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Armchair quarterback: West Virginia

Recapping and reviewing the game from the safety of the couch

Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Second guessing a coaches decisions is perhaps the most American thing in the world. Everyone wants to be the expert, everyone thinks they could call a better game. Here at Viva the Matadors HQ (aka, my tiny apartment) we actually are experts and could call a better game. So, every week check in for a brief recap and review of the previous game!

Recap

West Virginia came in with the nation’s top ranked defense, and while that was extremely misleading this unit could play. However, to start the game this was the Colombi show. Tech would score twice in the first quarter, and Colombi would use his arms and legs to orchestrate both drives. The game knotted at 7-7, Colombi would scramble for 11 and a first down followed by Thompson bursting through for a 48 yard score.

Tech would take a lead into half on the back of Trey Cleveland’s first touchdown as a Red Raider. The second half would turn into a back-and-forth affair, as West Virgnia would tie the game after a Red Raider fumble on the opening drive of the half gave them prime field position.

With only Brooks still standing in the backfield, Tech would orchestrate another drive to score their last offensive touchdown of the game. Momentum would swing back to West Virginia after they tied up the game, and their defense seemed to have Yost stumped.

Then, Tech would strike gold. Jacob Morganstern would rally quickly to a screen, managing to strip the ball. McPherson would scoop and take off for a 56 yard score, handing Tech their first conference victory and the first close win in what feels like a century.

Hero Spotlight

Austin McNamara - The 87 yard nuclear bomb of a punt broke West Virginia’s mometum, and was the longest in Tech history. #ForTheBrand

Eli Howard - Howard was a force as the game went on, and his one sack helped ice West Virgnia. It was great to see the big guy finally make his presence felt. It

Henry Colombi - Colombi’s modest stat-line does not do his performance justice. He was confident, and most importantly did not make a mistake. His game is so much easier to watch than Bowman’s, he just makes the easy stuff look easy. He works the pocket better, gets the ball out of his hand faster, and doesn’t over aim every throw. His legs alone are a huge upgrade, as they tax defenses and help him create opportunities. His ceiling may not be as high as Bowman’s, but this is his team now. He can keep Tech in games, and as long as the offensive line helps the running backs flourish that will do nicely.

What grinds my gears

Yost - Can we please stop with the insistence on the base formations? When even that absolute disaster of an announcing team can tell the lack of variety and motion was killing Tech, there is a problem. Yost has athletes, even with all the injuries, he refuses to try and get matchups for. Iowa State demonstrated how devastating motions and unique formations can be at freezing up a defense. Lining up in boring base formations then calling a conservative play slowed this offense down to a crawl in the second half. Yes, West Virginia’s pass rush forced his hand some in terms of what he could call. But if you actually used creativity in how you line up there is a good chance that rush could have been slowed down, opening up the playbook.

ESPN Announcers - Do these guys only make two notes for the entire game? We get it, Doege wasn’t recruited by Tech. No mention of the fact there was a reason Tech did not want him considering only BOWLING FREAKING GREEN OFFERED. Everyone in the stadium could see Tech made the right call. And how many times did we hear about Neal Brown’s tenure at Tech? Good god, that crew was light on football knowledge heavy on making my ears bleed.

Team grade: B-

There was a lot Tech could improve on, which is exciting because it actually looked like the team can get better now. The offensive line struggled to contain a ferocious pass rush, but they were far improved run blocking. The defense still gets caught staring at the backfield, but did a great job containing Brown. Yost seemed more willing in the first half to attack downfield, but got conservative in the second half. All things where even a bit more improvement could lead to greater success.

This was not a perfect game, but Tech played hard and just wanted this more than West Virginia. The better team won last Saturday, now Tech can prepare to Wreck OU.