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Asti: Analytics Explain True Success of West Virginia’s Potent Offense

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No one denies West Virginia has developed a solid offense this season, but it’s even more impressive given some analytical measurements beyond just points scored.

Only once this season WVU failed to put up at least 30 points in a game. And that was a night in Austin, Texas where nothing went right for the Mountaineers. But according to data calculated by Sports Source Analytics, WVU has still shown signs of being among the top 10 best offenses in the country because of progress made even on drives that do not result in touchdowns, or points at all for that matter.

Through 6 games on the season, the Mountaineers offense led by offensive coordinator Graham Harrell and transfer quarterback JT Daniels have gained at least 50 yards on 51% of overall offensive drives. WVU is moving the ball on a constant basis, which is a goal of any offense. Points will come when the offense moves the ball with that much regularity.

Harrell has also even vocal about believing a reason for WVU’s offensive success this season is rooted in having a balanced attack. Both Tony Mathis and CJ Donaldson would be over 400 yards on the ground if not for Donaldson missing time with a concussion. Mathis is also approaching 500 already after his big 163-yard performance against Baylor.

Even with a running game that’s clicking on all cylinders, many characterize WVU as a team that can pass whenever it wants. That is going to happen when an “Air Raid” mind like Harrell and a quarterback talent like JT Daniels join forces. Daniels has thrown for 1,492 yards to this point and that does include sitting out the second half in WVU’s 65-point demolition of FCS Towson. With all of that said, Daniels has actually yet to have that monster yardage game he likely is capable of posting.

WVU OC Graham Harrell Doesn’t Feel ‘Air Raid’ Label Fits His Offense

Unfortunately for WVU, their offense is only one aspect of the team and has not been enough on its own to equate to more than a 3-3 record and only one conference win. WVU’s defense, a unit that was a strength for the Mountaineers in past recent seasons, let down the offense in two of the team’s three losses, an overtime loss to Kansas where the Jayhawks registered 49 of their 55 points thanks to a dominating showing on offense and Texas, a game the Longhorns marched up and down the field to such a big first half lead that the game was already out of reach at halftime.

Asti: West Virginia Football at Crossroads, Can Write Own Narrative

So for WVU, it’s nice to see that there are metrics that detail a depth of success for the offense, but it also speaks to the disappointment aspect of the season as a whole, at least to date.

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Mike Asti is an experienced media personality and journalist with a vast résumé and skillset, most notably with TribLIVE Radio, WPXI and 93.7 The Fan. Asti now serves as the Managing Editor of WV Sports Now, manages and serves as the lead host for Pittsburgh Sports Live and contributes to Steelers Now, Pittsburgh Sports Now and Nittany Sports Now. He also contributes to West Virginia's Metro News among other outlets.

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