Remember the last time Dana Holgorsen came to Stillwater as the enemy?
2009...Beat Georgia in the season opener at home. Oklahoma State was #5 in the country. Made the cover of Sports Illustrated.
Then subsequently got torched by Houston, and a season that started with so much excitement and hope began going downhill, and would wind up with two horrible losses to end the season.
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.
As we all know, Gundy lured Dana to Stillwater the next season, which was enough to implant the "no huddle" spread attack at OSU, and the Cowboys will never be the same.
Now Holgorsen returns once again as the enemy, bringing what once was a high flying, point producing machine that is suddenly NOT hitting on all cylinders.
I fear that Justin Gilbert might just be what the doctor ordered.
When West Virginia came over from the Big East, many questioned their ability to handle the level of football in the Big 12. Narrow wins over several weak "sisters" and a blowout loss to Syracuse did not look good for running the gauntlet of a Big 12 schedule.
Then came the annihilation of Clemson, and suddenly the 'Eers and QB Geno Smith were the darlings of the media in their new conference home.
The warning signs were there...a couple of not so impressive non-conference wins...allowed Baylor 63 points in a win...then got completely shut down by Tech and Kansas State.
Based on Big 12 play, how can an offense that seems so potent essentially vanish? One would expect offensive production to lessen against better defenses (Baylor/Texas vs Tech/KState/TCU), but the drop in production is precipitous.
Turnovers? Not really, although they are averaging 1.7 per game in the three losses, while averaging 1 per game in their wins. But that's not much of difference, at least not enough to explain the change.
Penalties? Fewer penalties for fewer yards in the three losses.
Sacks? Fewer sacks for fewer lost yards in the three losses.
In 24 possessions (I don't count end of half) in 2 wins, WV scored 16 touchdowns. In the 37 possessions since, they have tallied as many turnovers on downs as touchdowns...6
Third down conversions dropped from 56% to 39%.
After completing 81% of his passes in the 2 wins, Smith has completed only 58% in the three losses.
Those numbers are all fine, but are also predictable outcomes of wins and losses. They don't necessarily tell a story.
These stats, however, do...
- YPA...10.3 in 2 wins...4.7 in 3 losses
- YPC...12.6 in 2 wins...8.1 in 3 losses
- how quickly can the receiver get his eyes turned upfield after the catch;
- does the QB hit the receiver in stride;
- and where is the defender or defenders at the time of the catch;