WVU junior quarterback Jarret Doege is quietly putting together a fine season, and it seems suitable for a soft-spoken player like Doege.
Doege is in a stretch that would rival even the brightest of hopes from Mountaineer fans, whether they realize it or not.
No, the WVU signal-caller isn’t eclipsing 400 or 500 yards on a weekly basis. And no, he’s not filling up the stat sheet with a bunch of touchdown passes either.
But he’s also not putting any interceptions or turnovers on his ledger, and that lack of mistakes has been just as important to the Mountaineers’ success as any number of yards or touchdown tosses.
“He’s playing at a high level, but there’s some luck,” WVU coach Neal Brown said via Zoom call on Tuesday. No players or assistants were made available to the media as this week is a bye week for the Mountaineers.
Brown pointed to a drop by TCU defensive back Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson during Saturday’s 24-6 win for the Mountaineers as one that likely should have been picked.
There’s certainly some truth to that, but the facts are this: Doege has gone 173 straight pass attempts without throwing an interception, dating back to the third quarter against Kansas. That’s a span of three complete games and the fourth quarter against the Jayhawks.
Doege has thrown more passes than any quarterback in the Big 12 Conference with 308. Among quarterbacks who have attempted at least 100 passes, Doege is tied for the fewest interceptions thrown with three, along with TCU’s Max Duggan. To put that into more perspective, Doege has thrown 118 more passes and eight more touchdowns (13-5) than Duggan.
While Brown pointed out a bit of good fortune going Doege’s way lately, he also pointed out the strides his quarterback has made in terms of his decisions.
“I think his decision making has been really good, I really do,” Brown said. “I think he’s done a nice job with his eyes, because your eyes will get you in trouble. If you don’t have your eyes on safeties, if you don’t have your eyes on windows, that’s when your interception numbers go up.”
But the choices on which Doege has improved aren’t limited to just where he’s been going with the football, but when he goes there. Brown also praised Doege’s situational understanding in helping his team protect the ball and, as a byproduct, stay in and win games.
“Really, outside of one play on Saturday when he should’ve taken a sack and he got called for grounding … I think his when-to-scramble, when-to-take-a-sack, when-to-throw-the-ball-away — I think those decisions have been much better since probably the overtimes [in a double-overtime win against] Baylor,” Brown said.
No one is likely to confuse Doege with a Heisman Trophy candidate this season. He’s ranked 17th nationally in passing yards per game (277.4), his 13 passing touchdowns rank in a tie for 22nd and his passer rating of 138.41 is just 53rd best.
But his steadiness and dependability lend themselves directly to what has become Brown’s blueprint for winning football games lately. The Mountaineers get a lead, take care of the ball and control the game in the second half with their running game and lack of mistakes. As evidence, WVU has run 624 offensive plays this season, tops among all Power Five teams and fourth in the country.
Engineering that, in addition to Brown, is Doege, a quarterback out of Lubbock, Texas whose only scholarship offer came from Bowling Green, where he played for two seasons before transferring to WVU. Having coached Doege’s older brother Seth at Texas Tech, Brown was aware of Jarret Doege and the stars eventually aligned, bringing him to Morgantown.
On Tuesday, Brown was asked about Jarret Doege as a prospect coming out of high school and how he slipped through the cracks.
“In all fairness, I haven’t watched his high school film in a long time,” Brown said. “Listen, there’s misses in recruiting all the time. Recruiting is not an exact science. A lot of times you’re trying to project, and sometimes quarterbacks get overanalyzed — rather than finding the good qualities, you’re trying to find a reason not to take them, and I think that happens.
“But was he underrecruited? Yeah, without a doubt. I think he’s proving some of his doubters wrong right now.”