The WVU Mountaineers began the 2016 season by defeating the Missouri Tigers by a score of 26 – 11.
This was not an easy win for the Mountaineers, for they struggled on all 3-sides of the ball, and they lost the turn-over battle.
Starting QB Skyler Howard showed once again he can’t throw the middle screen, nor can he turn and throw the out route. Howard struggled today with these passes as we saw him struggle last season.
After Howard took a knee to the chest late in the 2nd quarter, William Crest came in and on his 2nd play dropped the ball when attempting to throw it. The ball was recovered by Missouri, but they had to settle for a field-goal.
Next, Chris Chugunov came in as quarterback and on his 3rd college play ever, he threw into coverage and was picked off.
If I were grading the QBs on their overall play today, considering their level of experience, I’d give Howard a C, Crest a D-minus, and Chugunov a D. This is Howard’s 2nd year as a starter, Crest has played off and on for a year when games were in hand, and this was the first college game experience for Chugunov.
Jovon Durante proved once again he can not catch a ball coming directly at him.
The best WVU receiver on this day proved to be Daikiel Shorts. While this is supposed to be running back Rushel Shell’s breakout year, it was evident today that Justin Crawford will be the next Wendell Smallwood. However, we did see more out of Shell today than we had in previous seasons.
Third down and red-zone efficiency was an issue in this game for WVU. WVU only managed 2 touchdowns and 4 field-goals.
WVU’s defense did a good job stopping the run, but if the Tigers had better receivers, then this game could have easily been theirs. WVU’s pass defense was spotty most of the time when it came to defending the pass. Justin Arndt and Kazir White were the stars on WVU’s defense.
The WVU kickers looked extremely good today. But the blocking on punt returns reminds me of 2-years ago, when WVU had no punt return capability. The punt returners were under a lot of pressure and had opponents in their face when attempting to make a catch.
I think my wife got tired of me yelling at WVU defenders, “get off the block”. Many of WVU’s defensive players had issues getting off blocks to make plays.
Going forward, WVU must improve in these areas or else they could end up 6 – 6 or 5 – 7. Either William Crest or Chris Chugunov needs to step up their QB play. One of these players, or both, must realize if they don’t step up their QB play and prove it on the field this season neither will be a starting QB at WVU. There are 2-QBs behind them also wanting the job. Basically, if Crest and/or Chugunov wants to be WVU’s starting QB, they need to prove it now.
While a win is a win, I was not all that impressed today. From what I saw today, WVU has little to no chance of competing for the Big XII title this season, or of beating Kansas State in its Big XII opener.
I hope they prove me wrong……
Photo by WVUSports.com