The Bottom Line
By Bill Nestor
The West Virginia University football team continued to find ways to impress despite suffering a 45-33 setback to Oklahoma this past Saturday in Morganton.
Mountaineer fans have been witness to the overall improvement that has been shown by this year’s edition. Even some of the most skeptical of WVU fans have bough into this team, case in point the 61,908 fans that were in attendance at Milan Puskar Stadium.
In several aspects, the Mounties outplayed the #4 ranked Sooners and the stat line proves it. WVU had more first downs (26-24), total yards (513-510), and less penalties (5 for 5 yards to 8 for 82 yards). The stat that didn’t favor the hosts however is typically connected to a game’s outcome – turnovers. It’s hard to give the ball to a top five team three times and expect to win. One of those was a rare miscue from signal caller Clint Trickett. Trickett threw an interception in the middle of the third quarter that seemed to change momentum in Oklahoma’s favor. Trickett has been a leader for this team and his numbers have been rather impressive. Saturday he was 25 of 41 for 376 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Kevin White and Mario Alford continued to be the dangerous duo of the receiving corp. White hauled in 10 passes for 173 yards and a score while Alford had 7 receptions for 1001 yards a touchdown.
The offensive fireworks allowed the Mounties to hold a lead throughout the majority of the first half until a 100-yard kickoff return from Alex Ross sent the teams into half time tied at 24-24.
WVU has gone back to the 3-3-5-stack defense that was so successful during the Rich Rod era and it has been rather effective this season until the second half of this clash when the Sooners rushing attack went into a new gear.
Running back Samage Perine scored three of his four rushing touchdowns. Perine finished the evening with 242 yards on 34 carries. The defense did do a pretty good job of limiting quarterback Trevor Knight. Knight threw for 205 yards, no touchdowns and one interception.
Is it possible to win even when the final score indicates otherwise? In this case there is no doubt that the football program earned a big win on several levels. The fact that there was large crowd in attendance shows that Mountaineer Nation still believes in this team.
Athletic Director, Oliver Luck had to be happy with the crowd of fans that showed up for this prime times tilt. Luck had also mentioned previously that he wanted to see improvements and there has been plenty of that this season. A 2-2 start with such a grueling schedule is the proof of what could be another winning season. There might even be a bowl game in this teams future. The biggest win in the loss is the notice that was served to the entire country that this squad and the football program are back on the upswing.
WVU has been competitive with national powers Alabama and Oklahoma with both of these games being played when the entire country was watching. Once you start actually playing with the top teams then the next step in the progression is beating the top teams. After you get your share of those wins then you become one of those top teams. The first step has been taken now fans can just sit back and wait for the wins to come rolling in.
That will do it for now. Until next week…take care and God bless!