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Despite Loss, Defense Improves



The West Virginia defense through the first four games struggled to stop opposing offenses. There were very few bright spots on the defensive side of the ball. Although the pass defensive stats looked good, what was happening on the field told a different story.

After the Kansas game, there wasn’t much hope going into the TCU game after the Jayhawks rushed for 367 yards against Tony Gibson’s defense, but as I wrote last week (When it Comes to Defense, There’s No Need to Panic) this defense is built for the Big XII and after a bye week the defense improves.

And that’s exactly what happened.

Getting some important pieces back on the defense was a reason for the improvement against a TCU offense that had seen success early in the season.

TCU came into the weak averaging the following on offense per game:

Pass – 264.7
Rush – 232.3
Total – 497.0

West Virginia held them below their average on all three categories. Here is how the Horned Frogs fared last week against the Mountaineers defense.

Pass – 236/-28.7
Rush – 170/-62.3
Total – 406/-91

The Mountaineers didn’t really face a good quarterback until Saturday. I use the term good quarterback loosely. You could also argue Virginia Tech’s Josh Jackson is just as good as Kenny Hill. Here is what the defense was giving up coming into the game and the difference with TCU’s final stats.

Pass – 225/+11
Rush – 226/-56
Total – 451/-45

When you look at the level of competition West Virginia faced in the first four games compared to a top 10 TCU team that currently ranks 21st in the country in total offense, the defense improved tremendously.

Kenny Hill came into the game throwing for 72.6% and the Mountaineers held him to just 53.6%.

The defense made some strides improving off the bye week. Of course, there is still plenty to improve on. There were some missed tackles in the game and on TCU’s final drive of the game they had two opportunities to get off the field after the interception was over turned.

TCU had a 4th and 1 and ran for 7 yards for the first down, a 3rd and 7 in which they completed a 23-yard pass and on third and goal from the 3 and where Kenny Hill ran into the end zone.

To be a good defense, you must make those stands when it counts and when there is a turnover, it’s time to man up and hold them to a three and out and not let the opponent capitalize on a touchdown.

The defensive improved and hopefully it continues because the offenses only get better as the season goes along.

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