Saturday, October 30, 2010
Chaos reigns: UConn upsets West Virginia
By Brian Bennett
I thought the Connecticut game would show us what West Virginia was made of.
It did. Unfortunately for the Mountaineers, what they're made of is not the stuff of Big East champions.
How else to explain a true head-scratcher of a 16-13 overtime loss at Connecticut? West Virginia outgained UConn 414 to 278, but lost four fumbles, including a crucial one on its lone overtime possession.
The Mountaineers raced out to a quick 10-0 lead, but that first quarter was the only time they'd score a touchdown. The defense, strong as always, allowed only 13 points in regulation, which should have been enough for an easy victory. But the offense once again struggled to find any kind of consistency or to hang onto the ball.
I've defended Bill Stewart and Jeff Mullen as much as anybody, but it's hard to see how that combo can remain intact after this latest fiasco. West Virginia has way too much talent to have lost in consecutive weeks to Syracuse and Connecticut. That's the bottom line, and it's a failure that has to rest at the feet of the coaches right now. The Mountaineers will do no better than 9-3 in the regular season when they made a 10-win season their goal, and a Big East title now looks much more difficult to attain.
Let's not forget to give some credit to Connecticut, which started 0-2 in Big East play and had a true rally-the-troops kind of moment. That the Huskies could come back from a 10-0 deficit and beat West Virginia for the first time ever, especially after how lethargic and listless they looked last week in a 26-0 loss at Louisville, is truly amazing. They are still a long ways from getting back into the Big East race, but this win helps a lot in their quest to get back to a bowl game.
I guess it's just that kind of year in the Big East. Every week is going to be unpredictable. West Virginia shouldn't be this unpredictable, but we found out that the Mountaineers just aren't at the level we thought they'd reach this year.