Say what you want about the Mountaineers level of competition through three games of the season but you won't be able to get around the fact that West Virginia is rolling right now. They will come to Norman with a 3-0 record and boast an average winning margin of 43-8. I honestly could care less about the competition because I'm looking at their execution and I'm seeing a pretty flawless effort.
Junior quarterback Skyler Howard has completed 69% of his passes for 916 yards. He's thrown nine touchdowns to just one interception and appears to be the next prolific quarterback in Holgorsen's offense. Sophomore receiver Shelton Gibson is Howard's top target. He's caught 12 passes this season for 329 yards and 4 touchdowns. Freshman Jovon Durante also has 12 receptions and 2 scores on 199 receiving yards.
The Mountaineers are in the middle of the pack (6th) in the Big 12 when it comes to passing offense but that's because they've run the ball nearly fifty times more than they've passed. Wendell Smallwood is averaging 6.9 yards per carry with Rushel Shell averaging 4.3 per touch. Smallwood has cranked out 331 yards, and four touchdowns, in the first three games of the season with Shell producing 146 and two scores. the junior duo has the Mountaineers with the Big 12's fifth ranked rushing attack, which speaks to the balance of the West Virginia offense.
On the other side of the ball, the Mountaineers are leading the conference with just 7.7 points allowed per game. Senior safety Karl Joseph leads a WVU secondary that has performed the best in the conference through the first month of the season. Opposing quarterbacks are completing just 45% of their passes against the Mountaineers who have only allowed two passing touchdowns while recording a conference-leading nine interceptions. Joseph has four of those picks.
While the Mountaineers have only allowed one rushing touchdown this season the are allowing opposing running backs to average four yards per carry. Playing with a significant lead in every game has limited the number of rushing attempts from opponents but even at that WVU opponents are averaging 153 yards per game. This is clearly where Oklahoma's offense needs to start attacking the Mountaineer defense.
It's my belief that this will be the best West Virginia team that Oklahoma has faced since the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, and we all know how that turned out. I'm not saying that the Sooners should just stay in the locker room and chalk the game up as a loss, but I am saying that we need to be prepared for a dog fight. The Mountaineers will present numerous challenges to the Sooners and Oklahoma should be able to reciprocate. It's going to be a game of opportunity and adjustments and could easily be decided by a turnover or a special teams play. Buckle up, Oklahoma fans, because I think we're in for a wild ride.