A Little Know-Howe: Can WVU Match K-State Effort as OSU and Nation's Leading Rusher Set to Arrive

By Brad Howe on November 23, 2019 from A Little Know-Howe via Connect-Bridgeport.com

Can they do it again? 
 
That’s the question that faces the Mountaineer football team as it looks to collect a second consecutive win. After five straight losses, WVU rolled into Manhattan, Kansas and took down the Wildcats last week. Impressive to say the least. The defense did what it does best…create havoc. 
 
WVU racked up nine tackles for loss, two sacks, two interceptions, six pass breakups and one forced fumble. The defense did a fantastic job of forcing Kansas State away from it wanted to do offensively. K State rushed for just 122 yards on the day and saw quarterback Skylar Thompson have to throw the ball 39 times.
 
It was a good blueprint for what WVU will try and do today. Oklahoma State enters with the nation’s leading rusher in Chubba Hubbard, but without it’s starting quarterback Spencer Sanders. 
 
Let’s talk Hubbard first. A former high school track start in Canada, Hubbard has turned into one of the nation’s premier backs. The speed is obvious. When he gets to the second level, forget about it. He’s gone.
 
The challenge in slowing Hubbard down isn’t just the speed. How about this stat - Hubbard has gained 1,000 rushing yards this season AFTER CONTACT - 1,000 yards rushing, period, is a good season. Let alone racking up that many after you’ve been hit. He’s a load and will be the focus of the WVU defense today.
 
As you would expect when you have a back like Hubbard the Cowboys rely heavily on the run. Oklahoma State rushes the ball 62% of the time. That number may be even higher today with the announcement from Thursday that quarterback Spencer Sanders underwent surgery this week and will miss the rest of the season.
 
Sanders is an extremely talented, but young signal caller. At times he’s been fantastic. In the season opener against Oregon State he threw for three touchdowns, no interceptions and rushed for 109 yards. But, there have been games where Sanders’ turnovers have killed the Cowboys. Two interceptions in a loss to Texas. Three more in a loss to Texas Tech. One interception and two fumbles in a loss to Baylor.
 
With no Sanders today, the start is expected to go to graduate transfer (from Hawaii), Dru Brown. There were some reports late this week that Brown was nursing an injury as well and was questionable so we’ll have to keep a close eye on who leads this team out for their first offensive possession. 
 
If Brown plays expect to see a guy that doesn’t resemble a backup quarterback. In two seasons as the starting quarterback at Hawaii, Brown threw for 5,273 yards and 37 touchdowns. 
 
Speaking of quarterbacks, how about the boost Jarret Doege gave this WVU offense? As we discussed here last week, it was time for Doege to take over the offense for the rest of the regular season and see what he could do. You saw why against Kansas State.
 
Doege went 20-30 for 230 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. The first touchdown pass to George Campbell showed tremendous touch. The last one to Bryce Wheaton showed arm strength and Doege’s ability to avoid pressure enough to make plays.
 
Now, much like the defense, can Doege and the offense find a way to stack a good performance on top of a good performance. The probable return of receiver TJ Simmons will provide Doege with another weapon. The run game, while not where it should be, showed some improvement against Kansas State.
 
Five runs of 10 yards or more against the Wildcats were the second most all season. That was just enough to open up some things for Doege to go to work. 
 
The final regular season home game of the 2019 season should be a fun one. Senior Day is always special. It’s another reminder, for fans and players, how quickly time passes.
 
For the 22 seniors running out of the tunnel at Mountaineer Field for the final time, here’s hoping it’s a memorable one. 
 
Enjoy the game today.
 
 
NOTE: For more on the Oklahoma State - WVU game, I invite you to listen in to our extensive, award-winning, nine hours of gameday coverage on the Metronews Radio Network beginning at noon today. 
 
I will be joined by Hoppy Kercheval, Greg Hunter, Kyle Wiggs, Dave Weekley, Fred Persinger, Greg Hunter, Joe Brocato, former WVU defensive coordinator Steve Dunlap and former WVU quarterback Rasheed Marshall.
 
You can listen on radio stations throughout the state or by streaming live at: WVMertronews.com 
 
Editor's Note: Top photo shows Dylan Tonkery looking to stop the running game against Texas, while Josh Chandler brings pressure against the quarterback in the second photo. Both pictures by Ben Queen of www.benqueenphotography.com. Bottom photo is of quarterback Jarret Doege. Photo courtesy of WVU Sports Communications; photo by Brian Persinger.


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