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Time to start taking West Virginia seriously in the Big 12

West Virginia v Texas Getty Images

West Virginia has an awful defense and its special teams, while not under the same degree of verbal scrutiny, is almost as bad. But, the Mountaineer offense is so good that for the second straight week, it didn’t make a difference in the final outcome of the game.

As far as game plans go, Texas had it drawn up as well as any team that’s faced WVU this season: cater to your offensive strengths (running the ball) and keep the ball out of Geno Smith‘s hands. On defense, get pressure on Smith, don’t allow the big plays and force a couple turnovers if you can.

The Longhorns did all of the above for the most part, but as is normally the case in close games, one mistake gets magnified when it becomes the difference in the game. That was a missed 41-yard field goal by Penn State transfer Anthony Fera. Of course, that miss was preceded by a botched snap for which UT quarterback David Ash apparently wasn’t ready. That resulted in a loss of 16 yards.

When Texas was able to drive the field in one minute to score one final touchdown, that missed field goal loomed.

It was an even, well-played game between two very good football teams. It came down to the last second and a failed onside kick gave the No. 8 Mountaineers a 48-45 win over the No. 11 Longhorns.

Smith wasn’t even the star. He didn’t do much to hurt his Heisman stock, going 25-of-35 for 268 yards, four touchdowns, and again, no interceptions — although he had the ball stripped a couple of times — but it wasn’t the video game numbers he’s been putting up. That’s to be expected; Texas is by far the best defense WVU has played all season.

No, it was running back Andrew Buie (pictured) who gets the game ball. The sophomore ran 31 times for 207 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His most important carries came at the end when Dana Holgorsen went out of his comfort zone and — gasp! — bled the clock (Nick Saban would have been proud). Buie carried the ball seven times on the team’s final offensive drive and scored a touchdown.

And that is the scariest thing about WVU’s offense: that it’s not just Smith. It’s Tavon Austin (who had 10 receptions for 102 yards and a touchdown). It’s Stedman Bailey (who had three touchdown grabs). It’s Buie. That makes it difficult to slow and nearly impossible to stop.

The defense and special teams? They’re bad enough that they might cost WVU a couple games this season, but through two Big 12 matches, the offense has been able to get it done.

The next month holds some crucial games for WVU. The Mountaineers have to go on the road again to Texas Tech before a pair of home games against Kansas State and TCU. Then, there’s another road game at Oklahoma State before the big Nov. 3 game against Oklahoma. That’s a decently tough stretch, but one of the biggest questions WVU had heading into the season was whether it could play on the big stage after years in the Big East.

Considering its first Big 12 road game was in front of 100,000 people, I’d say yes.

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16 Responses to “Time to start taking West Virginia seriously in the Big 12”
  1. melikefootball says: Oct 6, 2012 11:17 PM

    Have to say watching the game, WVU defense may not be much they still won a game in Auston. They won when they gave 14 points up on thre quick plays from a blocked kick and fumble. Texas got another fumble at the twelve yard line and West Virginia did no t give up and scored TD’s when needed. A team that played in the Big East that all sports announcers ran down game in and beat undefeated Texas at their home. I’m glad my poor team here in North Carolins does not play WVU. They need SOME respect for beating teams in their new division, Baylor and Texas.

  2. drummerhoff says: Oct 6, 2012 11:30 PM

    I’m not sure how you can say the special teams are bad??? I agree the kick-off team was sub-par tonight, but that is not the norm.

    At the end of the night, WVU left points on the board (Buie’s stumbles w/ a clear path to a TD before the first half) and the turnover that gave UT a TD.

    The better team won by 3. They should have won by 3 TDs.

  3. houndofthebaskervols says: Oct 6, 2012 11:33 PM

    In-state Division 1 Signees in 2012:

    West Virginia – 18
    Texas – 347

    I am shocked that Brown is still employed in Austin.

  4. barbeaux says: Oct 6, 2012 11:56 PM

    I don’t know why in bells bells Mack didn’t call timeout as the play clock drifted towards 0 on that late fourth quarter play when the bad snap happened…or Ash could’ve been paying attention….or the center could’ve held it and just accepted a 5 yard penalty rather than a 20 yard loss.

  5. v2the4 says: Oct 7, 2012 1:34 AM

    hound of baskerfulls…

    just fyi..there are 16 D1 schools in Texas (11FBS and 5 FCS schools)…..West Virginia has two FBS schools, and no FCS schools…..

    tonight, the so called vaunted Texas defense, the one we heard about all off season, an “SEC like” defense, was exposed for the third time this season….they are indeed an sec defense, more on the lines of vandy and kentucky than alabama and south carolina.

