West Virginia last in Big 12 in time of possession

Sure, West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen likes to run a fast-paced offense.

Everyone knows Holgorsen comes from the Mike Leach, Mike Gundy and Hal Mumme schools of football, prioritizing tempo above all else. But this year’s Mountaineers team might have too much tempo.

West Virginia is last in the Big 12 Conference in time of possession. The Mountaineers hold the ball for an average of 27:21 per game, which ranks 110th in the nation. For comparison, TCU leads the conference at an average 32:09 per game; Wisconsin is the country’s leader, at 35:28.

Since joining the conference in the 2012 season, the Mountaineers have never been among the Big 12’s leaders in time of possession. West Virginia has never finished better than fifth in that metric. Most of that is by design, as Holgorsen has used talented quarterbacks like Will Grier and Skylar Howard to put pressure on defenses with quick passes.

But this year’s West Virginia holds the ball for almost an entire minute less than their previous Big 12 low (28:19, in 2013). They’re down almost two minutes from last year, when they averaged a more even 29:07 per game. There’s quick touchdowns mixed in there, to be sure, but that also means some extra quick possessions that end in punts or turnovers.

That puts extra pressure on the defense, as the Mountaineers don’t have time to rest on the sideline when the offense moves so quickly. That shows up in run defense metrics. West Virginia is allowing 193.1 rush yards per game, the most they’ve allowed since joining the conference. That number is the second-worst in the Big 12.

There’s not an exact correlation between the two stats, run defense and time of possession. But the two are related at some level.

It might be heresy for Dana Holgorsen and the West Virginia offense. In order to better the Mountaineers’ run defense, however, the offense may need to ease up on the gas pedal — or extend some more drives.

The post West Virginia last in Big 12 in time of possession appeared first on Diehards.

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