MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Linebacker Justin Arndt, anguished over West Virginia’s missed opportunity and his own missed tackle on Dede Westbrook, summarized Saturday night’s 56-28 loss to Oklahoma using two key elements.
Determination by the Sooners, misplaced desperation from the Mountaineers.
“They just hit us right in the mouth the first half,” Arndt said. “They brought it, and we let all the emotions get to us. They got us out of our game. We weren’t playing inside the realm of the defense.”
Coaches and players might debate the residual impact of a feisty pregame scrum, but West Virginia clearly had temperament issues while amassing five first-half personal fouls.
“We always want to play with that swagger but that wasn’t our swagger,” Arndt said.
Westbrook turned a third-and-8 screen pass into a 75-yard touchdown by dispatching Arndt, who pursued from the opposite side. Arndt’s failure to wrap up was a physical failing; another defender’s mental mixup left WVU a man short on Westbrook’s side..
“We had 10 guys playing one defense and one guy playing another,” said coordinator Tony Gibson.
His unit lost not only its composure, but also its status as the Big 12’s stingiest scoring defense. Kansas State now leads by allowing 23.7 points per game compared to West Virginia’s 24.1.
The Gold & Blue Lunch Report does its Monday homework by taking stock of the ups and downs from the weekend, which dropped WVU to 19th in AP rankings and 18th in the coaches poll.