I had the same feeling about this game that I did about Auburn. For some reason I didn't see us losing this one. Not sure why...on paper everything was going against us with all the interims we had coaching, but I just flat out thought we were the better team. And thankfully despite some tense moments we pulled off the win. Below are a few quick thoughts...and definitely share yours in the comments.
The Game Overall
It was a chippy mess with both teams getting personal fouls (the Aggies more so than the Mountaineers). I don't know if that's because of the relationship between the coaches or maybe both teams were just in a bad mood. But it was ugly.
One quick note: what student assistant coach Mike Richardson did on the sidelines was absolutely unacceptable and embarrassing to our program. I'd give kudos to Sumlin for taking action, but honestly Sumlin acted out of common sense and did what he should have done. He met expectations by making Richardson stay in the locker room. It will be interesting to see what Richardson's future with the team looks like from here on out.
Jake Spavital is growing into his role as a play caller. There were a few absolutely brilliant moments like the fourth down pass to Trey Williams for the TD or having the guts to go to that slant to Kennedy on that third and long, but then we have a few moments where all we need to do is feed the bus to get to a victory and we get cute by running the option or something. End result is what counts.
Offensive line and RBs struggled early, but then something clicked. Tra Carson ran like the back we know he's capable of being--I said before the season started that the guy is an every down back and he proved it today. Trey Williams showed the flash that he's capable of as well...I'm not sure I've seen as dynamic of an open field runner in a number of years wearing the maroon and white. Despite my earlier criticisms regarding the play calling, it seemed like we really committed to running the ball, which was nice to see.
WRs played very very well. I didnt see very many drops, did you? Whatever happened between the end of the season and this game needs to keep going because when our WRs don't drop balls, we win games. Period point blank. And kudos to Josh Reynolds for setting the single season TD record.
Lastly, Kyle Allen is going to be a star. Absolute star. That one interception aside, he managed the offense incredibly well and showed some real play making ability when asked to run the ball. The future is bright at that position.
Historically A&M defenses have had a bad habit of making backup QBs look like Heisman contenders. Not tonight. Sure Skyler had a bad game, but the kid has some talent as he showed against Kansas State early in the year. We did well to make him uncomfortable and keep him from killing us too much with his legs.
I thought our front 7 played well...in fact it was refreshing to see our LBs being as aggressive as they were in both filling gaps and making tackles. I feel like I saw more production out of our DTs than I did all season, but maybe I'm alone in that. We held WVU to 126 rushing yards...that's pretty dang good.
Secondary...I thought we played....well....ok. I dont want to think about what would have happened had WVU played Trickett, but we did make some plays there. Lots of area for improvement and lots of room for early playing time for prospective DBs (cough cough Kendall Sheffield/Kris Boyd).
Solid game for our defense. Solid as compared to the rest of the year. Kudos to Mark Hagen who gets the credit for refocusing this group.
Think about who we lost from last year to this year. Johnny, Jake, Mike, Ben, Labhart, Walker etc....not to mention the suspensions and dismissals like Claiborne, Golden and Miles. Yet we only dropped by one win...from 9-4 to 8-5. That's not too shabby right there. Not to mention that after that Alabama loss that left us dead in the water, we rallied to finish strong. Early in the season I wrote that 7 wins would be meeting expectations and 8 would be exceeding them. I'm happy right now and it seems like we are set up well for a good run in 2015.
Good game. Good win. Tiring season. Thanks for reading my rantings and ravings after these games. Its been fun.
Now get some rest and gear up for a fun week of coaching hires.