineer offense that included NFL draft choices Tavon Austin, Geno Smith and Stedman Bailey.
The Houston native will go a long way in easing the minds of fans everywhere with a repeat performance against the soon-to-be Big 10 member Terrapins. But, a sub-par performance will only add fuel to the fire surrounding WVU’s troubles at the signal-caller position.
Quarterback, however, isn’t the only position displaying signs of inconsistent play.
The offensive line has been less-than-stellar surrendering five sacks on the season as well as numerous tackles behind the line of scrimmage and the defensive front hasn’t exactly been ‘world beaters’, surrendering 321.3 yards per game against the likes of William & Mary and Saturday’s opponent.
Yes, Keith Patterson’s unit performed admirably in a 16-7 loss at Oklahoma, but the Sooners pounded out more than 400 yards of total offense – 316 on 57 rushes.
Georgia State’s Travis Evans efforts in the Panthers’ third loss of the season won’t go unnoticed by former-University of Connecticut head coach Randy Edsell, who is in his third season at UM.
Allowing 118 yards on only 12 carries, including one that went for a school-record 65-yard touchdown, WVU’s front five hope they can duplicate the same feat against a Maryland rushing attack featuring Brandon Ross, Albert Reid and dual threat quarterback C.J. Brown.
With nine games remaining, there appear to be three very winnable games – at Maryland, at Kansas and home versus Iowa State. But, a loss to the Terps would mean that the old gold and blue’s hopes of attending a 12th consecutive bowl would rest on WVU beating preseason Big 12 favorite Oklahoma State, Texas Tech or Texas at home or go on the road in search of a victory at Baylor, Kansas State or TCU.
The struggles on offense will make the Mountaineers huge underdogs against the Cowboys, Red Raiders, Longhorns, Bears and Horned Frogs.
A defensive effort like the one against the Sooners, despite the rushing yards, will keep WVU in the games. But, the offense must come around for the newest member of the conference to improve upon its preseason No. 8 pick by media that cover the conference.
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