Country Roads: Horned Frogs Face WVU Mountaineers

November 13, 2020

Happy Friday the 13th from Morgantown, West Virginia. There’s a joke in there somewhere.

I’m not the first to tell you that 2020 has been a wacky year, but here’s one more item to add to that endorsement:

As you read this, I sit watching the second round of The 2020 Masters on a Friday night in November in Morgantown. Hmmm.

2020 should have an “Out of Order” sign hung on it.

You all know why I’m here, so let’s get to business.

The Frogs are looking for their third win in a row Saturday against the WVU Mountaineers. These teams are similar, yet different in how they’ve built their win-loss records. WVU is undefeated at home, but can’t seem to fit a solid road effort into their knapsack, having suffered all three losses in their 4-3 record on the road, losing at Oklahoma State, at Texas Tech and at Texas.

The Musket Men are different at home, where they play suffocating defense and move the ball at will.

Quarterback Jarret Doege, who’s from Lubbock but wasn’t good enough to be recruited by Texas Tech, has been on a roll, throwing for more than 300 yards in each of his last four games. His main target is #16 Winston Wright Jr., who has great hands and can outfight defenders for the ball. Doege also looks for #13 Sam James, who’s a speedster and don’t forget Captain Heartbreak, #9 Isaiah Esdale, who torched the Frogs for a game-winning catch with two minutes left — he’s physical.

West Virginia likes to run the ball, too, as balanced offense has suddenly become vogue in the Big 12. Look for #4 Leddie Brown if he can go. (He was injured in the Texas game last week and has been in the training room since trying to get his right hamstring healed.) Brown is currently ranked second in rushing behind Iowa State’s Breece Hall. If Brown can do it, then #20 Alec Sinkfield will get the nod — he’s a quick tackle-shatterer, who brings an extra gear with him.

The Frogs will need to run the ball. TCU’s offensive line needs its best game of the year. Add a cup of physicality to the recipe and watch this offense rise. Bake at 250 yards for best results.

WVU is 0-3 when allowing more than 75 yards rushing. Doesn’t seem like a big number to reach, but WVU is tough up front. The Stills brothers, Dante and Darius, greet you at the point of attack and they don’t get moved much. WVU runs a 3-3-5 multiple defense that uses a lot of movement and versatile players around the line of scrimmage to create confusion. Watch for bandit #10 Dylan Tonkery and #50 Jared Bartlett — they both make plays, especially in the opponent’s backfield. Weakside linebacker #7 Josh Chandler-Semedo is a big hitter and he can get to the ball, but he left the Texas game with an injury and may not be available.

WVU quarterback Jarret Doege has been on a roll this season. Courtesy of TCU Athletics | Photo by Ellman Photography

WVU quarterback Jarret Doege has been on a roll this season. Courtesy of TCU Athletics | Photo by Ellman Photography

If you like physical football games and good quarterbacks, then be alongside tomorrow. TCU-West Virginia is always a fistfight. Tough defenses with a lot of speed bring big hits and it’s going to be a battle. Both WVU quarterback Jarret Doege and TCU’s Max Duggan are completing 65 percent of their passes and are hoping to get both facets of their machines working. WVU missed the run game last week at Texas. TCU was searching for its passing game as if it were car keys. I expect Max and company to show up with keychain in hand for this one. It’s being played where TCU has been most comfortable this year: on the road.

Every time I look at the weather forecast for Morgantown, it’s getting cooler. What started out as sunny and 65 forecast has turned into partly cloudy and 52 for Saturday at kickoff.

Did You Know?

  • The first three Big 12 games between TCU and WVU (2012-14) were decided on the game’s final play? Two of them were decided in OT.
  • The Frogs have not mustered more than 10 points in their last two trips to Morgantown? TCU lost 34-10 in 2017 and 47-10 in 2019.
  • Two teams that TCU defeated this year ran the ball on West Virginia. Texas Tech and Texas both ran for identical 179 marks on the ground in wins over WVU. It CAN be done.

We’re on the air at 10 a.m. on the Horned Frogs Sports Network. Join us LIVE from the hills of West Virginia on WBAP 820AM, XM380, RiffRam App or TuneIn. Put on some coffee, grab a cinnamon roll and I’ll talk to you in the morning at 10. Until then,

Kick ‘Em High!