Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Numbers Don't Tell Entire Story for Improving Wvu Defense

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Numbers Don't Tell Entire Story for Improving Wvu Defense

Article excerpt

West Virginia's defense still ranks a lowly No. 102 in Division I- A in total defense, and worse, 117th in pass defense.

But in front of a record Texas crowd on Saturday, the much maligned side of the ball came up with two key fourth-quarter stops to do its part in a Mountaineers win.

No man appeared more excited, and perhaps relieved, than Joe DeForest, one of the team's two defensive coordinators.

Exclamation points seemed to hang in the air after each sentence.

"I thought we fought our tails off," said an animated DeForest. "I'm excited about all the things we can do from here. That was a hard fought win. A hard fought win.

"To get away from here with a victory, in Austin? Really the first road test of the year? I mean, wow. Wow. You can ask for [fewer] points, but I'll tell you one thing, it was a battle."

Statistically it was no gem.

The defense allowed six of seven red-zone scores, 5.9 yards per play to the Texas offense, and 404 yards of offense.

But as co-defensive coordinator Keith Patterson explained heading into the game, judging defensive success in the Big 12 is a little bit different.

"You've had a game where you play 90, 100 snaps, they're going to have yards. Therefore you do have to change how you measure success," said Patterson.

He listed four key factors: red-zone scoring defense, stopping the run, creating turnovers and trying to create negative yardage plays.

"Those are ways you measure success. If you can get three or four 3-and-outs or 4-and-outs, well, there's six or seven possessions of maybe 13 possessions a game," he said.

Texas ran just 68 plays, and was slowed to 8 of 14 on third down and 1 of 3 on fourth down. The running game was limited to just 135 yards.

That was enough to elicit a teensy bit of praise from head coach Dana Holgorsen on Monday's Big 12 coaches call.

"I thought [the defense] was good. It could've been a little bit better," he said. "They got about 3.5 yards a rush, which is good."

Time announced

West Virginia's contest against Kansas State on Oct. 20 will start at 7 p.m. at Milan Puskar Stadium and shown on WPGH. Both teams are currently 5-0. The Wildcats travel to Iowa State on Saturday. …

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