Monday, November 28, 2011

It's Gameweek! Week 14 Primer

Matchup: West Virginia at South Florida

When: Thur, 8p, ESPN

Line: WVU -1

West Virginia Players to Watch:
Geno Smith, QB: 3,741 yards, 25 TD, 5 INT
Tavon Austin, WR: 82 rec, 2,086 all-purpose yards, 6 TD
Stedman Bailey, WR: 60 rec, 1,117 yards, 11 TD
Bruce Irvin, DE: 24 total tackles, 13.5 TFL, 7 sacks, 2 FF

South Florida Players to Watch:
Bj Daniels and Boby Eveld, QB: 2,713 combined pass yards, 18 total TD, 10 combined INT
Darrell Scott, RB: 722 yards, 6 total TD, 5.2 YPC
Sterling Griffin, WR: 40 rec, 493 yards, 2 TD
DeDe Lattimore, LB: 87 total tackles, 7 sacks, 1 INT, 2 FF


The BCS mess continues into the final week for the Big East. What needs to happen for WVU? First thing is a win. The Mountaineers can't afford to look past this game. A win gives them a chance to go BCS bowling. A loss puts them in Charlotte. Yes, they have to rely on Cincinnati to win, but the Mountaineers need to bethinking about one thing only this week: South Florida.

Tampa hasn't been kind to WVU. The Mountaineers have only won once at USF since the Bulls joined the conference. That one time was WVU's first conference trip back in 2005. There have been some disappointing losses that mostly have to do with lots and lots and lots of mistakes. WVU has to play more fluid and confident if they want to roll out of Tampa with a win.

Will B.J. Daniels be back? That's the big question going into Thursday night. Daniels posses a major threat against WVU. He is a duel-threat that has had success against the 3-3-5 defense in the past. Bobby Eveld is capable of winning, but is certainly not the talent that Daniels is. Either way, WVU needs to keep the pressure on. Look for Jeff Casteel to dial up the four-man rush with a linebacker joining the front to go after whoever is in the game.

What will the crowd look like? I imagine it will look much better than what we saw Friday against Louisville. The stadium was practically empty. But, it was the day after Thanksgiving so many were home for the holidays. But, still...that was weak. It looked like a Temple home game. Thursday night, with the students back should be much better. Plus, WVU should have a solid base of fans as well. Thursday night is going to be fun.

WVU-Pitt Final Thoughts

It wasn't pretty, but a win is a win. And, it's a win over hated Pitt, so you take it no matter what it looked like. And, boy was it ugly. The Mountaineers did everything possible to lose that game, but just found a way to win. It was a frustrating, but great night to be a Mountaineer.

Most Valuable: Julian Miller and Corey Smith. Miller was exceptional on the Mountaineer front. He broke a WVU single-game record with four sacks, and finished with 12 total tackles. Miller has had a fine career in Morgantown, and it was great to see have such an impact on Senior Day. Meanwhile, Corey Smith had his best day as a Mountaineer averaging 57 yards a punt. No one deserved to have a bigger day than a guy who has had to deal with the ups and downs like Smith has.

Least Valuable: Offensive Line. Granted, the unit played much better in the second half, but this group got beasted for the most part...again. Geno was sacked four times, and the rushing game was inconsistent. Overall, the Panthers finished with double-digit tackles for-loss. The line has had one great game this year, but that's about it.

Most Surprising: Corey Smith's Punting. I mean the kid just killed the ball. Who would have thought? Going in to this game he wasn't even expected to boot it, but got the job done when asked to.

Least Surprising: The West Virginia Sack Exchange. Yes, maybe 10 sacks wasn't expected, but the Panthers have allowed over 50 this year. So, really not that surprising that WVU would be able to get to Tino Sunseri. And, it was nice to see WVU able to keep guys in coverage, because they got plenty of pressure from just three or four-man rushes. It also helped that Sunseri holds on to the ball for five mins.

Play of the Game: 4th and 6. With only a few minutes remaining WVU faced a 4th and long in the redzone. Dana Holgorsen had to make a tough decision, and it was the right decision. Instead of going for the field goal, Holgs went for it. Geno found Tavon Austin right past the first down marker and the rest was history.


Quarterback: Geno was pretty good. His numbers were solid. He didn't turn the ball over, and made the passes when it mattered the most. Was it a prolific day? No. But, it was enough to help his team win.
Grade: B

Running back: Tough day finding space, but that was more on the offensive line. Shawne Alston scored two more touchdowns, and Dustin Garrison had some nice runs in the second half.
Grade: B

Wideout: Not a bad day for this group. There were a few drops, and Tyler Urban did have a big fumble. However, also some big catches in crunch time as we have seen year.
Grade: B

Offensive line: Outclassed all night long. Geno was on the run, and the ground game struggled for the most part. This unit continues to struggle.
Grade: C-

Defensive line: Outstanding game. Created plenty of pressure, and helped the defense finish with 10 sacks. This is what we expected all year long.
Grade: A

Linebacker: The group did well, even getting in on the sack parade for a few. Did well against the run, especially in the second half.
Grade: A-

Secondary: A pretty good day for the unit. he safeties were all over the field, and the corners broke up some potentially big pass plays. A solid day for this group.
Grade: A-

Special Teams: Don't even know where to start. Great punting, good coverage, awful everything else.
Grade: No idea

Coaching: Play-calling wasn't great, but the 4th and 6 was the right call. Defensive play was outstanding, and Special Teams is a complete wonder at this point.
Grade: B+