A Closer Look: West Virginia Mountaineers

Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

West Virginia and TCU are both trending down. With the state of Mountaineer football, can the Frogs right the ship?

Things are quickly going from bad to worse for the Horned Frogs. Fortunately for them, they catch a West Virginia team that’s in a similar downward spiral this weekend. However, coming off a bye week, and hosting the game in Morgantown, conquering the Mountaineers will be no easy feat.

West Virginia sits at 5-2 (2-2), but has had a disappointing past few weeks. They came out on fire this season, starting off 5-0, moved up as high as #5 in the rankings, and had what seemed to be the consensus all American in Geno Smith.

They were a high flying offense that racked up 800 yards and 70 points on Baylor, and crushed the likes of Marshall and James Madison, Maryland and Texas (Ok they didn’t exactly crush those last two opponents, but they looked legit in both wins).

However, the last two games haven’t been as kind to West Virginia. They’ve scored only 14 points each of the last 2 games in blowout losses to Tech (49-14) and Kansas State (55-14). In both of these games their defense was absolutely exposed, while the Raiders and Cats wrote the book for shutting down Geno Smith and Tavon Austin.

Despite those two lopsided losses, TCU cannot take WVU lightly. They’re still ninth in the country in points (41.1) and have the fifth best passing offense (352.4 yards/game).

Quarterback Geno Smith is a fallen star. Rising very quickly through the first few games to become the temporary Heisman frontrunner, Smith averages 344 pass yards a game. I don't know where people get the idea that Geno is a dual threat.I suppose it’s simply the threat of his mobility that scares people.

On the season he has 56 rush yards on 35 attempts (1.6 yards/carry) and only one rushing touchdown. To put that in perspective, Trevone Boykin has 252 yards rushing on 66 attempts (3.8 yards/carry) and 2 touchdowns.

They don’t run the ball that much, which is reflected in their numbers, but that doesn’t mean they can’t.

Andrew Buie is closing in on 600 rushing yards this season, and is averaging almost five yards a carry (4.8). I’m not terribly concerned about the WVU running game though, as TCU's strength on defense is stopping the run. The Frogs rank ninth in the country in rushing yards allowed (98.8 yards/game), and are the best in the Big 12.

It’s our passing defense that concerns me. Yes, we have 15 interceptions on the season, good for fourth in the country, but the secondary has a tendency to get beaten by the deep ball, and they bite hard on play fakes, as seen against Iowa State, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. Make no mistake about it, West Virginia will run a few trick plays in this game. If the trend holds true, the Frogs will get beaten on them too.

Meanwhile, West Virginia’s defense has proven to be terrible. They allow 493.6 yards per game and 39.9 points per game, which are both good for seventh worst in the FBS. They allowed 63 points to Baylor, 45 to Texas and 34 to Marshall. Out of their six FBS opponents this year, they’ve allowed four to score above their season average.

TCU's season average is 33.3 points/game.

As long as Boykin is healthy and can go on Saturday, I fully expect TCU to light up the scoreboard. That being said, if Matt Brown has to play, put your hard hats on Frog fans, because they sky is going to fall at any second.

Go Frogs.

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