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COLUMN: WVU defense makes statement vs. Towson, but still has much to prove

The only thing that kept Towson from having a goose egg on the scoreboard Saturday at Milan Puskar Stadium was a kickoff return for a touchdown the first time a Tiger touched the ball.

Otherwise, the Mountaineers completely flipped the scripted compared to last week’s horrendous performance against Kansas.

In the first half, WVU held Towson to just 56 total yards, including minus-3 on the ground. Overall, with many backups subbing into the game in the second half, the Tigers had 180 yards and didn’t find the end zone or the uprights once.

Compare that to last week vs. KU, where the Mountaineers defense gave up 49 points and 419 yards and only forced the Jayhawks to punt three times on 10 possessions.

“Good bounce back game, we really pushed them this week in practice,” head coach Neal Brown said. “We practiced physical on that side of the ball. We really stressed running to the football. We’re going to have to be a group that really leans on our front 6 and we’re going to be as good as they allow us to be.

“They need to play more up to that level.”

But his next line is likely more indicative of how most should feel.

“I’m not saying we’ve arrived by any means, but they played more up to the level that we’re expecting.”

Towson is not Kansas, and this Kansas team, at least offensively, is not what we’ve come to expect from the Jayhawks.

Games against FCS opponents are perfect for “get right” opportunities, which the Mountaineers were in desperate need of, coming in 0-2.

It can also be dangerous, because you might not be as good as what the final score or stats say with the talent discrepancy.

With a short turnaround going into Thursday’s showdown with Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, the Hokies will be the real test to see whether or not the Kansas game was a fluke or this defense is a major work in progress.

But for now, the Mountaineers are choosing to believe the former.

“What we did today was much needed for our team and for our defense,” defensive tackle Jordan Jefferson said.