Man was I ever wrong. I thought this game would be close. I truly felt that WVU would win by at least 13, but no more than 17 points. WOW! I never thought this would be a runaway game for WVU.
Many things in this game impressed me on all sides of the ball. I have to agree with the Fox game announcers in that WVU’s #28 TE/FB Elijah Wellman should be the offensive player of the game. Not only did Eli catch a TB pass, but he led the way blocking on many of the running plays. Wendell Smallwood showed Eli how much he appreciated his blocking with several big runs. With Eli leading the way, Smallwood had 22 carries for 147 yards. That is impressive.
Rushel Shell’s first run was not. He ran to the line of scrimmage, stopped, tried to change direction and was tackled. I got a glimpse of Coach Seider talking to him on the sideline, and when Shell got his next carries he ran possessed and with determination.
One thing that both Shell and Donte Thomas-William have to stop doing is fumbling the ball. Both had fumbles they recovered themselves in this game. One of these times in a critical situation they will fumble and not recover it, and this will cost WVU big time. Perhaps, both Shell and DTW should have to carry a football around like WR Shelton Gibson.
The one thing that bothered me about this WVU team was the lack of QB protection in the 3rd quarter. QB Skyler Howard was getting clobbered. Coach Holgorsen even mentioned this in his post game presser, so you can bet this is something WVU will work on this week.
In addition to Shell and DTW’s fumbling as well as the play of the OL in the 3rd quarter, I’ll bet Nick O’Toole gets a talking to about his lack of effort on his fake punt. O’Toole admitted after the game that he received a generous spot of the ball on this play and appeared to be at least a half yard short of the 1st down marker. At 6’3″ and 228 lbs, he could have certainly gained a couple of more yards had he not stepped out of bounds.
I thought WVU’s defense was awesome. They finally got QB sacks, and even though they didn’t get sacks at times, they put tons of pressure on Maryland QB Caleb Rowe. WVU’s defense had 5 interceptions in this game, by 5 different players: Jeremy Tyler, K.J. Dillon, Karl Joseph, Terrell Chestnut, and Daryl Worley.
WVU safety and punt returner K.J. Dillon learned a big lesson about protecting the ball when he fumbled a kick-off return, which he heard about from Coach Holgorsen when he got to the sideline. Dillon got an ear full from Holgorsen on this miscue.
It was fun to watch the WVU players on all sides of the ball, for everyone was involved in making plays. The thing that amazes me the most is that WVU basically has 22 starters on defense. There are 22 ones if you will, and no matter who is playing the defense doesn’t miss a beat. With the exception of the OL, the same can be said about WVU’s offense.
For once I can say that Rushel Shell actually impressed me on each of his carries after the first one. Donte Thomas-Williams ran with desire. And as much as I hate to admit it, when QB Howard hit Shelton Gibson in stride in the endzone for a 41 TD pass, I began to become a believer in Skyler Howard. Yep, if Howard keeps passing like this, and threading the needle like he did on a pass to WVU WR Jordan Thompson, I may just have to become a Skyler Howard fan. There wasn’t much in this game I saw from Howard that I didn’t like.
Probably the biggest shocker of the game was WVU kicker Josh Lambert missing 2 field goals, although a defender got a hand on one to deflect it. When a defender can get a hand on a kick, it is generally due to one of two things: Either the OL allowed too much penetration of the defense, or the kicker didn’t get ball up high enough quick enough. Thus, I’m not sure if the block was Lambert’s fault or the OL’s fault.
Personally, I think WVU is ready to move on into Big 12 play. You can bet that there were plays called against Maryland that will send the Oklahoma Coaches scrambling such as the fake punt. I’m sure this is what Coach DeForest intended, since it was his call. With this being a bye-week for Oklahoma, and the new wrinkles inserted into the Maryland game, you can bet the Oklahoma coaches will have to go back and re-evaluate the game plan they previously had for WVU.
I’m sure the odds makers will have Oklahoma beating WVU by 17 or more points, but I think this game could come down to the wire. I’d bet this game will be close until midway through the 4th quarter. I for one truly believe WVU has a shot at beating Oklahoma on their own turf. And I expect Holgorsen and his coaches to put in a few more wrinkles for this game.
I want to congratulate all of the WVU coaches and players on a GREAT GAME and HUGH WIN this weekend!!!
Highlight video by Fox Sports: