The West Virginia football team will be preparing for a bounce back performance after a tough loss to the Texas Longhorns last weekend on the road.
The Mountaineers (4-3, 3-3 Big 12) were resilient on the defensive side of the ball, but too many trips to the red zone came up short, resulting in a 17-13 loss.
“I thought our guys competed, I’m proud of their effort,” West Virginia head coach Neal Brown said Tuesday. “We just collectively didn’t get it done on Saturday.”
On the season, the running game has performed well for the Mountaineers, but they could not find their footing against the Longhorns. For the year, WVU is averaging 153 yards on the ground per game but was held to only 43 yards against Texas, the lowest total of the season.
A major factor could have been the limited play of junior running back Leddie Brown, who was not at full strength after getting hit early in the game, causing him to sit with an injury. Leddie Brown is questionable to play this upcoming weekend.
“They [Texas] played really well,” Neal Brown said about the lack of a running game. “They were dominant at times, interior-wise. I thought they used their hands, and we lost a lot of one-on-one blocks there.”
The wide receivers have been up and down so far this season, but there is a lot of balance across the board. Sophomore Winston Wright Jr. has been the leader in yards per game at just under 64 yards. Fellow sophomore Bryce Ford-Wheaton is next in line averaging 50 yards per contest.
Sophomore Sam James and senior T.J. Simmons also have over 200 yards receiving on the year, with Simmons accomplishing the feat in only five games played.
Neal Brown likes that he has balance in who is catching passes, but also is expecting a big playmaker to step up as the season continues on.
“We’d love for somebody to just be dominant week in and week out, but I like having a lot of guys involved,” Neal Brown said. “I think it’s good camaraderie, it’s good chemistry. I think it’s harder to prepare for, and those receivers are getting better.”
TCU (3-3, 3-3) is led by sophomore quarterback Max Duggan, who has hurt teams not only with his passing ability but his running ability as well. On the season, he has more than 1,100 passing yards and five touchdown passes, and also leads the team with 80 carries for 329 yards and six touchdowns.
“It makes it more difficult,” Neal Brown said about dealing with a quarterback that can run. “You have to put at least one more hat in the box, whether it’s your nickel or your safety, you got to get another guy down in the box to help account for him.”
The WVU defense has been outstanding all year long, ranking second nationally in total defense among teams that have played four or more games, giving up only 271 yards per game.
The game on Saturday will kick off at noon and will be nationally televised on FOX.