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WVU coach Neal Brown looks dejected on the sidelines during the Mountaineers’ Guaranteed Rate Bowl loss to Minnesota.

Grading the Mountaineers in their 18-6 loss to Minnesota in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl:

Offense: D–From the very get-go, WVU wasn’t even in the game. At the end of the first quarter, WVU had rushed for zero yards on five carries, had only six yards of total offense, punted three times and allowed quarterback Jarret Doege to be sacked twice.

It never got much better.

The beleaguered Doege didn’t have a prayer, running for his life to the tune of five sacks. WVU rushed for just 66 yards on 27 carries for a paltry 2.4 yards per attempt. The Mountaineers’ leading rusher, Tony Mathis, managed 56 yards on 13 carries, and the time of possession was an overwhelming 38:29 to 21:31 in favor of Minnesota.

Defense: D–The Golden Gophers did a better job of stopping themselves than the Mountaineers’ defense did. That’s why Minnesota punted only once in the first half. If Minnesota hadn’t shot itself in the foot so many times, who knows what the score would have been?

Stopping Minnesota’s running attack wasn’t an option. WVU couldn’t even slow it down. Not one but two Golden Gopher running backs rushed for more than 100 yards. Ky Thomas had 144 rushing and a TD while averaging 6.9 yards per carry and Mar’Keise Irving had 129 yards and 6.8 yards per attempts.

Special teams: D

How does WVU get a delay-of-game penalty on the opening kickoff of the second half? Did somebody misplace the tee? The incredulity abounds. Besides that, another Mountaineer kickoff rolled out of bounds for a penalty, giving Minnesota nice field position at the 35-yard line.

Coaching: D–I haven’t seen a team this overmatched since WVU faced LIU, and that puts the onus squarely on the coaching staff. Will there be changes? Probably. Are they necessary? Obviously. A 6-7 record says it all. It’s simply unacceptable.

Overall: D–If WVU wants to be competitive in 2022, it has its work cut out for it. This performance showed just how much the Mountaineers must improve during spring drills and preseason camp.