This weekend’s Texas-West Virginia game looks to be yet another point-fest. The Longhorns held Oklahoma State to 38 in Stillwater in their warm-up for WVU, while the Mountaineers defense allowed Baylor to score just about anytime they wished.
“Just about” interjected before “anytime” means Dana Holgorsen’s men 1) won the turnover war and 2) were the team with the last possession of the ball. “Anytime” by itself would indicate a complete violation of the over-under on the game as triple digit scores may have appeared on both sides of the pinball tally board. They have crazy flipper fingers.
I attended West Virginia’s game against Baylor last Saturday. The Bears had just scored their 63rd point and had plenty of time for more. Art Briles’ hoopsters were two treys from the arc away fro— oh, sorry, wrong sport.
Let’s go back to the 63rd point. I was positive Baylor was going to attempt an onside kick. I even thought I saw a different set of ten players out there. They were smaller and thinner, probably from what is called the hands team. Hands team players are more likely than their regular kickoff grunts to handle the wildly bouncing football always created by an onside kick.
Although the rules governing the successful recovery of an onside kick by the kicking team are more stringent this season, i. e. the ball must travel ten yards, a majority opinion written by the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court John Roberts must accompany the kick as well as definitive agreement at the point of recovery by the two NFL replacement officials in the end zone at the end of the Green Bay game at Seattle…well, as you see, my onside kick call would have been foolish.
The call would have been foolish, but not flawed. Late in the fourth quarter, I began to sense the game would be won or tied by the team who had possession of the ball at the end of the game. Here’s what you have to consider: The risk of an onside kick is if one of your onside kick teammates does not jump on the ball and the receiving team does and therefore has outstanding field position.
The reward of a successful onside kick is the kicking team jumps on the ball and therefore has outstanding field position. So, if Baylor lived by the adage, “I’d rather be lucky than good,” its offense may have been on Mountaineer Field for the final few plays that late Saturday afternoon. The Bears could have scored their 69th and 70th points and not won, but tied, and forced overtime.
By my last-team-on-the-field theory, the overtime game may have gone through twilight and into early Sunday morning until one team would lose focus more than the other and would therefore become the losing team.
That event that did not happen, thankfully, reminds me of what was termed by early computer programmers as “one of those dreaded endless loops.” If you remember programming with the computer language FORTRAN IV on the third floor of the engineering building, you know what an endless loop is. If you don’t , you have either 1) put the misery out of your mind or 2) not asked your parents about it.
It’s when one of my computer cards was typed with a faulty command and sent the downtown WVU mainframe spinning and smoking until it just kicked me out. Enough paper to clear enough trees to add yet another Mountaineer Field parking lot, the light silver lot, perhaps, would end up in my mail slot.
That’s the last time I’ll run computer cards on a Friday night on my way to Sunnyside, I would say, but it wasn’t.
West Virginia’s defense is comprised of good college athletes who desperately want to win, but they’re working with challenging circumstances. Call it “Defense Impossible”, with Robert Irvine from The Food Network, Mr. Irvine, he of giant guns, stepping in and getting it all back together for the Mountaineers.
There are just two little problems: The WVU offense works fast and scores at will.
Mountaineer defenders barely have enough time to inhale oxygen and down water before they’re back on the field, by either a score or a punt. Then Baylor, a team that also works at lightning speed, ran 80-some plays in just over 25 minutes. Before they know it, the WVU defense is sucking methane though a straw and footballs are flying overhead.
What do you do?
Not much. Issues with the defense are indigenous to those working with Dana Holgorsen’s Air Raid. One of the best things Mountaineer fans can hope for is a game against a more deliberate opponent, like, for instance, Texas.
Huh. This could be good, but beware. The ‘Horns run the ball well with a mix of fastback models and cement trucks. West Virginia, after an evening of hitting the bulldozers and chasing the muscle cars with police interceptor packages, could approach the end game worn down in many ways.
Yeah. Right. Offense to the rescue.
West Virginia 45 Texas 41.