West Virginia University football coach Neal Brown often says that quarterbacks get too much praise when things are going well and too much blame when things are bad.
When the Mountaineers (4-2, 3-2 Big 12) lost at Texas Tech last week, quarterback Jarret Doege certainly received more than his fair share of the blame. On Saturday, Doege and West Virginia turned it around and upset No. 16 Kansas State 37-10. Doege threw for 301 yards and two touchdowns against the Wildcats, his third straight game throwing for more than 300 yards.
“He’s strung together three 300-yard games, decision making is really good, demeanor – he had a calmness about him,” Brown said after Saturday’s game.
Doege is second in the Big 12 in passing, averaging 281.7 yards per game. He is one of only three quarterbacks to have thrown for double-digit touchdowns with 11 and is tied for the least interceptions, three, among full-time starters.
“He pays the price during the week in his preparation, mentally and physically,” Brown said. “So I’m proud he’s been able to show that three games in a row now.”
Doege’s secondary numbers are good as well. He is fifth in the conference with a 138.5 passing efficiency, he is completing 64.2% of his passes and he is averaging 7.3 yards per attempt.
With as good as his play on the field has been this season, Doege has been able to provide WVU with something off the field that several over Big 12 teams are struggling with – consistency.
The Mountaineers are one of the few teams in the league this season that has started the same player at quarterback in every game. Out of WVU’s opponents this season, only Baylor has had a consistent passer in Charlie Brewer.
Oklahoma State was without starter Spencer Sanders for several weeks, playing true freshman Shane Illingworth, Kansas has shuffled between three different starters, playing Miles Kendrick against the Mountaineers, Texas Tech benched Alan Bowman in favor of Henry Colombi and Kansas State had to play true freshman Will Howard on Saturday in place of the injured Skylar Thompson.
“I think it’s steady, it allows you to improve.,” Brown said of playing just one quarterback. “It’s unfortunate, the Thompson kid Kansas State has, I think he’s one of the better competitors in our league and played really, really well in that second half versus Oklahoma State and so I’m disappointed he couldn’t play.”
With Doege under center, West Virginia has the third-best scoring offense in the conference, averaging 33 points per game. WVU is second in both passing (1,757) and rushing (1,032) yards and fourth in yards per play (5.8). WVU is also 25 of 26 in scoring in the red zone with 20 touchdowns and just five field goals.
West Virginia’s final four games on the season will be against teams that also have had stable play at quarterback. Texas and Sam Ehlinger are up next, then TCU and Max Duggan, Oklahoma and Spencer Rattler and finally Iowa State and Brock Purdy.
WVU and Texas will kick off at noon Saturday in Austin, Texas. The game will be broadcast on ABC.