2021 West Virginia Stats
|Points Scored Per Game||39|
|Points Allowed Per Game||17|
The non-conference portion of Oklahoma’s football season has come to a close and the Sooners are set to begin Big 12 play by hosting the surging West Virginia Mountaineers. Fresh off an upset of #15 Virginia Tech last week, in Morgantown, WVU now has its sights set on doing something it has never done before. The Mountaineers are 0-8 against Oklahoma in Big 12 play with the last meeting between the two schools turning into a 52-14 pounding in 2019. The Sooners didn’t travel to Morgantown last season to play West Virginia due to Covid issues within the WVU program. Because of that, the last two meetings between the Sooners and Mountaineers have been played in Norman.
West Virginia’s offense is averaging 39 points per game and pacing itself at 411 total yards per outing. The majority of those yards are coming through the air (271.3 YPG) but don’t let that fool you in regards to the power of the Mountaineer rushing attack. Virginia Tech held Jaret Doege to a season low of 193 passing yards but it came at the cost of WVU running back Leddie Brown going off for 161 yards at an average of 8.5 yards per carry.
For the season Brown is averaging 4.96 yards per carry and 88.33 rushing yards per game. He’s crossed the goal line five times already this season as a runner and once on a pass reception. Far from being a one dimensional back, Brown is averaging 10.2 yards per reception this season on nine catches. He’ll be the focal point of the defense this Saturday as the Sooners look to bottle up the Mountaineer offense.
When Doege does go to the air he’s looking for junior Sam James who leads the team with three receiving touchdowns and 166 yards. Sean Ryan and Bryce Ford-Wheaton have also hauled in touchdown passes on the season with Ryan also stretching the field at an average of 18.5 yards per reception.
West Virginia’s offensive line has improved in pass protection through the first month of the season. The Mountaineers gave up three quarterback sacks in the opener against Maryland, then two sacks against Long Island, before allowing just one quarterback takedown against Virginia Tech last weekend. The WVU frontline is helping the Mountaineers to an average of six yards per play so far in 2021.
|2021 West Virginia Football Results|
|#15 Virginia Tech||W||27-21|
Defensively the Mountaineers are led by linebacker Josh Chandler-Semedo who has recorded 23 total tackles on the season and forced a fumble. Linebacker Jared Bartlett is responsible for three of the ten sacks the WVU defense has produced this season. The Mountaineers are averaging 3.33 sacks per contest proving they can get after the quarterback but the real strength in this defense is on the backend. Safeties Sean Mahone, Alonzo Addae, and Scottie Young have combined for 50 tackles so far on the year and rank second through fourth on the team in total tackles. Mahone leads that group with 19 total takedowns.
The Mountaineer defense has yet to produce an interception this season but they have forced, and recovered, two fumbles. The have been stingy in both points and yards allowed per game. Like Oklahoma, West Virginia has a shutout victory over an FCS opponent which helps drop their average points allowed per game down to 17 through the first three game. WVU is only allowing 306.7 yards per game to its opponents with 205 of that coming through the air and 101.7 on the ground.
I would expect Lincoln Riley to attack the Mountaineers much in the same way Maryland did in the season opener. The Terrapins went after the secondary, completing 72% of their pass attempts, for 332 yards and three scores through the air. The running game was a compliment for Maryland’s passing attack with Tayon Fleet-Davis averaging 6.8 yards per carry on just 18 rush attempts.
Another thing that Maryland was able to do in the opener was to take advantage of West Virginia turnovers. The Mountaineers turned the ball over four times that day and have done so three more times since, giving them a total of seven giveaways on the season. Oklahoma has recorded at least one takeaway in each of its first three games and has a total of seven on the season which makes this category more than just an intangible. Turnovers could be a big difference maker in this one.
Follow us on Twitter: @SportsHeartland