Ben Queen/MetroNews photo

West Virginia linebacker Jared Barber made a number of plays but dropped two first-quarter interceptions.

 

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Time to break down a game riddled with breakdowns for West Virginia, which produced six turnovers and only six first downs while being flattened 37-0 at Maryland:

QUARTERBACK
Ford Childress likely has many starts ahead of him at WVU, and he prays none of them come close to replicating Saturday’s disaster. Ranging from ineffective to awful, he threw two brutal interceptions, failed to complete any downfield passes and lost a fumble. His 11-of-22 passing resulted in a paltry 62 yards, which happens when nine passes are completed to running backs (six of those behind the line of scrimmage).

Ben Queen/MetroNews photo

Ford Childress tossed two interceptions, lost a fumble and threw for only 62 yards against Maryland.

His first-quarter, pick-six interception was part poor decision with equally bad mechanics, a flat-footed throw toward the sideline that became easy pickings for nickel back A.J. Hendy. Late in the half, with WVU trailing 23-0 and pinned inside its own 10, Childress made a futile situation worse—stepping away from pressure only to throw a pass into the raised arms of Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil, who caught the tipped interception at the Mountaineers’ 6.

Childress actually deserved a third interception, but Terps cornerback Isaac Goins dropped a pass thrown far over the head of Ronald Carswell.

With WVU positioned to avoid the shutout on its final drive, Childress committed one poetic final mistake—trying to escape a sack by making an impromptu pitch to blocking back Charles Sims. The fumble wound up in Hendy’s hands, and West Virginia was held scoreless for the first time since 2001.

RUNNING BACK
With the offensive line faltering, WVU’s running backs didn’t find much room until the game was out of hand in the fourth quarter. Dreamius Smith (12 carries for 74 yards) did most of his damage on a late 51-yard run against Maryland’s second-teamers, and Wendell Smallwood curiously was credited with a 30-yard run on his lone carry, which he fumbled away after 18 yards.

Sims gained only 35 yards on eight rushes, but caught eight passes for 33 yards as WVU tried in vain to exploit Maryland’s defense in the flat. One of those catches became a fumble at the Terps’ 20-yard line, though Sims’ knee might have been down—according to replays that were ignored by the booth official upstairs.

RECEIVERS
History was on Lonnie Galloway’s side during the preseason when he said someone would catch 80 passes in this offense (because someone always does). That prediction turned laughable against Maryland when Carswell’s 12-yard catch on the opening drive turned out to be the only reception by a WVU wide receiver all day. (And wouldn’t you know it, that 12-yarder came on on third-and-13. Gorgeous irony.)

Though Carswell dropped a potential first-down catch in the second quarter, WVU’s wideouts didn’t even get their hands on any other passes. Carswell was targeted three times, while Childress threw toward Kevin White and Mario Alford once each.

Ben Queen/MetroNews photo

Pat Eger and the offensive line drew harsh reviews from WVU’s coaches.

OFFENSIVE LINE
Calling this performance “as bad as we’ve ever played on the offensive line,” Holgorsen was being generous. The lack of a sustainable running game despite Maryland dropping more defenders into coverage short-circuited all WVU hoped to accomplish.

“When you can’t block, it’s tough,” Holgorsen said. “We put these guys in position to be able to block and we didn’t.”

Maryland registered eight TFLs despite West Virginia running only 47 plays.

Left guard Marquis Lucas endured his worst game of the young season, surrendering a sack—as did left tackle Quinton Spain.

Center Pat Eger was flagged for a hands-to-the-face personal foul and also had an errant shotgun snap that blew up Childress’ timing on a third-down fail. The senior had shifted to right guard late in the half when the Terps rushed only three defenders, yet lineman Andre Monroe wedged between Eger and center Tyler Orlosky to pressure Childress. A moment later Cudjoe-Virgil had his interception.

Monroe overmatched Orlosky on another third down that saw Childress pressured into an incompletion. Maryland sacked Childress twice and generated ample pressure without having to rely on its zero blitzes.

“When (Childress) is not even planting his back foot and getting hit, there’s not much he can do,” Holgorsen said. “We played incredibly poor up front.”

Ben Queen/Metronews photo

WVU’s Will Clarke twice sacked Maryland’s C.J. Brown in Saturday’s 37-0 loss.

DEFENSIVE LINE
Turnovers fed directly into 21 points for Maryland, so by most metrics, West Virginia’s defense made a decent showing—though no defender was in the mood to confirm such after a lopsided loss. The defensive front contained quarterback C.J. Brown on the zone-read and limited Maryland to merely 2.4 yards per carry overall. After averaging 262 yards rushing per game, the Terps settled for only 113 Saturday.

Will Clarke registered both of WVU’s sacks and whiffed on a third when Brown dodged him in the end zone. Who could have foreseen the near-safety was the Mountaineers’ best chance to score?

With 2.5 TFLs among his five stops, Dontrill Hyman showed continued progress. Kyle Rose (3.5 tackles) flashed some hustle by catching Terps running back Brandon Ross 25 yards downfield after a screen catch.

