How West Virginia Would Fare Against Top SEC Defenses

Ian BergCorrespondent IOctober 8, 2012

How West Virginia Would Fare Against Top SEC Defenses

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    The No. 4 West Virginia offense is the No. 3 total offense and No.5 scoring offense in the country. A shoot-out against No. 15 Texas this past weekend was fun to watch, but there were a lot of defensive struggles for both football teams. 

    Texas has a very strong defense this season, so the high score was moderately surprising. Could West Virginia fare just as well against the top defenses in the SEC?

    Teams like Alabama, Florida and South Carolina are playing elite level defense right now. LSU and Georgia have shown deficiencies, but they are still very strong. West Virginia would have success, but it would be limited. 

    Geno Smith has thrown 24 touchdowns and zero interceptions. He has completed 81.4 percent of his passes. That wouldn’t happen in the SEC. 

    Here is a look at how the Mountaineers would fare against the five best defenses in the SEC.

Alabama Crimson Tide

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    Alabama has been one of the most consistent defensive performers this season. It comes as no surprise that the Crimson Tide are ranked at the top of virtually every defensive category. 

    The Crimson Tide have only allowed 35 total points to be scored on them through the first five games of the season. Alabama would allow some points to West Virginia, but it would be less than most would expect. 

    The Tide have a great pass rush and would spend a lot of time hitting Smith in the pocket. With the combination of sticky coverage and nasty pass rush, the Tide would handle this game very well. 

    Total Yardage Prediction: 280

     

    Key National Rankings

    Total Defense: No. 1

    Scoring Defense: No. 1

    Pass Defense: No. 3

    Rush Defense: No. 3

    Turnover Margin: No. 1

    Sacks: No. 12

Georgia Bulldogs

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    Georgia has had a lot of issues the past few weeks on the defensive side of the football. Tennessee earned 478 yards on the Bulldogs and 392 against South Carolina. 

    South Carolina only mustered 160 yards passing against the Bulldogs, while Tennessee earned 281 yards through the air. 

    The Bulldogs were expected to be one of the best defenses in the country this fall, but they have failed to pass muster through the first six weeks of football. This would be a tough game for Georgia to win. 

    West Virginia’s offense would perform very well against this Bulldogs defense.

    Total Yardage Prediction: 480

     

    Key National Rankings

    Total Defense: No. 51

    Scoring Defense: No. 52

    Pass Defense: No. 43

    Rush Defense: No. 68

    Turnover Margin: No. 62

    Sacks: No. 79

Florida Gators

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    The Florida Gators have been very impressive defensively through the first few weeks of the season. The Gators are fast attacking and smothering in the secondary.

    This would be a fun game to watch West Virginia attempt. The Florida secondary plays solid man coverage and has a powerful hitter from safety in Matt Elam. The crossing routes that are loved by Geno Smith would be hard to complete. 

    The Gators would give up some yards and a few big plays, but Florida would rise the victor.

    Total Yardage Prediction: 325

     

    Key National Rankings

    Total Defense: No. 12

    Scoring Defense: No. 6

    Pass Defense: No. 17

    Rush Defense: No. 16

    Turnover Margin: No. 16

    Sacks: No. 71

LSU Tigers

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    LSU has battled offensive consistency this season, leading to the first loss of the season against Florida. The LSU defense has been just as good as advertised. 

    The Bayou Bengals are scary good in the secondary and have been very stout against the run. The Tigers would play man defense against the Mountaineers, creating tiny windows for Geno Smith to try and maneuver the ball through. 

    This may finish as an LSU loss, but it would be a struggle to get to the winner’s circle. Geno Smith would have a tough game, likely tossing a few picks by the end of regulation.

    Total Yardage Prediction: 300

     

    Key National Rankings

    Total Defense: No. 3

    Scoring Defense: No. 8

    Pass Defense: No. 2

    Rush Defense: No. 14

    Turnover Margin: No. 33

    Sacks: No. 24

South Carolina Gamecocks

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    South Carolina has played smothering defense all season long. The Gamecocks have consistently performed well in all six of their wins. The most dangerous piece of the Gamecocks' defense is the pass-rush. 

    The Gamecocks are among the nation’s elite when it comes to sacks. The one team that did cause West Virginia a lot of issues was Maryland. The Terrapins brought consistent pressure and consistently stayed in Smith's face. 

    Smith had his worst performance against Maryland. Keep in mind, he still completed 69.8 percent of his passes and tossed three touchdowns. 

    Total Yardage Prediction: 310

     

    Key National Rankings

    Total Defense: No. 11

    Scoring Defense: No. 4

    Pass Defense: No. 28

    Rush Defense: No. 9

    Turnover Margin: No. 33

    Sacks: No. 4