COLUMBIA, Mo. — The good news? At least West Virginia will dodge Wyoming on this year’s schedule.
The bad news may be much of what follows in 2019.
Neal Brown and the Mountaineers were dealt a heaping scoop of reality at Faurot Field Saturday, getting spanked 38-7 at the hands of Missouri. It is West Virginia’s most lopsided defeat since losing 55-14 to No. 4 Kansas State on Oct. 20, 2012. The Tigers scored the first 38 points before their second-stringers allowed a harmless touchdown to WVU’s starters with just over 5 minutes remaining.
“We were completely outplayed and outcoached in all phases. I’m very disappointed in our performance, but I’m not discouraged,” Brown said. “I want that to be heard loud and clear. I’m not discouraged.
“We’re a work-in-progress. I’ve been saying that since I got here. That’s not a negative. It’s what it is. It’s where we’re at. We have some deficiencies. I’ve been pretty open about those. They were exposed last week in certain spots, but this week we played a team with several NFL players, and they were fully taken advantage of.”
Missouri was most assuredly not in the Top 10 entering Saturday’s game. The hosts emphatically rebounded from a season-opening 37-31 loss at Wyoming, while West Virginia played like its season-opening win over James Madison may have to be savored a bit longer than anyone would hope.
A week after getting trampled for 297 rushing yards by the Cowboys, Missouri’s defense flexed all over the Mountaineers. West Virginia was limited to 30 yards on 32 carries. The Mountaineers only broke out of a negative rushing total after the Tigers cleared out their bench. WVU had minus-7 rushing yards with 8:15 left in the game.
“On the field, their defense played much harder than they did at Wyoming last week,” said WVU co-offensive coordinator Matt Moore. “They got embarrassed last week. We should have been in the same boat. But we won, so I think we had a lot of ‘Oh, well they lost to Wyoming’ on our team. These guys are SEC players. You better be ready. And I thought we were. I thought we were ready to answer the bell.”
Through two games, West Virginia has 64 rushing yards on 56 attempts.
“Everybody who plays us is going to do this,” Brown said. “They’re going to get into a front to make us block in one-on-one situations, put one more in the box and play man coverage.
“Until we win one-on-one blocks, win in one-on-one coverage and until we break a tackle, we’re going to struggle. Football is a pretty easy number game numbers-wise. They’re going to make us win one-on-ones. We haven’t done that. They exposed us in a bad way today.”
Overall, Missouri outgained WVU by a 382-171 total.
Quarterback Austin Kendall was able to save West Virginia’s offense in Week 1, but Mizzou proved a stiffer test than James Madison in the passing game. Kendall was picked off twice and finished 15-of-25 for 137 yards. Those numbers were inflated by a 46-yard fourth-quarter touchdown pass to George Campbell that helped the Mountaineers avoid their first shutout loss since 2013.