Nose guard Shaq Rowell made four tackles, and with no offensive players speaking to the media, he once more emerged as the team’s postgame spokesman. “They beat the hell out of us,” he said. “I’m embarrassed. I’m being real with you. I’m embarrassed. All three sides of the ball, we got our ass kicked.”

LINEBACKERS
From what was perhaps Jared Barber’s best game (four stops,1.5 TFLs), the Sam linebacker regretted two near-interceptions that eluded him. The first came on Maryland’s opening drive, backed up at its own 11. The second slipped through Barber’s hands and was corralled by tight end Dave Stinebaugh for the game’s first touchdown.

Monday should bring an injury update on Barber’s fellow inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski, who left in the first half and didn’t re-appear. His presence figures to be vital to WVU’s chances of slowing Oklahoma State next Saturday.

One injury that appeared gruesome but wasn’t—the twisted left leg of Brandon Golson—sent the Buck linebacker writhing after a collision with Clarke on a first-quarter sack. Yet Golson looked nimble as ever upon returning in the second half. (Marvin Gross had a quarterback pressure and a third-down tackle in the interim.)

Doug Rigg (3.5 stops) tracked a seam route to break up a pass in the end zone and made a mid-air goal-line hit that delayed Maryland’s score before the half.

Eric Kinsey continues to look capable at the backup Buck, though he lost containment on Deon Long’s 16-yard run.

Ben Queen/MetroNews photo

Nickel back K.J. Dillon forced a turnover on a run blitz.

SECONDARY
The expense of rendering Stefon Diggs a non-factor contributed to Deon Long’s productive day (six catches for 98 yards). Brown overthrew Long on another potential big-gainer, culminating in safety Darwin Cook cracking the former WVU signee.

Travis Bell, who frequently had his hands full in man coverage, walloped Long on a sideline route and received a personal foul flag. Given the climate of officials erring on the side of safety, Bell was fortunate to avoid a targeting ejection.

On the opposite side, Icky Banks flattened Diggs on an incomplete screen pass and wound up with 3.5 stops.

With Kwiatkoski sidelined, Karl Joseph (eight tackles) reclaimed his spot as the team’s top tackler. Nickelback K.J. Dillon, healthy after sitting out a week, crashed in on a run blitz to bat loose an option pitch that he also recovered at the Maryland 26.

Reserve cornerback Daryl Worley showed his downfield cover skills by breaking up deep shots intended for Long and Diggs.

Ben Queen/MetroNews photo

Ronald Carswell’s fumbled punt led to Maryland’s first touchdown.

SPECIAL TEAMS
Reminiscent of the Oklahoma loss, a WVU punt-return gaffe proved crucial. This time it was Carswell who misjudged the ball as it bounced off his leg for a turnover at the Mountaineers’ 24-yard line. Three plays later, the Terps led 7-0.

West Virginia’s punt- and kick-coverage units were solid, and Nick O’Toole’s eight punts equated to a 46-yard average with three dropped inside the 20.

But West Virginia’s kick-return unit was tagged with two flags (holding and Illegal block) and its field-goal defense was caught with a 12th-man infraction.

COACHING
You would have had a hard time convincing anyone, even Maryland’s players, that they were capable of burying WVU by halftime. Yet this loss made for such stinging embarrassment that it creates consternation and uncertainty heading into the Big 12 schedule. (And as an inescapable footnote, it gives WVU five losses by three touchdowns or more within the last 12 games.)

Holgorsen’s offense—completely dysfunctional to a depth he has never suffered as a head coach or coordinator—features inconsistent receivers, weak line play and a gaping question at quarterback. How that gets fixed, or simply made adequate, will determine whether WVU has any hopes of a bowl invite.

“It’s 100 percent on me,” Holgorsen said. “Obviously, what I’m doing offensively is not working.”

Ben Queen/MetroNews photo

Dana Holgorsen on WVU’s offense: “We’re as inept as we can possibly be.”
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Comments

  • WVU FAN

    Our leaders on the field / Offensive side of the ball have no heart for the game- I wonder what it looked like during summer (lazy summer days) work outs ( I would bet know one spoke of what the season might hold for them) you know like don't catch punts inside the ten yard line ( it's just not smart football) when on the field knowing down and distance on the 7 on 7 drills -- I am just guessing here, but I don't believe these kids know how to be winners at this level...coaches need to step it up, these kids need a lot of work! I will not watch kids playing without heart- WVU's Basketball team last year about killed me... Life is to short to sit in front of a box and watch that crap!

  • Neal

    Sorry I hate to be OCD, but the opposite of 'win' is 'lose', not 'loose'. There I said it, although now I feel like an anal jerk.

  • Neil

    Does anyone want to give away two tickets for the OK St game this weekend? Call me! 304-916-2669

  • Dave

    Monday Morning Stock Report UPDATE - This just in...."WE SUCK?"....NO it can't be true....but IT IS TRUE!!!

    We need to have what is called "A come to Jesus meeting" with all the players and especially the head coach!

    Let's review before the meeting...

