MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – When his team plays like it did Saturday night, WVU head coach Neal Brown has plenty to say.
Here are the biggest takeaways from Brown’s postgame thoughts following the 37-7 win over BYU:
All three phases
Brown has been clamoring for a performance in which all three phases (offense, defense, special teams) operate in-sync, and it finally happened Saturday night.
“It felt like the last two weeks, [we have] played what we call ‘good football,'” he said. “Today was probably our most complete game where we played good in all three phases.”
WVU outgained BYU 567-277. The Cougars surrendered 28 more penalty yards than the Mountaineers. BYU recorded an average starting point of the 28-yard line, while WVU scored on two of its drives that began near midfield.
“Any time you hold the other team to 67 yards rushing, that’s a pretty good day,” Brown said. “You’re going to have a pretty good chance to win that game.”
The Mountaineers won on the scoreboard, and they controlled nearly every corner of the stat sheet too.
Dominance from defensive backs
The WVU secondary was in no-fly-zone mode Saturday night, and first-time BYU starter Jake Retzlaff completed just 57% of his passes. While they didn’t record any interceptions, the WVU defensive backs created problems and delivered big hits against BYU.
Cornerback Beanie Bishop Jr. entered the BYU game leading the nation in pass breakups (12), and second in the country in interceptions (four). He added five more PBUs Saturday night.
Brown also noted postgame that the WVU safeties (Aubrey Burks, Anthony Wilson) each played their best game of the year. Wilson dislodged the ball from a Cougar receiver’s hands on a nearly-converted fourth down play in the second half, and Burks added three tackles and a pass breakup on the night.
“Without question, that’s the best our safeties have played in a long time,” he said.
The WVU offense rushed for 336 yards on seven yards per carry for its most impressive rushing performance of the season. Freshman running back Jahiem White led all rushers with 146 yards on 16 carries, and his sophomore counterpart CJ Donaldson added 102 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
“[White] has a chance to be special,” Brown said. “Where he’s at, [and] right now, where he can be, there’s a gap, and so, if he continues to do things that it takes to be great, than he is going to be a great one.”
It was the first time since 2017 that two WVU backs each ran for over 100 yards against a Big 12 opponent.