BYU “whiffs” in 37-7 loss to West Virginia

One word: disaster.

BYU’s 37-7 letdown at West Virginia Saturday night wasn’t just a complete and utter embarrassment, but rather marked the lowest point of Kalani Sitake’s tenure in Provo.

“I felt like (West Virginia) could just do whatever they wanted, and we couldn’t create any momentum or get things going and we’ve got to do better,” Sitake said. “I think this shows you that this conference isn’t easy … We lost the game in all three phases.

“We’re not playing well with fundamentals, we’re not blocking right, we’re whiffing our blocks, we’re not tackling well, we’re not using the proper techniques and we’re playing missed-assignment football.”

Long story short: BYU is outmanned, outmatched and totally lost. The team’s first Big 12 campaign has broken it.

The Mountaineers played with an intensity the Cougars couldn’t match in the slightest. West Virginia churned for 336 rushing yards on seven yards per carry, held possession for more than 35 minutes and sacked quarterback Jake Retzlaff three times in his first career Division-I start.

While Retzlaff proved impressive in his debut effort, the stat sheet wouldn’t have anything to show for it. The junior college transfer appeared sufficiently confident, making a number of impressive throws and taking advantage of his mobility, but BYU failed to crack 300 total yards (again) and failed to give Retzlaff any sort of running game to lean on.

Looks like Kedon Slovis wasn’t the problem with this offense after all.

“Jake battled,” Sitake said of Retzlaff. “He played hard, he threw the ball with great velocity and accuracy. It was his first game starting. I thought he made a couple mistakes but the effort and energy were there. He never quit, I like what he did in the game but we just couldn’t piece momentum together … That’s not our football, that’s not us.”

BYU falls to 5-4 on the year with the loss, having dropped each of its last three road contests in increasingly ugly fashion. The Cougars head back to Provo to face Iowa State Nov. 11 for a chance to reach bowl eligibility, following which they’ll take on conference juggernauts Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. The season has reached all-out now or never territory.

“It’s going to be tough film to watch,” Sitake said. “We have to watch it and learn from it and do it with a positive attitude. There’s still a lot to play for. We have to go find a way to get that bowl-eligible win so we can take advantage of the extra game and spend more time together, extend the season and extend our opportunity to develop our guys still.”

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