    1st - We have NO clear QB....that would be the head coaches fault for not picking one before the season started and sticking with him and building some confidence. By the way...we should give the Trickett kid a "do over" so he can choose another school to play at because we wasted his time coming here.

    2nd - Give credit where credit is due...we have a better defense than last year...but lets be honest...that's like saying it's hot outside when standing on the sun...we have improved...to a basic level...and that's where we will stay this year.

    3rd - We cannot GIVE up the ball that many times...if it's fumbles that are the problem we need to go back to some BASIC FUNDAMENTALS on ball control and care.

    4th - There's no JET offense this year...so let's play to our strength and play "OLD SCHOOL SMACK'EM in the mouth football"...I mean get MEAN and let it stay on the field.

    5th and FINAL - GET rid of ANY distractions...and that means letting go of a coach who may or may not have been dirty in the past...let him go...give him a chance to go somewhere and cool off for a little bit and let the media forget/forgive/loose sight of him...I hear that Rich Rod may need a new assistant.

    Finally....Let's grow up...there are winners and loosers everyday...right now we are the loosers, but we don't have to stay that way!

  • pghmountaineer

    I think it's no more simpler than this... These coaches are paid ungodly salaries to put, at the very least, a respectable product on the field. And even when it's a rebuilding year nobody should accept a team that looks like it doesn't belong on the field. As a CEO I would expect much more than that.
    Even more outrageous, is the coaching staff basically admitting they don't have a clue. This would cause most of us to either loose our jobs or at the very least be put on probation. It doesn't seem to be the case here and that is unbeleivable.

  • Jase

    One thing every disgruntled wvu fan tends too forget is we are not nor have we ever been an elite program, but because of success in recent years we have changed how we view ourselves and thus we think that we should be a 10 win team every year, but because we are of an elite program that will never be. The reason Texas, Oklahoma , Florida, USC, Alabama and so on are elite programs is because they are able to produce elite talent in the high school ranks in they're respective states and attract them to they're own schools. Wvu recruits primarily come almost 98% out of state which is why we will never be elite. Sure we have had some great teams and memorable seasons, and we will again, but expecting it every year is unrealistic and we need to just enjoy the ride to glory once again even if its a year or two away.

  • Zac

    Almost forgot: I've always appreciated Randy Edsall as a Head Coach. After so many set-backs, I'm glad his work is finally paying off at Maryland. I'm just sorry to see it at the Mountaineers expense. None-the-less, I hope his season with his Terps' continues to go well.

  • Zac

    This game with Maryland reminds me of the 2007 game against Pitt. The differences: That one was at home, quite a bit more was at stake, and Pitt had only won 4 games all year. Oh, and let's not forget; WVU did manage to score in that one. Just like Pitt did in 2007, Maryland did in Baltimore: Their defense out-shined WVU's. But WVU's defense didn't do badly. Let's not forget (again): The Terps produced over 500 yards (almost 600 in game 2) in each of their 1st three games. The Mountaineers held them to Under 325 for the game. It may seem like little consolation, given the score, but it's something to hold on to. Because when, not if, the offense starts clicking; when, not if, ALL Special Teams have learned their roles, the dense will still be there to round out the equation. Till then, all we can do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the season. After all, our team wasn't expected to do much anyway. The good news: It can only get better from here. Go Mountaineers!!!!!!!!

  • LuvDubVU

    And just when you think that things cant get any worse: WVU opens with Alabama next year! Haaaa.

  • joe

    The head coaches job is to be the CEO of the team. I think Holgs has shown he can do that well in making the changes he made to defensive staff last year.... and thus our much improved Defense. If Holgs was our OC, do I think he could fix the Offense... yea, but he is trying to be the CEO of the whole program... which makes it tough to act as OC. I think he is going to have to be a lot more hands on with the Offense.... does that mean he has to make changes to the Offensive staff in off season... I don't know. I like how he has managed the Team and Program.... maybe he needs an Offensive staff that can operate more effectively without his hand holding.

  • pghmountaineer

    Jed. Wow!!! Have you been living under a rock?

  • Joe

    I have been a WV fan for more than 50 years. This is the lowest I have ever felt. I am tired of going backwards. It would be nice to be optimistic but I see no hope on the horizon.

  • big tom

    surely there is another pat white out there who is just waiting for someone to take a chance on him..

  • Robin

    Allan, I think your report is "fair and balanced." :)

  • WVBIGRED

    How bad you all missing Rich Rod

    • Art in Ohio

      Attended WVU games since 1957. Ten years old and with my dad. Only missed 4 games since the new Mountaineer Field was built in 1980. If they ever bring Rich Rod back my years of attending Mountaineer games will end and I would find it very difficult to watch WVU football on TV.

      This team will improve as the season goes on. We are a very young team on both sides of the ball and better times are ahead of us.

      • JimJim

        "This team will improve as the season goes on. Nope, not with this coach. Well, maybe at the dog track!

    • Tom

      None. Wouldn't want that man back if we went 0-12 every.... Hope he dies in a plane crash.