Grading The Mountaineers: Kansas State Report Card
MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–The bar continues to be so high for West Virginia’s 2018 football team that even a 35-6 thrashing of Kansas State, a team that came to Morgantown holding a 4-2 record against WVU in recent times, leaves all Mountaineers still wanting slightly more.
Let’s grade WVU’s performance.
Offensive Grade – B We’re so used to West Virginia’s offense performing with minimal mistakes that when Mountaineer receivers drop a few passes or Will Grier throws a couple interceptions, it seems like the world is about to end. Amidst those miscues came plenty of other good moments for WVU, though. Grier may have thrown two picks, but he also eclipsed the 300-yard passing mark for the 11th time in his 13 games as a Mountaineer. In all, West Virginia easily topped its previous high-point mark against a Bill Snyder club, which had been 28 scored last year.
Defensive Grade – A- Admittedly I’m a tough grader, because I probably should give WVU’s defense at least an A if not an A+. But I have to leave room for a higher grade in the future against a better offensive opponent. Certainly the Wildcat O has some issues, but still WVU’s D put forth an impressive effort. Particularly key were stops on third-and-one and then fourth-and-inches late in the second quarter. Those came when the game was still in doubt, as the score was only 7-0 at the time. That sequence started West Virginia’s rout. If you want to get picky, the Mountaineers did give up a couple big plays they shouldn’t, but it’s tough to complain. After all, the six points allowed was the fewest a WVU defense given up since a 30-6 win over Iowa State in 2015.
Special teams – A- Again not much to complain about when it comes to West Virginia’s special teams. Plus there was a big positive in an area that has long been a weakness; the 25-yard punt return by Marcus Simms was the longest WVU has had since Jordan Thompson had a 30-yarder against Towson in 2014.
Coaching – A- After an unexpected week off because of the cancellation of WVU’s game at N.C. State because of Hurricane Florence, the Mountaineers potentially could have been way out of rhythm. While WVU wasn’t perfect offensively, especially early, for the most part the Mountaineer coaches had their team ready to play.
Atmosphere – A- It would be hard to get better football weather than what Morgantown enjoyed Saturday with a temperature of 69 degrees at kickoff. The WVU Sports Hall of Fame inductions prior to the game brought some star power to the stadium, as Steve Slaton, Avon Cobourne, Mike Gansey and Kate Bulger were some of those enshrined. Pat White also was inducted, though he could not attend, as he’s currently coaching at Alcorn State, and the Braves had a game that night. Still, it was a nice induction ceremony for the 11-member class. The game atmosphere itself was also very good. It was Stripe the Stadium, which always makes it visual pleasing, and while some of the crowd was late arriving, by the start of the second quarter the WVU student section was pretty close to full and the general public seating only had a few empty patches. The 59,225 in attendance got a chance to enjoy West Virginia opening Big 12 play with a blowout victory.