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WVU HC Neal Brown Spreads Blame Around in Loss

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Neal Brown
(Photo by David Hague)
Matchup
1st Downs 26 25
3rd down efficiency 10-18 4-14
4th down efficiency 0-0 2-2
Total Yards 435 463
Passing 211 367
Comp-Att 18-33 31-46
Yards per pass 6.4 8.0
Interceptions thrown 1 4
Rushing 224 96
Rushing Attempts 47 23
Yards per rush 4.8 4.2
Penalties 10-89 3-30
Turnovers 1 4
Fumbles lost 0 0
Interceptions thrown 1 4
Possession 35:16 23:56

 

 

Morgantown, WV – The West Virginia Mountaineers (3-2, 1-1) lost their Big 12 home opener to the 11th ranked Texas Longhorns (4-1, 2-0) Saturday afternoon 42-31. WVU took an early lead but trailed by a touchdown heading into halftime. They cut the deficit to four in the third quarter but two interceptions in the fourth quarter gave Texas a three-possession lead that overwhelmed the Mountaineers.

For the first time all season, West Virginia received the opening kickoff and went right down the field for six that was highlighted by an unbelievable catch by Sam James Jr diving in the endzone for the 44-yard touchdown.

After keeping Texas off the board on their opening drive, West Virginia quarterback Austin Kendall threw the first of his four picks on the ensuing possession that gave Texas the ball at the WVU 27.

“The first interception he threw was his fault. He read the wrong guy, stated West Virginia head coach Neal Brown.

Just two plays later, Texas tied the game.

Austin bounced back early in the second quarter hitting TJ Simmons over the middle and he cut back reversing the field for a 44-yard pass play setting the Mountaineers at the five. Then on third and one, Kendall kept it on a read-option, fooling everyone in the stadium, and galloped into the paint to put WVU back up a touchdown.

Texas scored 14 unanswered points while West Virginia missed on opportunities and dropped passes that found them going into halftime trailing by seven.

“We had some drops,” said Brown. “I don’t know how many we had – we had more than we’ve had going back to the first game, but we had a second down-play where we dropped the ball. That was on the drive where we missed the first field goal. We dropped the ball and we we’re rolling pretty good… But we had a second down-play and we dropped it and that was going to be for a first down inside the 15, again. Then we don’t get the third down and we missed the field goal. I thought we had some drops that were critical today.”

Neither team got into any offensive rhythm in the third quarter. West Virginia only produced 26 yards during the period.

“They really changed what they were doing in the second half,” stated Brown. “They made some good adjustments so credit to their staff. We didn’t do a good job handling their penetration. They started blitzing more, and they caught us on some negative plays in the run game, which was really where we struggled in the first two games of the season. Two of those drives there when we were struggling – we had four drives in a row where we struggled, but two of them, we ran the ball on run plays that we hit in the first half, and we went minus six, minus five. Really, we just lost one-on-one battles. This game, in a lot of ways, came down to how I thought it would. It’s a one-on-one game, and we lost some of those.”

The Mountaineers did get a field goal late in the quarter. However, it came after a Keith Washington interception and unsportsmanlike conduct penalty at the end of the play, placed the ball deep into the Texas territory at the 14-yard line.

“Run the ball, we get beat on the first down play. Second down play, Kendall does a great job, throws the out cut, we drop it. That was going to be a first down. That gets us inside the 10-yard line on the drop. We had the play we wanted on third and didn’t win. That was huge,” explained Brown.

At the beginning of the fourth quarter and on third and one, Kendall threw his third interception on the night and it was an absolute killer giving the Longhorns the ball just inside the redzone at the 18. The ball was squeezed in there as the defender was draped over him and the ball popped up and landed in D’Shawn Jamison’s hands.

Three plays later, Texas scored another touchdown giving them a 28-17 lead.

Then the following Mountaineer possession, Kendall threw his fourth interception the second to Jamison on a what appeared to be an out pattern that put the Texas offense at the WVU 33. Neal Brown accredited that interception to the receiver running the wrong route.

Four plays later, Texas scored again, pushing their lead to 18.

Three interceptions were all inside WVU territory and all led to three touchdowns. There were plays that could have been made and Neal Brown didn’t put all four interceptions on his quarterback’s shoulders. To recap, he stated one was a bad read by Kendall. Two he believed were 50-50 balls that he thought his receivers should have had and one the receiver ran the wrong route.

“That’s the best game he’s played without watching it on tape,” stated Brown. “I may sing a different tune when I come in here on Tuesday after I watch the film, but I got a pretty good eye on the field and I thought the kid played well… But we didn’t lose that game because of Austin Kendall, Ill to you that. We were in the game offensively because of him. I’m not down on him one bit.”

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