You’ll remember how Jock Sanders said following the 20-6 win against South Florida — Aside: Isn’t USF supposed to fall apart this time of year? — that so long as WVU manages to score 21 points, WVU will win.
Well, the Mountaineers are 1-2 since then, but have scored 21 points once … and that was the win, a 37-10 demolition Saturday against Cincinnati. The losses? Syracuse 19-14 and UConn 16-13.
At a pretty late point of the season, WVU is the only FBS team that hasn’t allowed more than 21 points in a game. Sanders saw this coming.
Against Marshall, on the road Sept. 2, the Mountaineers gave up 21 points in a 24-21 overtime win. The next largest output against West Virginia was by LSU on Sept. 25 when the Tigers won, 20-14, in Baton Rouge.
Consider: LSU scored its two touchdowns on a big special teams play (a 60-yard punt return) and after being handed a short field (a 7-yard drive) after a West Virginia fumble. Other than that, West Virginia gave up two field goals to a LSU team that scored more against the likes of Florida (33), Alabama (24) and Mississippi State (29), than they did the Mountaineers.
Since then, the 19 points Syracuse scored Oct. 23 have been the most the Mountaineers’ stingy defense has given up.
After the Cincinnati win, he was reminded of what he had said a month ago about the defense.
“I told you,” Sanders said. “You thought I was lying when I said that. But I know our defense because I bonded with our team and I know all those seniors and all those guys who are on the defense. I also have to go against those guys every day.
“So, how can I not know that? I know those are a great bunch of guys over there; I know what they can do.”