The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

November 18, 2012

Bummer Sooner

Austin’s record day wasted; WVU can’t hold lead in 50-49 loss

MORGANTOWN — Despite a spine-tingling, record-shattering performance by Tavon Austin out of the running back spot that included a school-record 344 rushing yards and a Big 12 record in all-purpose yards of 572; despite 13 catches for 205 yards and four touchdowns by wide receiver Stedman Bailey; despite 320 passing yards including those four TDs to Bailey from Geno Smith … despite it all, West Virginia wound up being West Virginia again.

That meant the Mountaineers continued their incredible, unbelievable slide from the No. 4 ranking in the country and dreams of a chance at winning the national championship by losing their fifth consecutive game, this one maybe the toughest to take of all of them, 50-49, to Oklahoma before a disappointing and disappointed crowd of 50,238 Saturday night at Milan Puskar Stadium.

The loss once again could be — no, had to be — pinned on the defense, although a missed extra point by placekicker Tyler Bitancurt played a large role in the loss.

It was a game the Mountaineers (5-5 overall, 2-5 Big 12) trailed 31-17 at the half but roared back to seemingly take control of, twice scoring in the fourth quarter to lead 43-38 and 49-44 with just 2:41 left to play, but they could not stop Oklahoma’s quarterback Landry Jones.

Jones led a pair of touchdown drives, twice hitting receiver Kenny Stills with scoring passes, to win the game.

He finished with 38-of-51 passing for 554 yards and six touchdowns, four to Stills.

The result? WVU finished the game with 778 total yards … and another loss.

“They made one more play than we did,” said a distraught Dana Holgorsen. “The kids played hard. How many losses like this do we have to go through? I don’t know. We’ve got two games left. Hopefully, we can get back out there and get to work and try to come up with a couple of wins. It’s a tough loss, but we have to regroup.”

Holgorsen made a coaching move that should have won the game when he finally realized that he had to have a running game and the only way he could get it was to use Austin, the all-time leading prep rusher in Maryland history, and put him at running back.

“We haven’t been able to run the ball, so we had to do something,” Holgorsen said. “He is a tremendous football player and was the best player on the field. In hindsight, we should have done it before this.”

Certainly, Oklahoma wasn’t ready for it.

“Obviously, we weren’t ready for it. It did really mess us up what we were doing and how we needed to play. It’s something we’ll have to dissect tomorrow and see what our answers could be to

make improvement – we need to,” coach Bob Stoops said.

But Landry had what it took.

“He made great throws at important times and the receivers – again, I’m so pleased about them,” Stoops said.

Of course, it’s nothing new with WVU, which gives up as many passing yards and touchdowns as McDonald’s sells French fries.

The Mountaineers are last in the nation in pass defense and prove it every week.

This week there was some good for the defense, stopping the run, but it gave up 50 points again, the fourth time this year while also giving up 49 and 45 in two other games.

“OU made one more play than we did,” said defensive coordinator Joe DeForest. “We were in position to win the game on defense. They made more plays than we did on the ball in the air. That’s the bottom line. We’ve got to get off the field on third down.”

It is true, but it is also a broken record.

The game came down to the fourth quarter, a spectacular final quarter that saw West Virginia score 19 points but give up 12, which was just enough to lose the game.

The shame was that quarterback Geno Smith, who had his struggles early, eventually found himself and threw three touchdown passes of 4, 8 and 40 yards to Bailey in that final period.

The last one, a Picasso of a pass and catch that covered 40 yards, put WVU up with 2:53 to go and needing only one stop.

Fat chance.

First the special teams melted down and allowed the Sooners to return the kickoff 46 yards to the OU 46. Jones then completed a pass to Stills for six, one to Justin Brown for 36, another to Brown for 10, and capped it with a 5-yard throw to Stills for the winning score with 24 seconds left.

WVU tried to recover by a Hail Mary pass from Smith to Ryan Nehlen as time ran out, but it was incomplete.

Email Bob Hertzel at bhertzel@hotmail.com or follow on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • HERTZEL COLUMN- WVU faithful again have a reason to root against Vick

    It would be one final indignation, that’s what it would be if Michael Vick were to beat out Geno Smith and win the starting quarterback job with the New York Jets.

    April 23, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Luck open to WVU fans’ suggestions

    West Virginia’s fans have spoken, perhaps not verbally but nonetheless have had their voices heard, over the past few years as attendance has fallen at the Mountaineers’ football and basketball games.

    April 22, 2014

  • Mountaineers ready for slate of rivalry games

    Looking to put together a late-season run to get into the NCAA championships, West Virginia faces a pair of midweek rivalry games in a crucial five-game week coming off winning two of three games at Oklahoma.

    April 22, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Summer, Alabama will be used to get WVU’s mind right

    The ink had barely dried on the final reports out of West Virginia’s spring practice when thoughts turned forward toward the lazy, hazy days of late summer, days that will bring us into football season with a game that can either change the entire image of WVU football or sour it even further.

    April 21, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Watson tees off a new century at The Greenbrier

    You knew this was going to be one of those unpredictable, memorable days when you drove into the Greenbrier Resort and headed to the Old White Golf Course and found the best parking place in the joint.
    As Bob Uecker would say, right there in the front rooooow.

    April 20, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Under pressure, NCAA decides to change rules

    At first glance, it appears that they do not go hand-in-hand, a pair of rules changes the NCAA’s Legislative Council approved this week, sending them off for what seems to be smooth sailing toward becoming rules.

    April 18, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU gymnast hopes to stick her final landing

    The reaction, one suspects, was the same as most people who see either a picture of West Virginia University gymnast Hope Sloanhoffer or meet her for the first time in person — a quick double take, maybe even stumbling over the first few words of an introduction.

    April 17, 2014

  • Bussie looks forward to WNBA

    On Tuesday, the weather turned cold, the wind blew and amongst the raindrops that fell a few snowflakes fluttered quietly to Earth.
    It was as if it was a celebration of Asya Bussie being drafted on Monday night by the Minnesota Lynx, champions of the WNBA, with the third selection of the second round, the 15th overall pick of the draft.

    April 16, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Jackie Robinson’s impact extends beyond baseball

    It is Jackie Robinson Day as I sit here writing this today, and I feel as though I am doing it in a world gone mad.
    Every player in Major League Baseball wore No. 42 on Tuesday in honor of Jackie Robinson, the man who took racism’s best shot and integrated the game that was known then as the National Pastime even though it was as white a Ku Klux Klan robe.

    April 16, 2014

  • Gyorko, Padres agree to extension

    Jedd Gyorko, who hasn’t hit much of anything with a .178 start on this season, hit the jackpot on Monday, signing a six-year contract extension with the San Diego Padres for $35 million with a one-year club option at $13 million.

    April 15, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads