It’s time to finally admit that this offense can’t be depended on to perform consistently for an entire game.
If you look at just the numbers, it appears that the Cowboys had a fairly average day for a West Virginia opponent:
- 362 yards of offense. The Mountaineers allowed an average of 337.3 coming in to the game.
- 134 rushing yards. WVU was allowing 141.8.
- 228 passing yards. WVU was allowing 195.5.
When watching the game however, it seemed as if they couldn’t move the ball at all. Three-and-outs were expected. Play-calling was excruciatingly predictable.
Inaccurate passes. Dropped passes. Dumb passes.
Runs up the freaking middle.
By the time the second half rolled around, I imagine many fans could do nothing but laugh out of frustration with each running play. It was like watching a high school team trying to run on an NFL team. It was downright awful. and they just kept trying. And kept trying.
Oh, and that 134 yard total? 40 of that came on a run by Mason Rudolph. Yes, Mason Rudolph had the team’s longest running play of the game.
Let that sink in for a minute. Even Mountaineers quarterback Skyler Howard had a longer run than any of the Cowboys’ backs. Jhajuan Seales, a receiver, had one carry for 13 yards. Rennie Childs had the only successful run from a running back, going for 13 yards himself in the second half. It was one of the most exhilarating moments of the game. Pure elation. Meanwhile, Chris Carson averaged 1.5 yards per carry, and looked terrible on every single carry.
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Some people were attributing it to him not being fully healthy. To me, he looked the same as he has in every game: slow to hit the gaps, poor decision making, zero explosion, easily wrapped up.
I’ll save my ideas for fixing or trying to fix the running game for another time later this week perhaps. But I will say that it was by far the worst performance of the season. They didn’t even try to mix it up like they did against Kansas State. It was beyond frustrating. There’s nothing more to say aside from what’s been said every week.
The passing game honestly wasn’t much better. Part of that had to do with Rudolph having a rough day, but a bigger part of that had to do with the Mountaineers’ defense. Even without Karl Joseph roaming downfield, West Virginia smothered Cowboy receivers in coverage, and made them work for every single catch, resulting in three interceptions, two of which were due to awful decisions from Rudolph.
As usual, J.W. Walsh did his thing, which is about the only thing we can depend on at this point. He now has eight touchdowns on the year, on 34 touches. 23% of the time Walsh has the ball, he scores. Not bad.
Anyway, all this nonsense amounted to the Cowboys having just three drives over 30 yards.
17 drives, eight punts, three interceptions, one safety.
Most of the points came on short fields as a result of turnovers, or overtime.
But hey, they won, just like every other game this season. And how about that touchdown possession in overtime?
THEY DIDN’T PASS ONCE.
Rennie Childs comes out and runs for seven yards, then seven more yards, then two yards. Then Walsh runs for six yards. And then Rudolph runs a draw play on third down? It almost worked too, as he fell a yard short. Finally, Walsh runs in from two yards.
Six rushes, zero passes, one touchdown. Ballgame.
You can bet your buns that Dana Holgorsen was not expecting that. It is because of this and the fact that they won that an upstanding ‘C+’ is in order.