Neal Brown’s Mountaineers once again find themselves in an all too familiar spot: trying to recount after a pretty miserable showing in a loss.
West Virginia’s 31-14 loss to Iowa State is one of those games you throw away the film, knowing you just weren’t good enough. But what can be taken away from the game to try to help WVU dig out of this deep hole and finish the season on a positive note?
The offense is a problem too
The defense has let the offense down at times this season, but now the offense is evening things up. WVU had no chance against the Cyclones no matter what for one reason and one reason only – the offense could not get going all game. JT Daniels started off throwing for only 14 yards into the second quarter. He threw a costly pick and was fortunate to have a fumble on an errant throw overturned. The Mountaineers didn’t even get into the red zone until the 4th quarter and one of their two touchdowns happened with the game already in hand for Iowa State.
“To say I’m disappointing and frustrated about how we played offensively would be a serious, serious…that would be…taking it lightly,” Brown said after the game.
He knew Cyclones defense would pose a problem, but he even sounded surprised at how bad Daniels and the offense was.
This team is actually worse than the critics thought
While WVU fans were busy proclaiming this team would win eight or more games, most of the media were more realistic with predictions of five or six wins. Some did call for less than five wins for West Virginia, but even the harshest critics predicted this group to be better than this.
As WVU sits at 3-6, the program is on the verge of its lowest win total and worst season since Rich Rodriguez’s 3-8 season to begin his tenure as coach in Morgantown.
Even though this team has showed signs of being better and competitive, like the win over Baylor and hanging with TCU, the 2022 Mountaineers are what their record suggests – a bad team.
JT Daniels has plenty to prove
The struggles of Daniels and the WVU offense were clear (and detailed above), but they come as a surprise, especially in terms of a top transfer quarterback.
Daniels instantly ignited hype upon deciding to become a Mountaineer and reunite with Graham Harrell, who was his offensive coordinator at USC. He was placed on just about every quarterback watch list in the offseason. And he was playing well at the start the season, showing flashes of being an elite quarterback with a high football IQ. Then, something happened and things changed in the worst way. The Texas Tech game isn’t an aberration anymore. Maybe it’s because he hasn’t played this deep into a season in college due to injuries. Maybe he’s getting exposed. Either way, the Daniels-Harrell partnership isn’t really working anymore.
“We didn’t play anywhere close enough at QB or receiver to win this game,” Brown said while publicly criticizing his quarterback for the first time all year.
There’s more that can be taken away from WVU’s poor showing in Ames, Iowa, but none of it is good.
Next up for the Mountaineers is a noon kickoff date with Oklahoma. Now in order to have a postseason, WVU can’t lose again.