MORGANTOWN, W. Va. — West Virginia’s home slate ended with a disappointing loss to No. 15 Kansas State.
While WVU head coach Neal Brown wasn’t happy with the result, he had a lot of good to say about his team after the defeat.
“I thought the guys fought and competed really, really hard,” Brown said. “I’m proud of the effort, no issues with that. I thought they battled all the way through.”
Here’s what the coach had to say in his postgame press conference:
On the offense…
Brown tabbed Garrett Greene as the team’s starting quarterback for the first time in his career on Saturday, and he had some ups and downs in the defeat. He finished 15-of-27 through the air with 204 yards and three touchdowns. Greene also made some plays with his feet, which has become his trademark since joining the program in 2020.
“I thought Garrett did some good things,” Brown said. “He ran around and made some good decisions, made some bad decisions. That’s gonna happen when you’re in your first career start. He’ll continue to get better.”
He also added a pair of decisive interceptions that Kansas State turned into points.
“I thought the two interceptions were costly,” Brown said. “They turned into 14 points – one of
them immediately, the other one [eventually].”
The most disappointing drive for West Virginia was its first of the second half. The Mountaineers faced plenty of adversity — some of it self-inflicted — but were able to fight through and drive down the field.
Still, they came out of that 16-play series empty-handed.
“Then we came out, take like nine minutes off the clock and don’t get any points. We had a few penalties there, and we overcame a penalty to get down inside (the 20-yard line) and don’t do it,” Brown said. “I thought we got held twice — on first down we had it around the 15, and then I thought we had another holding down there and just didn’t get those calls.”
He did praise freshman running back Jaylen Anderson, who led the team in rushing yards for the first time in his career. He was a big piece of a successful rushing attack for the Mountaineers.
I thought Jaylen Anderson was a real bright spot there,” Brown said. “We ran the ball as good as anybody has against them this year.”
On WVU’s areas of struggle…
West Virginia has had solid special teams units, but on Saturday, they left a lot to be desired.
“Our kickoff coverage team did not do a good job,” Brown said. “Their kickoff returns got them consistent starting field position.”
Kicker Casey Legg especially struggled against the Wildcats. The senior kicker missed two extra-point attempts, a first in his career, and missed the first field goal try of this season. Those PATs greatly hurt WVU as tit had the chance to tie early on then later had a difficult time keeping the deficit to one possession.
“We’ve been really consistent on that unit, but it was not very good today,” Brown said. “We left, I don’t know, maybe seven points out there today.”
WVU’s defense had a tough time at the beginning of the game, giving up points on seven of K-State’s eight drives in the first half.
“We had some opportunities,” Brown said. “They put the ball on the ground, and we couldn’t get to them. We didn’t play well enough in the first half.”
The Wildcats put up 41 points before halftime, 34 of which came on offense — a tally the WVU offense couldn’t overcome.
On the emotions of Senior Day…
19 WVU seniors (possibly) bid farewell to the program ahead of the game as part of the team’s Senior Day ceremony. While he was adamant that it was no excuse, Brown did admit for his players that it is difficult to manage those emotions ahead of a big game.
Still, he felt his team could have done a better job in the face of those emotions.
“I don’t know if we handled it great. That’s a tough day as a coach.”
Brown expanded on those feelings for players.
“People don’t think about it, but you’re playing a game that’s extremely emotionally-charged, extremely emotionally-charged, and you’ve got to be at your highest point emotionally. There’s no other time that you have your family on the field, and it’s just a retrospective moment.’