MORGANTOWN - Dana Holgorsen's offense ranks second in the country in total offense and third in passing and over the last three games and seems to be warming up, averaging 533 yards of total offense, 385 yards passing and 32 points over that span.
There's just one problem, though. That's Holgorsen's offense at Oklahoma State, not the one at West Virginia.
At WVU, Holgorsen's offense is pretty much stuck in neutral. It is averaging 223 fewer total yards, 154 fewer passing yards and 10 fewer points. If the Mountaineers have any hope of snapping a three-game losing streak this weekend, those numbers no doubt have to change.
That's because on Saturday West Virginia (5-3, 2-3 Big 12) goes to Stillwater to face Oklahoma State (5-3, 3-2) in a 3:30 p.m. game at Boone Pickens Stadium. There Holgorsen will be facing the offense he successfully turned from mundane to nearly unstoppable two years ago in his one and only season as the Cowboys' offensive coordinator.
Two years later, OSU is still rolling offensively despite having used three different quarterbacks this season. The offense West Virginia will attempt to slow down is essentially the same that Holgorsen transformed.
"They haven't changed it much at all,'' Holgorsen said Monday of the Cowboys. "They do a fantastic job of coaching technique and coaching effort, and that goes back to a lot of the stuff I've said from a scheme standpoint.''
Translation: Over the course of the last three weeks, while West Virginia's offense has taken a nosedive in terms of production, Holgorsen has maintained that there's nothing wrong with the scheme. And in OSU he has proof. If Oklahoma State can be productive running the same scheme, WVU's problems rest elsewhere.
Then again, it's not just WVU and OSU that embrace the same offensive schemes. While others might vary in the way they execute and attack, the philosophy of spreading the field, taking advantage of mismatches and playing at a fast tempo is widespread in the Big 12.
"They're as close as it gets to us offensively,'' Holgorsen said. "But there are a lot of similarities in what TCU did, in what Iowa State does, what Texas Tech does, what Oklahoma does. There's a lot of carryover in the Big 12 from an offensive standpoint.''
Why, then, if all of these Big 12 teams are having unquestioned success with the offense, is West Virginia not right now? After averaging 570 yards of total offense, 406 passing and 52 points through a 5-0 start, the Mountaineers are averaging just 330 total yards, 231 passing and 22 points (17.3 by the offense) during an 0-3 slide.