The West Virginia Mountaineers handled Baylor Thursday night in Morgantown 58-14. To this point in the season, this was the biggest margin of victory for the Mountaineers. It was a much-needed win after the disappointing loss to Iowa State just 12 days ago.
West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen was pleased with the way his team responded coming off their first loss of the season.
“Really proud of our guys, coaches and players, for what they’ve done in the last 12 days.” Said Dana “They were pretty determined after 12 days ago. Thought at the time that wasn’t who we are, and that’s not who we are. There’s about 12 older guys that I really lean on and they really stepped up and took this team and said ‘we’re going to practice hard, we’re going to work hard and we’re going to go out there and play hard’ and that’s what we did. We finally played a complete game, four quarters. Overall, I’m just happy with what we did today.”
West Virginia’s offense finally got out of their slump. Up until the halftime of the Texas Tech game, WVU was averaging 144.1 total yards per quarter. Since the second half in Lubbock, they’ve averaged 76.8 yards in each quarter. They put up 568 yards of total offense Thursday night.
“We didn’t just three and out and stink early. We moved the ball, had good field position, played really good defensively. We just sputtered a little bit and had to kick field goals. I was a little disappointed on a couple of those field goals, but I’ve got a lot of confidence in (Kicker) Evan (Staley). We stuck with it and ended up getting some field goals. That’s not really what this team has been doing all year, but there’s going to be times where we need to do that. We made some adjustments, kept plugging away and started doing a better job of finishing drives. That’s just football. It’s just the way things go.” Explained Dana.
The defense has been setting the tone all season and they did it again. They forced three turnovers in the first half, four total, held Baylor to 287 yards and 2.3 yards per carry.
“Its hard to argue with what they did” Said Dana. “They created turnovers and won the turnover battle 4-0. I don’t have the field position numbers, but I’m assuming we dominated field position with turnovers, with making the punt quick. We tackled better. That’s one of the things that we came out of that game with last week. I didn’t think that’s who we were, but we didn’t just do a good job of tackling. We missed 31 tackles, I think. I knew that’s not who we were. Same thing with blocking. I said this all week and have been saying it to them for 12 days: block and tackle like you did in the first five game and that’s pretty much what we did. Numbers-wise, it’s hard to beat.”
The running game has been part of the issue of the offense as of late, some of that can be contributed to the running back being banged up; however, the Mountaineers had 172 rushing yards on the night and it came from all four of their running backs.
“All of those guys need to be involved. (Martell) Pettaway looked as good as I’ve seen him look. He broke through, stuck his toe in the ground, made a safety miss and scored. All four bring something to the table. The good news is we don’t have to rely on just one of them. We’re a running back by committee team and all of those guys bring a little something different to the table. It’s nice to have all those guys healthy.” Boasted Holgorsen.