West Virginia football has been on a downward spiral since defeating then-No. 15 Virginia Tech on Sept. 18. Since that marquee win for Neal Brown and company, the Mountaineers have begun playing Big 12 opponents and have lost all three games.
Here are the trends between West Virginia starting the season 2-1 and going winless in its past three games.
Offense in the first half
The offense has not been cutting it this year, but there has been a distinct difference between the first three games and the last three.
In the first three games, the WVU offense averaged 27 points in the first half. In the last three, it is averaging just six points in the first half.
The defense hasn’t helped keep the Mountaineers out of the hole before halftime, but the offense hasn’t been a strong supporter either. WVU has scored touchdowns on its opening drive in five of six games, but other than those early scores, the offense disappears.
To right the ship with the first half issues, not only does the defense need to return to its dominant form, but the offense needs to do more than score just once.
Defense in the first half
The WVU defense looked like one of the most elite units through four games, but over the past two games and even late against Oklahoma, it has faltered.
In the first three games of the season, the defense had only allowed on average nine points in the first half. Granted one of those first three games was against Long Island.
During the losing streak, West Virginia has allowed 14 points in the first half with major deficits heading into the locker room in the last two games.
Neal Brown acknowledged the hole his defense put the team in on Saturday after it allowed 28 points to Baylor in the first half.
“We just got exposed a little bit,” Brown said. “Defensively we’ve played above average at times, but we haven’t been very consistent. We struggled with coverage and they [Baylor] came out and they hadn’t shown the ability early to do that as far as throwing the football, but they did today.”
In the last two weeks, West Virginia trailed 17-0 (Texas Tech) and 28-10 (Baylor) at halftime, respectively. That hasn’t been entirely on the defense.
2021 has not been Leddie Brown’s year. The senior running back propelled himself into the national spotlight last year and looked poised to have another impactful season in Morgantown this season.
So, far this year, that hasn’t been the case.
Leddie Brown has 95 carries for 422 yards and six touchdowns and only once has he eclipsed 100 yards in a game (Virginia Tech). Along with the team losing three-straight games, the rushing offense has been losing for the past three weeks.
In the first three games of the season, West Virginia averaged 139.6 rushing yards per game. Over the past three losses, the Mountaineers have averaged just 77 rushing yards per game.
The offense was expected to fuel itself on the run game. During wins, the Mountaineers were moving the ball on the ground, but in the past three games, it has been close to nonexistent.