It was ugly. Offense was ugly. Defense was ugly. Crowd got ugly. This was not the good natured homecoming romp it was supposed to be. I know few expect exact predictions from the 10 Things… posts, and I’m usually really really wrong, but no one saw yesterday’s game coming. Lowest number of points put up by the ‘Eers since Syracuse in 2005. That game, of course, was the first game of the Pat White/Adam Bednarik experiment that only lasted half of the season. Either way, you can consider it the starting point of this era of Mountaineer football, and one we don’t want to return to.
The offense was sluggish, though Devine looked good even before his game-breaker. He needs the ball more. The short passing game netted nothing on the field and got booed mercilessly in the stands. I’m beginning to think that the Mountaineers don’t actually have any downfield pass plays in the playbook. Not having White running the show was a blow, of course, but JB is a perfectly good quarterback who should be able to come in without missing a beat. Rarely was he put in position to make a play, and when he was, he didn’t.
The D also took a step back for the first time this season. The seemed to concede all the mid-range passing routes, one Syracuse QB Cam Dantley took full advantage of. It was nice seeing Nate Sowers make a big pick in the secondary, but that was really the only defensive bright spot for me. The unit seemed to simply be holding the status quo against an offense they should have out-muscled and out-matched. The time of possession mismatch was primarily due to offensive ineptitude, but giving up over 300 yards of offense to the Orange rests entirely on the shoulders of our defense.
All in all, I’m still cautiously optimistic. We can still win the Big East. Pat White has all the time he needs to get ready for Auburn and with #5, anything is still possible.