The truth of the matter is that, outside of big performances against Marshall, Baylor and Kansas, West Virginia was pretty unexceptional on offense. Geno Smith and crew managed more than 4.8 points per possession in three games, but less than 2 points per possession in five others (Oregon and Alabama were held under 2 points per possession once each all season). Fourth in the conference in points per possession, third in EP3, fourth in EPA per pass. The unit's best quality was avoiding turnovers, and they ranked second in the Big 12 in turnovers per possession.
And the defense was legitimately bad. They finished the season 116th in points per possession allowed, which improves to 76th when we adjust for context and competition. Only Colorado and Army allowed a higher EPA per pass. As noted earlier, they were particularly susceptible to long pass plays. Without the 45 pass plays that went for 25 or more yards, West Virginia would have reduced its EPA per pass from .33 to .05 (which would place them just below the national average). This kind of defense generally leads to bad 3rd down defense as well, where teams converted 45% of the time against the Mountaineers.
Take home message is if you want to get your quarterback in the Heisman discussion, schedule Baylor and Marshall early and often.
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