The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

October 17, 2013

WVU hopes to turn tables on Texas Tech

MORGANTOWN — Turnabout is fair play, or so they say.

West Virginia University coach Dana Holgorsen hopes that’s the case when No. 15/16 Texas Tech comes into Milan Puskar Stadium at noon on Saturday.

Think back a year.

WVU was on top of the world … at least the college football world. The Mountaineers were unbeaten, ranked No. 4 or No. 5 in the nation, depending upon which poll you believed.

Geno Smith was clearing out a spot at home for his Heisman Trophy, such were his numbers.

The task at hand was a trip to Lubbock, Texas, to take on a Texas Tech team that didn’t seem to offer much of a threat.

But lost in it all was the fact that it was homecoming for the Red Raiders.

The journey there was long, the crowd insane, the game crazier yet, and when it ended, WVU was dealt such a blow that it would take more than a month for the Mountaineers to recover enough to win another game.

The final score in Lubbock was Texas Tech 49, WVU 14, Smith’s Heisman Trophy gone with the west Texas wind.

And that was when the crowd came swarming out upon the field, the final seconds ticking off the clock, and some of the West Virginia players thinking the final seconds might be ticking off their lives.

It was a most forgettable moment for the Mountaineers, yet one that Holgorsen has reminded them off all this week.

“Coach Holgorsen’s been showing us that video every day,” said senior nose guard Shaq Rowell. “That wasn’t a good feeling, and I’m not going to lie about that. It was their homecoming, and they beat us 49-14, man.”

Rowell thought about it for a moment, then added:

“Hopefully, we’ll be prepared for our homecoming.”

As stated, turnabout is fair play.

Not that if WVU beats Texas Tech anyone wants fans to be storming the field. The Mountaineer players lead that list, for they recall how scary it was last year.

“We almost had to fight some of their fans to get back. A cop said, ‘If you don’t feel safe, swing,’” Rowell reported, and he wasn’t kidding.

“I mean, we didn’t swing. But honestly, he said that … and he was a Texas cop.”

Rowell had no problem with a celebration.

“We had Geno and Tavon and they beat us, and they enjoyed their victory,” Rowell said. “But I was ready to defend myself, let’s put it that way.”

Considering the way the Mountaineers played defense that day, and for most of last year, it was probably just as well they didn’t have to defend themselves from the festive Red Raider fans.

WVU center Pat Eger remembers the moment well, too.

“It was almost like a smack in the face. The clock was winding down. We got off the field real quick. I went right to the locker room,” he said. “I’m playing this year with a little chip on my shoulder because of it. I’m excited for the challenge.”

Obviously, it is a big challenge for this is a better Texas Tech team than the one that stunned the Mountaineers last year, and WVU is not as talented as the group that went down there and was beaten.

Still, there is home-field magic working for WVU.

Who, for example, could have imagined WVU coming back from an embarrassing 37-0 loss to Maryland on a neutral field to beat No. 11 Oklahoma State, which was the preseason favorite to win the Big 12?

And now WVU must shake off the embarrassment that comes with giving up 73 points to Baylor in a road game, but this win-one, lose-one West Virginia team has shaken off every defeat it has suffered this year.

NOTES: Bridgeport’s Wes Tonkery, now a WVU linebacker, is out for about six weeks with a broken thumb. … Sophomore defensive lineman Christian Brown suffered a weight room injury and is out for the remainder of the season. Even though he has appeared in four games, he still can use this as a redshirt season. … Sophomore cornerback Ricky Rumph left the Baylor game with an injury and probably will miss Texas Tech. … Wide receiver Ivan McCartney has been out with a concussion for three weeks and is uncertain for the Red Raiders.

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • HERTZEL COLUMN: O’Toole joins long list of eccentric WVU kickers, punters

    The star of the Big 12’s annual football media day wasn’t a star at all.
    He intrigued the media far more than Bob Stoops, the coach of preseason favorite Oklahoma, and more than Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty, the preseason player of the year.

    July 25, 2014

  • WVU, N.C. State to meet in football

    Following a trend of creating non-conference games against regional opponents, West Virginia University has reached agreement with North Carolina State to play a home-and-home football series in 2018 and 2019.
    The Mountaineers are scheduled to play N.C. State in Raleigh on Sept. 15, 2018, and then play host to the Wolfpack on Sept. 14, 2019.

    July 24, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Cheating pays’ remark should draw attention

    When Bob Bowlsby, the outspoken commissioner of the Big 12, presented his opening-day picture of the future of college sports in Dallas for the annual media day gathering, his bleak comments were not unexpected.

    July 24, 2014

  • Holgorsen’s program hits turning point

    You can almost sense, as you watch West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen sit before the gathered Big 12 media contingent answering questions in the Omni Hotel in Arlington, Texas, that he senses his program has reached a turning point.

    July 23, 2014

  • Big 12 Media Days Foo_time(1).jpg Trickett’s play key factor for Mountaineers’ success

     In the end, it comes down to the quarterback.
    Always has with Dana Holgorsen, always will.
    Quarterback is the offense with the West Virginia University coach. When he does well, the team wins – almost always.
    When he does poorly, the team doesn’t stand much of a chance.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Saban, family happy at Alabama

    Alabama football coach Nick Saban, whose team opens the season against West Virginia in Atlanta on Aug. 30, denied receiving or turning down this offseason an offer of $100 million to coach Texas, indicating he planned to finish his career as coach of the Crimson Tide.

    July 18, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Quarterback child prodigy’ comes to WVU amidst very high expectations

    Has West Virginia football coach Dana Holgorsen finally put the arrow he needs in his quiver with the commitment received Wednesday from high school quarterback David Sills, who is a rather extraordinary story and may also just be a rather extraordinary quarterback?

    July 18, 2014

  • WVU kicker Molinari ‘All-American boy’

    West Virginia kicker Mike Molinari may not be an All-American but he is an All-American boy.
    He was honored for that on Wednesday when the Allstate Insurance Company and the American Football Coaches Association announced the West Virginia redshirt senior kicker/punter Michael Molinari is a nominee for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.

    July 16, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Smallwood puts future in jeopardy

    The last thing West Virginia’s struggling football program needed as twilight was setting on Bastille Day in Morgantown was to have one of its own whisked off to the North Central Regional Jail on a fugitive warrant from another state, especially a player who had figured to play a key role in the resurrection of a program gone bad.

    July 16, 2014

  • WVU player arrested in Delaware case

    West Virginia University running back Wendell Smallwood has been arrested by university police and is being held at North Central Regional Jail awaiting extradition on a felony warrant out of Delaware.

    July 15, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads