MORGANTOWN - This is probably as good a time as any to take a step back and analyze what we've seen from West Virginia's offense this season.
Really, for much of the season, it has been offensive, right?
And then on Saturday against Cincinnati, it was an offense.
Sure, you can make the argument that the Bearcats are abysmal on defense. And to a point, you would be right. A South Florida team that couldn't score an offensive touchdown in the two previous games against Syracuse and West Virginia hung 38 on Cincinnati.
In six games against teams from BCS AQ conferences the Bearcats have now given up 30, 31, 27, 28, 30 and 37 points.
But that was also a defense that was No. 15 in the country against the run and West Virginia ran for 245 yards. It was a defense that gave up an average of two touchdown passes per game and the Mountaineers threw for four. In the first 23 minutes.
Before that outburst, Bill Stewart and Jeff Mullen did their exhaustive two-week analysis of the offense and came up with squat, at least as far as most critics were concerned. They talked
about how they were doing all the right things, they just weren't doing them well enough. They were fumbling and throwing interceptions and committing penalties. They talked about making minor tweaks, but not many noticeable changes
And you groaned. And moaned. And called for their heads. Again.
And then West Virginia went out against Cincinnati and didn't fumble when it mattered, threw only one pick and committed just two penalties. And the offense scored five times.
They did it throwing the ball and running the ball. They did it with two one-play drives (quick), two nine-play drives (sustained) and once when the defense handed them the ball at point-blank range (opportunistic).
(Oh, and by the way, that was another of the grand revelations that came of that exhaustive self-analysis: The defense, as good as it has been, needed to start setting up the WVU offense like opposing defenses had set up theirs, with turnovers).
In other words, all the things that Stewart said were wrong with the team and Mullen said were wrong with the offense were corrected. And it paid off. It worked like it is supposed to work.
"Our kids know and they've seen on tape that we've been successful, that what we're doing works,'' Mullen said after the Cincinnati win. "We know what we're doing is right.''
But while all is rosy in the glow of that success, does that mean that the problems have been solved?
All things considered, it is just as easy to make the argument that what West Virginia did against Cincinnati was just as much an aberration as what that same offense did against Syracuse and Connecticut, scoring a total of 27 points and generating just three touchdowns in eight quarters.