If you are a fan of WVU football, you have to be pleased with what this team has done so far this season. However, beginning Saturday WVU begins playing Big 12 Conference opponents. WVU has scored 130 points and allowed only 23 points to be scored against them. I’ll admit this is an impressive statistic.
WVU leads the nation in interceptions with 9, but they have only gained a total of 16 yards after the interception. WVU is gaining 1.7 yards per interception, and WVU has only forced 2 fumbles.
As we all know you can’t rely on statistics. One statistic that isn’t kept are fumbles that recovered by the person who fumbled it or his teammates. This season, two WVU running backs (Rushel Shell & Donte Thomas-Williams) have each fumbled the ball twice and recovered their own fumbles.
You won’t find this stat on cfbstat.com. We saw Rushel Shell do this last season near the end-zone, and he did the same at Pitt. As a coach I would be concerned that one of these fumbles won’t be recovered, and it could cost WVU a football game. From where I sit this is a concern.
WVU Punter Josh Lambert has made 6 of 9 field goal attempts. During his last attempt in the Maryland game, a Maryland defender got a hand on the ball. There are only two ways this can happen: (1) the OL didn’t do its job, and (2) Josh kicked the ball at a low trajectory. Going forward this is a concern.
However, perhaps the biggest concern is the one Coach Holgorsen mentioned during his postgame presser after the Maryland game. Holgorsen stated that he pulled starting QB Skyler Howard from the game because he was getting hit too much in the 3rd quarter.
If Holgorsen and his coaches, the fans, and the media saw this you can bet the Oklahoma coaches and players saw it as well. This isn’t simply a concern but a major issue, and if not corrected any hope of competing for the Big 12 title could end quickly for the Mountaineers.
In the Maryland game WR Devonte Mathis not only tipped a pass from QB Sklyer Howard giving Howard his first interception of the year, but he also fumbled the ball but managed to recover it. Against Maryland 3 different WVU players fumbled but regained possession. WVU safety K J Dillon wasn’t so lucky when he was stripped of the ball during a kick-off return which the Terps recovered.
You can only stretch luck so far before it turns against you. Holgorsen preaches ball security, but perhaps WVU isn’t as secure with the ball as Holgorsen thinks. You won’t go to a stat sheet and find this. As a coach and as a fan, I’m concerned about this non-stat heading into conference play.
I should add that when Devonte Mathis fumbled the ball, there was a penalty against WVU which negated the play. The point is, the fumble happened whether it was recorded or not.
As I see it there are 3 areas of concern heading into the Big 12 games: (1) the OL, (2) ball security, and field goals.
WVU Rushing Stats:
Pos Player Carries Yards
RB Wendell Smallwood 48 331
RB Rushel Shell 34 146
QB Skyler Howard 33 88
RB Donte Thomas-Williams 11 37
QB William Crest, Jr 12 36