In one of the biggest wins of the Neal Brown era, West Virginia defeated No. 15 Virginia Tech on Saturday afternoon, 27-21, in Morgantown after a near collapse in the fourth quarter.
West Virginia was in control heading into the final 15 minutes, but after a Virginia Tech touchdown and a Jarret Doege interception, things were looking bleak. On fourth-and-goal from the WVU four-yard line, the Mountaineer defense was stout and stopped the Hokies to seal the victory.
“In football there’s such a swing of momentum and I think everyone felt it in the stadium,” Brown said.
Brown is highlighting how the WVU offense began the game in tremendous form, but by the end, the defense was left stopping Virginia Tech on the doorstep.
One crucial mistake by the offense came with under three minutes remaining in the game when Doege threw an interception. Brown took responsibility for the play call that resulted in the turnover.
“The last one (interception) I’ll take responsibility for it,” Brown said. “We were trying to hit something that we thought could hit quick because we had a hard time protecting. I’ll take the hit on that because I should put him (Doege) in a better position.”
With the late mistakes, Brown didn’t think his team handled the momentum shift well, but he still thought he had control of the game.
“You have some control,” Brown said. “You practice those situations and I’m not going to say that we handled it well, because we didn’t. The good thing is that we overcame it and I think it’s a lot easier to teach off a win than it is a loss in my opinion.”
As the offense stumbled, the defense stood strong. Overall, Virginia Tech finished with 308 total net yards and converted 6-of-15 (40%) on third downs. The key in West Virginia’s victory was also its redzone defense as the Hokies failed to score twice when inside the WVU 10-yard line.
“Today I think was the best overall,” Brown said on the redzone defense. “We did some things that shouldn’t happen. Outside of a few plays, that’s the best job we’ve done rushing the passer and that’s the best job we’ve done at all three levels in playing quality team defense.”
Up next, West Virginia travels to Norman, Oklahoma, to play the Oklahoma Sooners on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. on ABC.