Grading The Mountaineers: Kansas

West Virginia wide receiver Sam James (13) speeds past Kansas' Kyle Mayberry (8) for a touchdown

After falling behind 10-0, West Virginia’s defense pitched a shutout and its offense eventually got into gear, as the Mountaineers pushed past Kansas 38-17.

The home team outscored KU 38-0 before Kansas managed a 92-yard kickoff return for a score in the final two minutes to narrow the final margin.

With the win, WVU improved to 3-1 on the season and 2-1 in the Big 12, while the Jayhawks fell to 0-4 and 0-3.

The Mountaineers take to the road for their next game, as they visit Texas Tech this coming Saturday.

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Atmosphere – A pleasant, sunny day with temperatures in the mid-50s greeted the 10,759 fans who were in attendance at Mountaineer Field Saturday. It was the first game this season that WVU allowed anyone other than the families of players and coaches, along with  essential workers, into the stadium. Saturday’s contest was opened to 25% of capacity, which meant 15,000 tickets were available, but only 10,759 were distributed. After the long wait by West Virginia fans to finally attend a WVU home football game, their lack of enthusiasm to buy tickets was disappointing. Still, at least there were more than 977 fans in the stands, which was the average for the first two home affairs, and the increase in noise and atmosphere was noticeable. Grade C-

Offense – West Virginia’s offense can at times be more frustrating this year than last, even though it does some things much better. In 2019, WVU had huge issues running the ball, averaging a historically bad 73.2 yards per game on the ground. It was just an untalented offense last year, but that’s not necessarily the case this season; it’s just a lack of consistency, which can be even more maddening than just being outright bad.

With running lanes available this season and Leddie Brown blowing through for big chunks of yards, the Mountaineers are infinitely better on the ground this year than last. But at times this offense has trouble sustaining drives. Dropped passes, penalties, poor throws and the occasional missed blocks keep WVU’s offense from reaching its full potential. Saturday was a microcosm of the previous 2020 offensive performance, both the bad and the good. Brown plowed through Kansas for 195 rushing yards, and West Virginia had 544 total yards. But it held just a 17-14 lead at halftime because its own miscues resulted in missed opportunities. It was better in the second half, though, and opened up a lead the struggling Jayhawks could not overcome. There was plenty of good Saturday, but also stretches of frustration. Grade B-

Defense – While the Mountaineers may struggle to sustain offensive consistency, the reason they are 3-1 is because their defense has developed into a real force. Kansas scored 10 early points when it took over the ball in WVU territory on two occasions. After those short drives that resulted in points, the Jayhawks had longer fields to deal with, and the West Virginia defense completely locked them down. Nose tackle Darius Stills’ diving first half interception was one of the most athletic plays you’ll ever see from a d-lineman. Unfortunately WVU’s offense was not able to take advantage of the turnover that left it in great field position. Overall it’s hard to find anything negative about West Virginia’s defensive performance Saturday, other than to admit it came against Kansas and not a foe in the Big 12’s upper echelon. Grade A

Special teams – West Virginia’s special teams were flagged for a few penalties, one of which wiped out a potential 22-yard punt return by Alec Sinkfield that would have been the Mountaineers’ longest in a couple of seasons. Another big negative came when Evan Staley missed a 44-yard field goal attempt. WVU covered kicks well until letting the Jayhawks’ Pooka Williams return a late kickoff for a 92-yards for a relatively meaningless TD, but that’s an issue that will have the coaches’ attention. On the positive side, redshirt freshman punter Kolton McGhee performed well in his first-ever college action. Overall it was an OK special teams effort, but still there are plenty of mistakes to clean up. Grade C+

Coaching – As in the two previous games, there were still too many penalties, especially in the first half (seven for 61 yards in the first 30 minutes, as the Mountaineers drew just one flag for 15 yards in the second half), and that’s an area that West Virginia’s coaches must fix. Against an opponent other than Kansas, such negative yardage mistakes, most notably the avoidable presnap fouls, would be a big problem. Other than the early penalties, West Virginia’s coaches had their charges ready to play. The defensive staff, led by co-coordinators Jahmile Addae and Jordan Lesley, has to be given a great deal of credit for the way their unit plastered KU, just as it’s done most of the season. Grade B




Home Page forums Grading The Mountaineers: Kansas

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    After falling behind 10-0, West Virginia’s defense threw a shutout and its offense eventually got into gear, as the Mountaineers pushed past Kansas 38
    [See the full post at: Grading The Mountaineers: Kansas]


    It was Kansas, so can’t gush too much.  But they did what they needed to do, played with great effort, and their one on one tackling was very good.  Missed a few tackles in traffic, that is going to happen some to every team.  Too bad that tipped pass went right to the receiver.  It happens, but not often.  Lastly, it looks like we play very disciplined assignment football, meaning you complete your assignment before free lancing.  It is a trait all really good defenses have.


    I think the defense and offense grades are accurate.

    I think I’d struggle to give the special teams above a C given a KO return TD and the penalties.   With our strong defense and issues scoring giving up a TD on special tasks would cost us a game against an average team.

    I don’t think I can give the coaches an above average grade with the consistent issues we see with penalties.  I do agree the defensive coaches had them ready to go, but our offense was not ready to play until the second half.   Its the Leddie Brown show.  Even given talent limitations at other positions I can’t reconcile the lack of effort, energy,  and constant mistakes (on offense).

    Overall it was better than last week at least,  but that might just be the opponent.   We need to utilize Brown more.   Some drives its fine but others we just pass constantly.   I really hope our plan isn’t to be a pass heavy team that relies on big plays.


    Just to be clear not criticizing your grades Greg.  I think they’re fair and well thought out,  just offering my alternative opinion in a few areas for discussion.


    Can’t disagree with the grades.  ST maybe a little high along with coaching.

    Got a little antsy when we went down 10-0.  Frustrated on the KO return for a TD.

    Surprising that Doege hit 4 for over 20 and showed that he can thro at least the decent ball over 20.  First half 13-27 was concerning although he had 2 TD’s.

    All the drops have to stop.  Get those boys some good gloves.

    OL coming along with run blocking ….. or is it just Leddie?

    We have to find a backup to Leddie.  Should have given him another carry to get to 200.

    Overall a very good game but let’s not get too excited.  It’s Kansas.

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Home Page forums Grading The Mountaineers: Kansas

Home Page forums Grading The Mountaineers: Kansas