On Saturday against Louisville, the Mountaineers were both – and that's why they lost. WVU ended up missing an onside kick attempt and falling 38-35 to the Cardinals.
I wonder what the Big 12 Conference thinks of this.
"You have to come out and match the intensity of your opponents, and at times this year we've been able to do that. But, it hasn't happened all the time. We're still having trouble doing that," said senior defensive tackle Julian Miller. "It's haunted us the last couple of games, and the next three games we're going to have to play a full four quarters."
For what seems like the ninth straight game of the year, West Virginia was unable to play as an entire team.
It has shown this season that it can't put it all together.
If the offense is working, the defense or special teams probably aren't. If the defense is on point, then the offense or special teams are struggling. I'll get into special teams later on, but you can pretty much bet it will be awful at any point in the game.
For example on Saturday, senior linebacker Najee Goode picked off a pass from UL freshman quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to open the second half. WVU's offense was unable to capitalize by scoring a touchdown, and then junior kicker Tyler Bitancurt missed a short field goal to keep the game tied at 21.
It happens like that at multiple points in multiple games.
There's a disconnect somewhere. WVU's offense can't get motivated from a big defensive play and vice versa.
West Virginia has gotten away with some horrid special teams this season, but it couldn't on Saturday.
It was truly the difference in the game. WVU had a missed field goal, a blocked field goal and an 11 and 12-yard punt.
"Not a very hard one to figure out – you lose the turnover battle, you go 0-2 on field goals – that gets you beat," said head coach Dana Holgorsen after the game. "We couldn't punt, couldn't kick, and we just lost the battle."
That surely sounds like a defeated head football coach – and that's really the first time that I've seen Holgorsen so down that he wonders what is going wrong. At some point, West Virginia is going to need to act like a team – one that plays offense, defense and special teams well at one time.
There is no reason to believe that this will happen in 2011. It's been nine games, and the Mountaineers haven't shown any bit of consistency.
If that doesn't change, there are three teams left on the schedule that are better than Louisville. And, they notice West Virginia is vulnerable.
"When we play good in certain parts of the game, you see that we can do it," Goode said. "But, there are times that we mess up. Great championship teams don't mess up like that."
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