Observations from West Virginia's Dissapointing Performance Against Sooners

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia was beaten soundly in all three phases of Saturday night's game. There is a lot that can be gleaned from the contest (most of it negative) and these are our initial observations from the performance.

  • There's no other way to put it, the start of this game was flat out embarrassing for WVU, the Mountaineers had a huge game on a national stage and failed to show up. Entering the contest the biggest criticism of West Virginia was a lack of quality wins. The Mountaineers had their chance to get one tonight but got beaten soundly by the Soonersin all three phases of the game.
  • The Muffed punt was a long time coming for punt returner Gary Jennings. Jennings had failed to call fair catch and taken several unnecessary risks and hits on the season and tonight it finally caught up to the sophomore receiver. That play set the tone for the rest of the night.
  • Stating the obvious here but Kennedy McKoy's injury on the first play of the game is an obvious hit to an already very thin running back unit. Rushel Shell was still unready to go so Justin Crawford had to take all of the carries. The junior back's 331 yard performance was spectacular aside from the first quarter fumble, but his play will be overshadowed by the Mountaineers' poor performance in all three phases of the game.
  • OU's running game is the real deal and the combination of Perine and Miixon could be the best "Thunder and Lightning" combo in the country. The Sooners' offensive line was also better than expected as they paved the way for several big runs.
  • Turnovers are becoming a reoccurring issue for the Mountaineer offense. After committing four turnovers against Texas, WVU gave the ball away four times tonight and all of those led to OU touchdowns. Four turnovers resulted in 28 points, which was also the difference in the game. This is becoming a disturbing trend for the Mountaineers.
  • All of the personal fouls pointed to a complete loss of focus and composure for the Mountaineers. The game was extremely chippy (the two teams were involved in a midfield scuffle in pregame) but only one team lost its composure in this one, the team who lost by 28 points.
  • As the season has carried on, it looks like Skyler Howard has started to lose his confidence. Mountaineer fans were hoping that the senior quarterback would bounce back in a big way after throwing three interceptions against Texas, but the quarterback missed several throws early and appeared to be out of sync with his receivers for the better part of the night. The 80 yard pick six in the third quarter was the unofficial nail in the coffin for the Mountaineers tonight, but Howard shouldn't shoulder the entire blame.
  • Expanding on the earlier Jennings comments, the punt return unit for the Mountaineers is one that has come over heavy scrutiny this year. Tonight was another poor performance by the group as they also got flagged for roughing OU's punter shortly after the Jennings muffed return. The two blunders handed Oklahoma 14 of its 34 first half points.
  • While there are plenty of negatives to take away from tonight's performance (and most have been outlined above) West Virginia didn't completely quit in the second half and displayed some fight the final 30 minutes of the contest. That can be a positive going forward as the Mountaineers try and bounce back, something they have failed to do in previous seasons. The Mountaineers must now avoid the hangover game against Iowa State.

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