Everything that could go wrong went wrong for WVU last week in Norman. And Oklahoma took advantage, dominating the Mountaineers all night long. Fast forward one week and the pressure is now back on Neal Brown and West Virginia to end the season on a high note.
With only two games remaining in the regular season, there’s not much time left for Brown to prove the program is in fact climbing and headed in the right direction. Saturday’s matchup with Cincinnati is the last opportunity for WVU to impress in front of the home fans and clinch a winning record for the year.
And despite coming off a disappointing performance, the 6-4 (4-3) Mountaineers are considered the favorite over a Cincinnati team that’s struggled throughout their first season as a member of the Big 12.
But as has often been the case around the country this season, oddsmakers can be wrong. What does West Virginia need to do to ensure the Bearcats don’t ruin WVU’s big day of celebrating and honoring the past?
WVU Offensive Line Must Be at Their Best
After enduring a rare loss in the battle of the trenches, the WVU offensive line needs to bounce back and get back to their standard. With that said, the Mountaineer line can’t just assume they’ll be fine on Saturday.
Cincinnati brings a formidable counterpart in their defensive line, a group that may send multiple players to the NFL.
And while no unit on any team is ever going to be perfect, the offensive line has been a driving force for the Mountaineers this season. Obviously, a run heavy team needs its offensive line to be at its best.
Garrett Greene Needs to Bounce Back
There’s no way West Virginia would already be bowl eligible without Garrett Greene’s heroics this season. But for as good as he’s been, he’s also shown his youth by making costly mistakes at times too. It’s fair to say his performance against the Sooners was his worst as WVU’s starting quarterback.
He absolutely can’t let that happen again. Last week, Greene completed only 10 out of 37 pass attempts for just 154 yards. He spent most of the game misfiring or overthrowing receivers, although to be fair the receivers dropped some balls and didn’t do him any favors either.
No excuse about the receivers, valid or not, will work if his level of play doesn’t get back to where it was prior to the Oklahoma game.
Do NOT Lose the Turnover Battle
Upsets can often be traced to the turnover battle. West Virginia has proved to be the better team this year, but anyone can be beat if they turn the ball over.
Ideally for WVU, this would mean playing a clean game and taking care of the football on offense. But if Greene and company do turn it over once or twice, it will then be up to the defense to actually capitalize and create a takeaway of their own.
The West Virginia defense has been one of the most aggressive units in the country, even leading the nation in ball-hawk rate, but that’s not necessarily a positive when you miss out on multiple turnovers a game. Deflections and dropped picks won’t be enough if the offense falters themselves.
One path for a Cincinnati upset is to take advantage of turnovers
Vote in our poll below that asks if WVU and Cincinnati will become a new Big 12 rivalry.
Get WVSN in your mailbox!
Former 4-Star Recruit, Ohio State Transfer DB Adds West Virginia Offer
WVU Women’s Basketball Takes Downs No. 25 Penn State 83-65
WVU Football Extends Offer to Wake Forest Transfer WR
WVU Basketball Still Not Ruling Out Adding Pieces to Roster, According to Eilert
WVU Assistant Coaches Marshall, Stewart Recognized by American Football Coaches Association
West Virginia Slated to Meet Ranked ACC Opponent in New Bowl Projections
Cortez Braham Opens Up About WVU Exit, Details Final Conversation with Neal Brown
In-State QB Commits to WVU Football, Joins 2024 Class
National Writer Adjusts Bowl Projection for Mountaineers
Zach Frazier Announces Surgery, Confirms End to WVU Career
Watch: Former WVU DL Dante Stills Recovers Fumble vs. Steelers
Watch: Unbelievable Catch in West Virginia State Championship Game Garners National Attention
WVU Postgame Show: A Missed Opportunity Against St. John’s
Postgame Reaction to WVU’s Loss to St. John’s
CRW Hoops: WVU Basketball-St. John’s Preview, Predictions
Breaking Down WVU Football’s Committments for 2024
7shares Share Tweet Reddit CommentsWith some new recruits announcing commitments to the WVU football program this week, the 2024 class...
Complete List of High School Recruits Offered by WVU Football
6shares Share Tweet Reddit CommentsTo say the WVU football program has been putting in a lot of recruiting work since...
Transfer Players Who Have Signed with West Virginia Football
5shares Share Tweet Reddit CommentsSince the Mountaineers have been increasingly active in pursuing transfers lately and there’s an important distinction...