    UT did enough to win this game….statistically, the teams were about even…but, you cant let a team, any team go 6 for 6 on freaking fourth down, and then have a running back go for over 200 yards when he never ran for 100 in a game…..thats what ticks me off the most……to hold Geno Smith to only 269 yards passing in that offensive set, and still lose, just makes me sick..

    now, the Horns have OU next week, and it appears they are back from the dead by blasting Texas Tech today…….I hope the Horns defense, the so called vaunted defense, finally shows the F up next week.

  6. txnative61 says: Oct 7, 2012 1:36 AM

    Hard to see either of these teams beating anybody in the top half of the SEC, where they still believe in defense—starting in the trenches. It’s fun to watch at first, then one starts to ask—“Where’s the beef???”.

  7. Slim Charles says: Oct 7, 2012 2:00 AM

    WVU may not have an SEC defense, but they’re a helluva lot funner to watch. Defensive games are great in NFL, in college it just means the offenses suck. Like that Florida-LSU barnburner today.

  8. rsmeans says: Oct 7, 2012 4:28 AM

    As arena or flag football teams go obviously WVU is the cream of the crop. They are better than Oregon, Ohio State, USC, UGA, Texas, and OU. But defense only wins championships and the only teams with a decent chance to win the NC are Alabama, South Carolina, Florida and Notre Dame in roughly that order.

  9. v2the4 says: Oct 7, 2012 7:28 AM

    just because you have a great defense doesnt mean you are going to win a championship….you still have to score on offense…..

    my case in point: LSU…great defense…mediocre offense…

  10. kansas525 says: Oct 7, 2012 8:49 AM

    Defense only wins championships if you outscore your opponent. Ask LSU. Overall, the Big 12 is a much tougher conference than the SEC and I am waiting for an SEC defense to face an upscale Big 12 offense. Not as many this year as last, but still a few.

    Speaking of defense, I believe Alabama had the #1 defense last year, also ranked 55 in strength of schedule. Go figure. Easy to put up good defensive numbers against the bottom of the SEC and tier 2 schools. They only played 4 decent opponents.

  11. baloneyjohn says: Oct 7, 2012 9:07 AM

    They are an exciting team to watch.
    Their defense is so porous, they will eventually come down to earth

  12. wvuandsteelers says: Oct 7, 2012 9:29 AM

    I had this game circled since the schedules came out. Going into Texas isn’t easy. I think they said it was the largest crowd ever. So, to walk away with a win against a highly ranked team is something to be proud of. Especially when Geno’s fumbles gave them points. I think our defense is still a work in progress, but it definitely improved from last week’s game. Special teams still have a lot of issues, but Goodwin is an Olympic athlete. rsmeans thinks Florida and Notre Dame are better teams than WVU, but I disagree. I think South Carolina, Oregon and ‘Bama are the teams to beat right now. I think USC (the west coast one) may take care of Oregon and ‘Bama and South Carolina will resolve itself in Atlanta. So, WVU just needs to keep winning and maybe by the grace of God we can play ‘Bama in the NC……….which ain’t gonna be easy by any stretch.

  13. manchestermiracle says: Oct 7, 2012 10:20 AM

    Props to the Mountaineers for traveling (listening SEC?) all the way to Texas and coming home with a victory. I didn’t give Smith any love for his monster game shredding Baylor’s excuse for a defense, but he hung in there against the Longhorns in their first road game of the year and kept his offense one step ahead of his defense. Back to the Lone Star state next week for TX Tech.

    WVU gets K-State, TCU, and Oklahoma at home @ OK-State should be good, too). If Smith and his offense can continue to outscore everyone they play I can’t see how he isn’t at or near the top of the Heisman list.

  14. thefiesty1 says: Oct 7, 2012 12:11 PM

    The photo in the Austin American Statesman tells it all. Tevon Austin running towards the end zone and four DB’s in pursuit. Horns can’t cover or tackle period. Diaz is definately ready for a head coaching job if that’s all he can get out of a supposedly great defense.

  15. kstatefan says: Oct 7, 2012 4:10 PM

    Not sure why WVU shouldn’t have been taken seriously in the Big 12 before their win at Texas.

    Seems the authors in CFT are multi-personality driven. Seems not so long ago, they were predicted on this very site to do well in their first year of Big XXII play.

  16. latchbeam says: Oct 7, 2012 9:11 PM

    lol at the guy bragging about holding smith to 268 and 4 tds…. Smith completed 72%… still, he made some mistakes… the BACKUP RB had 260 total yards. WVU should have won by 3 Tds. FYI… Ohio has about 50 football schools. WVU recruits Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania as well as West Virginia… then they recruit Texas and other states.

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