West Virginia kicks off at noon today down in Missouri. Before the year, this game looked like it would be a blood bath, how quick things change. Missouri is coming off an upset in Wyoming last week and West Virginia is trying to build off the JMU win.
Building Off Win
West Virginia was able to secure the win last week against the best team in the FCS, but it wasn’t pretty. The two talented Mountaineer running backs combined for 20 carries and 31 yards. Austin Kendall played well and was a big reason for the win last week. But headed into this week they have to differ from the previous game plan.
Looking back at the Missouri loss, Wyoming won the turnover battle and was dominant in the ground game. Wyoming ran the ball 41 times for 299 yards, good for over seven yards a carry. On the flip side, they were only able to throw for 92 yards. If West Virginia wants to surprise everyone, they are going to have to find some push and running lanes.
While it isn’t a secret that JMU is a solid team, they are still an FCS school. 31 yards rushing is just unacceptable and looking at previous years, Neal Brown has a run heavy offense. They also have to compete against a better pass defense. West Virginia is almost a two touchdown underdog and an outright win isn’t expected by most of the country. But it can’t be ruled out.
Week one was ugly for plenty of schools and West Virginia was no different. The first game against a good team while breaking in a new system, coach and QB. They now have tape to look back at and build on week one issues. But if the running game isn’t fixed, West Virginia will likely get blown out.
But expecting a win in week two of a rebuild on the road against and SEC team is just unfair. The most important thing that everyone should really want to see, growth. This season is about building the foundation that Holgorsen left crumbling. Neal Brown doesn’t need to pull off the upset, but he needs to take a step in the right direction.
Started Saturday Tailgate in 2018. Covering all things college football and talking Notre Dame on Twitter.