The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

October 25, 2011

WVU, Rutgers looking for answers

MORGANTOWN — If you listen to Rutgers Coach Greg Schiano, when West Virginia travels to face the Scarlet Knights at 3:30 p.m. Saturday it will be for the Big East championship — sort of.

“We don’t have a championship game at the end of the year. You are playing a championship game every week,” Schiano said, not only on the Big East conference call but also on his own press conference call with the Rutgers media.

In some ways he has a point.

“Some years 5-2 wins league. Who knows what it will be this year?” he said.

Right now only Cincinnati’s record is unblemished, WVU having fallen hard at Syracuse, 49-23, in a game in which they were pushed around badly.

That one loss does, in a way, mean that every game from here on out is a championship game because two losses probably won’t get it this year. Rutgers, for example, has one loss like WVU and would have a tiebreaker with the Mountaineers in its pocket if it were to beat WVU.

It seems somewhat absurd at this point in the season for a game to carry so much meaning, especially a game between WVU and Rutgers, for the Mountaineers have dominated Rutgers over the years. WVU has won 32, lost four and tied two against Rutgers all-time and is 18-2 against the Scarlet Knights in the Big East.

It doesn’t seem to matter who is coaching whom, it doesn’t change and Schiano doesn’t really have an answer for that.

“I don’t know. I mean, they’ve been one of the best teams in the league throughout that time, at least in the new Big East, so — but I don’t know why,” he said when asked about it.

Mostly it has to do with talent. WVU has, over the years, been better than Rutgers, but even when WVU was at its worst, in 2001, Rich Rodriguez’s first season in which he went 3-8, the Mountaineers beat Schiano and Rutgers, 80-7.

It’s like it almost is a West Virginia birthright, this beating Rutgers, but now things are really confused.

First you have the conference situation, where Rutgers has been passed over by the ACC to this point, WVU looks to be headed for the Big 12, and no one knows what is ahead in the future.

Then there is the fact that WVU was looked upon as the class of the Big East, certainly figured to win at Syracuse, which made this game into something it wasn’t supposed to be.

Complicating matters more, Rutgers looked like it might be a pretty good team and it went to Louisville last week and lost 16-14, a terribly disappointing setback.

“It was a very disappointing result in Louisville,” Schiano said. “They played good; we didn’t play very well. We had an opportunity at the end of the game and were unable to move the ball down the field and kick a field goal.

“We have to bounce back and there’s no time to lick our wounds because we have got a good West Virginia team coming to town, I imagine a very angry West Virginia team.”

Angry would be a nice reaction from a team that didn’t seem to have much emotion while Syracuse was beating the blue pants off them.

And now the situation isn’t much different.

“Same type situation,” Coach Dana Holgorsen noted during the Big East call. “We have to go on the road against a well-coached team with a good atmosphere. It will be a challenge. We need to find a way to do a little better job this week.”

What’s interesting is that both Rutgers and West Virginia lost on the road when the home team found a way to take away its strength. Rutgers was known for its pass rush and never got to the quarterback, while WVU was known for its passing game but a severe Syracuse pass rush destroyed the hopes of that bringing about a victory.

What it does do, though, is make you wonder if Rutgers might not find its pass rush again against a WVU team that didn’t protect Geno Smith very much.

“Syracuse blitzed 75 percent of the time, more than I’ve ever been part of,” Holgorsen said. “We didn’t handle it for a variety of reasons. Geno wasn’t seeing some things, the receivers didn’t sight adjust. When they were bringing five guys our guys didn’t hold up in pass protection.

“Rutgers will pressure us and we have to handle it better. After a week of practice we will probably be able to handle it a little better.”

If WVU can correct what was wrong and handle the road setting, they won’t win the Big East championship on this Saturday, but they will at least be able to play another championship game the following week ... and another ... and maybe another.

That’s how it is in the Big East.

Email Bob Hertzel at bhertzel@hotmail.com. Follow on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
WVU Sports
  • 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

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Spring game showed defense has improved

    From Dana Holgorsen’s viewpoint, which was standing right behind the offense, West Virginia’s Gold-Blue Spring Game on Saturday was a rousing success for it showed very little of what the Mountaineers will be in this coming season, probably not even showcasing the man who will direct the offense in the quarterback position.

    April 15, 2014

  • WVU signs guard; Adrian arrested for DUI

    There was something good and something bad for West Virginia men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins this past weekend as Kansas junior college player Tarik Phillip committed to play for the Mountaineers but rising sophomore Nathan Adrian was charged with Under 21 DUI after he was stopped at 1:20 a.m. Sunday for an expired registration sticker.

    April 15, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN- Most plays good, some not so good in Gold-Blue scrimmage

    There appeared to be a fine mixture of plays, most good with some not so good, in last Saturday’s West Virginia University’s Gold-Blue football scrimmage.

    April 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Garrison still proving he can carry the ball

    The running back raves from the West Virginia coaching this spring have been directly mostly toward Wendell Smallwood, and rest assured he earned every one of them with his versatility, but it was a reborn running back who well may have taken the biggest jump up the depth chart.

    April 14, 2014

  • WVU baseball drops seventh straight game

    One’s athletic skills are tested on a daily basis but every so often other aspects of an athlete’s makeup are tested, often far more important aspects in the game of life.

    April 14, 2014

  • Gold-Blue Game answers few questions at quarterback

    Dana Holgorsen finds himself in a quarterback quandary.
    He’s looking to have one quarterback and has five of them as spring practice ends, and nothing about the spring session has done anything to straighten out the situation.

    April 13, 2014

  • Moore ‘back at home’ under center

    There are a couple of ways to look at what Logan Moore did this spring after being moved back to quarterback and given a chance to compete for what is a wide open job, as wide open at the end of the spring as it was coming in.
    The first is to say that he didn’t wow Dana Holgorsen to the point that he’s willing to say he’s the leader going into summer drills, but that would be shortsighted considering from where Moore came.

    April 13, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU punter turns heads at linebacker

    They call him “Huey the Punter.”
    His real name is Houstin Syvertson. His real position is not punter. Not anymore, anyway.
    To be honest, until Saturday’s spring game, not many people following West Virginia football knew the name or the nickname. They know it now.

    April 13, 2014

  • Fans looking for answers in WVU Gold-Blue Game

    Perhaps the most important spring practice in Dana Holgorsen’s tenure as West Virginia football coach comes to a conclusion at 1 p.m. today when the annual Gold-Blue Spring Football Game is held at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium.
    The gates open at noon and tickets are $10 with net proceeds benefiting WVU Children’s Hospital.

    April 12, 2014

Featured Ads
WVU Sports Highlights
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos