3 Takeaways: A Better Effort for WVU in Loss to TCU Adds to Frustration
Unfortunately for West Virginia, moral victories don’t really exist. WVU was able to hang with TCU most of the game before eventually falling to the Horned Frogs, 41-31.
Most expected the final outcome to favor TCU, but did anything happen throughout the game that was unexpected? What can the Mountaineers take away from this game as they hope to still fight for bowl eligibility?
Here are the main takeaways from WVU’s loss to TCU.
Big plays killed the Mountaineers again
Even though it was a much closer game, TCU followed the blueprint left by Texas and Texas Tech – abuse the WVU secondary as much as possible. It’s apparent getting Charles Woods back hasn’t been able to do anything for a unit that’s still banged up and just flat not good enough.
TCU receivers won their matchups. Quarterback Max Duggan found three different Horned Frog receivers for explosive plays of 50 yards or more. Tack on a 51-yard run and a pedestrian (in comparison) 30-yarder and those big plays were enough by themselves to defeat a WVU team that stayed competitive in total production throughout the game.
It’s a tall task for any team to overcome allowing that many big plays.
West Virginia can run on anyone
Not many people predicted this kind of success on the ground for WVU this season. There were questions if Tony Mathis could be a true featured back. He’s answered those. No one could’ve expected CJ Donaldson to emerge as a star at running back, a position he hadn’t ever played prior to this season. And how good Justin Johnson actually is was a complete unknown.
Totaling 155 yards rushing against a solid TCU run defense without Mathis puts an exclamation point on the fact WVU has an entire running back room that can rack up yards no matter what. The production would’ve been even greater if not for Donaldson getting hurt and leaving the game twice.
Donaldson ran for 104 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries when he was out on the field, averaging 5.5 yards per carry and Johnson put up 36 yards on his 10 rushing attempts.
WVU’s ground game success didn’t lead to a win, and hasn’t led the team to a winning record, but it is clear the group is good as a whole and the future is bright at the position.
WVU IS better than the Texas Tech game, but that just adds to frustration
“I refuse to accept that’s who we are,” WVU head coach Neal Brown said when referencing his team’s miserable effort against Texas Tech last week. And playing right with a TCU team that entered the game as the number 7 ranked team in the country shows that he was right.
WVU HC Neal Brown on miserable Texas Tech performance: “I refuse to accept that’s who we are.”
— Mike J. Asti (@MikeAsti11) October 25, 2022
West Virginia losing to TCU isn’t the end of the world by itself, even if many Mountaineers fans feel their team would have won if a late pass interference call was made. But the loss can’t be just viewed in a vacuum when it’s the fifth loss in eight games.
It’s only natural for people to wonder why WVU could hang with TCU, but not even stay competitive against Texas or Texas Tech.
At this point, what WVU needs more than anything is to just simply win. No matter how they play, nothing matters if it’s in a loss when you are attempting to dig out of the self-imposed hole the Mountaineers made for themselves.