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WVU’s protection has regressed to its 2022 type

MORGANTOWN — A big purpose for WVU’s four-game successful streak earlier this season was that its protection was enjoying significantly better than it had in the course of the 2022 season.

Because the Mountaineers’ bye week, nonetheless, that protection has regressed to its 2022 type, main to 2 straight losses for West Virginia.

In these 4 wins, WVU was permitting simply 14.25 factors per sport. Within the final two losses, that quantity has exploded to 44.5 factors per sport. In seven losses final season, WVU allowed 42.7 factors per sport.

“We maintain ourselves to a regular and we’ve to uphold that,” security Anthony Wilson stated after Saturday’s 48-34 loss to Oklahoma State. “We all know our potential so we’re simply going to maintain working at it.”

It’s not simply that the Mountaineers are permitting extra factors, WVU’s yards per play, quarterback completions and third-down protection have all regressed to their dreadful 2022 ranges.

In its 4 wins this 12 months, WVU allowed 4.34 yards per play. That has ballooned to 7.25 over the past two weeks. Houston averaged 9.37 yards per passing play whereas Oklahoma State averaged 8.52 yards per run. 

“We simply missed a bunch of tackles and ran by the ball,” head coach Neal Brown stated of Saturday’s run protection. “That’s what it seemed like from the sideline. We ran proper by the ball and missed tackles.”

In final 12 months’s losses, opponents averaged 6.49 yards per play towards the Mountaineers.

WVU’s protection excelled on third downs earlier this 12 months, holding opponents to only a 27% conversion charge throughout its successful streak. Houston and OSU transformed 11 of 23 third downs (47.8%) within the final two weeks. Victorious opponents transformed 50.5% of their third downs towards WVU in 2022.

Like third-down protection, WVU’s red-zone protection was stellar throughout its four-game successful streak. WVU’s opponents scored simply 25 complete factors within the pink zone in that stretch. Houston and Oklahoma State have mixed for 48 within the final two weeks alone. The opposition averaged 24.3 red-zone factors per sport in victories towards WVU final 12 months.

Lastly, the Mountaineers’ go protection, a lot maligned in 2022, has but once more turn into an issue. Opponents accomplished 59.3% of passes towards WVU final season. Throughout WVU’s four-game successful streak, opposing WBs have been solely finishing 44/9% of their passes, however that quantity has ballooned to 71.4% over the past two weeks.

Houston quarterback Donovan Smith accomplished his closing 16 go makes an attempt towards WVU, together with the game-winning Hail Mary. Oklahoma State’s Alan Bowman had a stretch the place he accomplished 14 of 17 passes on Saturday.

“On the finish of the day, we’re nonetheless on the market and we have to get the job completed it doesn’t matter what,” Wilson stated. “It was actually simply self-inflicted issues we all know we might’ve completed higher. We’ve bought to wash up, that’s the largest factor.”

WVU’s subsequent take a look at is the highest offense within the Large 12 when it comes to yardage, UCF (midday/FS1).

The Knights are averaging a conference-best 499.6 yards per sport. They’re second within the league in dashing yards (1,627), simply two yards behind Kansas State, and sixth in passing yards (1,870). Along with the yards, UCF is fifth within the Large 12 averaging 34.1 factors per sport.

With beginning quarterback John Rhys Plumlee again from an harm, UCF threw for 248 yards and ran for 149 in an in depth, 31-29, loss to Oklahoma on Saturday.