MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–When West Virginia jumped out to a 35-10 lead at the half over Texas Tech, it appeared as if the Mountaineers might cruise to a victory.
However, WVU’s offense stalled in the second half, fueling a comeback by the Red Raiders.
“I think by the end of the first half, it was a good performance,” wide receiver David Sills V said. “I think we were moving well as an offense. We were playing well, but in the second half, I think we got a little complacent.”
In the second half, the Mountaineers lone touchdown was scored in the fourth quarter on an interception by cornerback Keith Washington. During that time, WVU picked up just 111 yards of offense.
Spanning the entire four quarters, the Mountaineer wide outs dropped four passes.
“I just want to say it was energy and lack of focus is what it came down to,” WVU offensive coordinator Jake Spavital said. “We had a lack of focus throughout the first half. I think we had four drops in the first quarter, which is uncharacteristic of the receivers but when we got into the second half, I thought the effort and energy looked like they didn’t want to play in that second half. I don’t know exactly what the cause is. It could be a lot of other things but when it comes down to it, we have to be able to play with effort and energy. That’s something that we can control, and that’s going to be the focus going into practice.”
After halftime, the Mountaineers’ run game struggled to gain yards and find holes.
“I thought I should have thrown it a little more in the second half,” Spavital said. “There was a lot of factors in the second half with how we were playing. There was a lot of momentum changes in that game and you could see we didn’t have any momentum in that second half. It was tough to get out of that. I should’ve ended up throwing the ball a little more on first and second down, because there ended up being a tendency where we would run the ball on first and second down and throw it on third.
“A lot of it was we were trying to run some clock and trying to be more efficient with the time management but at the end of the day, we probably should have had more efficient pass plays. We should have gotten the ball in our playmakers’ hands, because those kids are pretty explosive. When you’re run game is not hitting on the explosive plays that you want, then you probably need to end up throwing it a bit more.”
Overall, the offense line only missed a hand full of blocks but several guys got beat.
“Clean up missed assignments and get one percent better,” offensive lineman Josh Sills said about offensive line coach Joe Wickline’s message to the line.
Focus or lack there of seemed to be WVU’s biggest issue.
“I think a lot of it has to do with the lack of focus,” Spavital said. “I thought we dropped a few of those RPOs (run-pass options). Will (Grier) got caught with one of them and ended up getting called for an illegal man downfield. They just played tighter coverage. I feel like they wanted it more. There was a third down where we were looking at what we could do better on that. At the end of the day, we just need to play with a physical edge. They played man (coverage) the entire game. In the second half, they got after us a little bit.”
Heading into the Kansas game, the Mountaineers are working on playing hard for four quarters and playing with excitement the entire game.
“Coach (Dana) Holgorsen addressed everything on Sunday like he always does. Effort was one of the big things,” Josh Sills said. “Even Coach Wickline said that we have to prepare for every team the same and do everything the same for every team. It doesn’t matter who you play. It’s definitely going to be amped up this week.”
WVU and Kansas square off Saturday at noon (ET).
Cover Photo Credit: Kelsie LeRose, BGS