The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

October 27, 2013

Mountaineers fall victim to Wildcats, 35-12

MORGANTOWN — A must-win game Saturday turned into just another loss for West Virginia University, whose season now is teetering upon total collapse.

The struggling Mountaineers went into the rolling farm lands of central Kansas riding a two-game losing streak and looking at the very real possibility that they may spend the bowl season at home wondering what had happened to their once-proud football program.

They came out with that two-game losing streak having grown to three games, thanks a rather dreadful performance in a 35-12 loss to Kansas State (3-4, 1-3), facing the situation where to salvage a .500 season and reach a bowl game they must win three of their final four regular-season games.

This was a performance that mirrored their previous loss to Texas Tech, leading at halftime only to have the second half turn into a one-way street to nowhere. Held to just a 50-yard field goal in the third quarter and overwhelmed in a 21-0 fourth quarter, every wart the Mountaineers have was visible.

“We executed in the first half. We didn’t execute in the second half. Why? I don’t know,” a befuddled coach Dana Holgorsen said.

You can see it in his face, hear it in his voice, sense it just by his presence. It is getting to him.

“It keeps me up at night,” he admitted. “We’re not playing winning offensive football.”

It isn’t one thing.

It is everything.

And it just keeps happening.

“We aren’t doing a very good job offensively. We’re not scoring. We’re not finishing drives. We’re not finishing blocks, We’re not making people miss in the open field. We’re not catching the ball when we’re open,” he said.

“Are we improving? Does it look better at times? Yes,” he continued. “Is it good enough to win a Big 12 football game? Absolutely not.”

The first half, at least, saw West Virginia play defense, enough so that they could go into the locker room leading, 9-7, that despite a blocked extra point and failed fake field goal that Holgorsen said came through miscommunication with holder Mike Molinari.

The second half, though, was a replay of the Texas Tech meltdown of a week earlier, where the Mountaineers had no offense and had no defensive answers for a pair of quarterbacks in Daniel Sams and Jake Waters who seemingly had personality transplants going into the game.

Sams was known as the running quarterback in coach Bill Snyder’s two-QB system. Instead he completed 8 of 8 passes for 93 yards and a touchdown while gaining only 16 yards on 14 carries while Waters rushed for 55 yards on 10 carries while completing 10 of 13 passes for 198 yards and 3 TDs.

As it was a year ago, Tyler Lockett tormented the WVU secondary with eight receptions for 111 yards and 3 TDs after last year catching nine for 194 yards and two touchdowns.

With Curry Sexton catching 112 yards in passes and Tremaine Thompson adding a fourth TD reception, K-State put matters to rest rather easily once they figured out that they could beat the WVU secondary deep.

But it was the West Virginia offense, which is supposed to be Holgorsen’s specialty, that continues to run like a three-legged horse in the Kentucky Derby.

“The middle of the field was left open and we never took advantage of it,” said Shannon Dawson, WVU’s offensive coordinator.

Indeed, if Clint Trickett wasn’t overthrowing or underthrowing, receivers were dropping passes, save for little Jordan Thompson, who made a pair of courageous first-down catches in the middle of the field knowing he would take punishing hits.

“We had what we wanted,” Dawson said. “We just couldn’t take advantage of it. We have to make the routine plays. It’s as simple as that.”

Trickett played about as well as he can. He is not Geno Smith, doesn’t pretend to be, and gets by on courage and desire, but he needs some help and he’s not getting it.

He wound up completing 15 of 28 passes for 227 yards but easily could have hit 20 or more completions if he hadn’t made some errant throws and receivers hadn’t dropped catchable balls.

As it was, he was relieved by Paul Millard, which is sure to inspire another quarterback controversy, but Millard was just 4-for-13, throwing under tremendous pressure.

“We were just looking for a spark,” Dawson said.

By then it was too late for anything to help.

NOTES: Senior linebacker Doug Rigg missed the game with his second concussion of the season. … Senior center Pat Eger suffered an ankle injury in the second quarter and did not return. … Cornerback Daryl Worley didn’t dress for the game with an injury. … Freshman nose guard Darrien Howard saw his first action of the year, resting Shaq Rowell. … WVU is now 0-4 on the road this season. … Punter Nick O’Toole punted as if there was something wrong with him, averaging just 32 yards a punt after averaging 44.6 yards through the first seven games. … Prior to the opening kickoff the students at K-State run a skit where one of them dresses as a visitor but this skit backfired as he banged his head accidentally on the turf and was removed by ambulance. … Holgorsen decided to get Sims into the kick return game but it didn’t make much of a difference.

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel

1
Text Only
WVU Sports
  • FURFARI COLUMN: Bobby Bowden won the bad-and-good battle with rival Lou Holtz

    The recent announcement that West Virginia University is resuming a football relationship with North Carolina State triggered a most memorable bad-news, good-news battle.

    July 31, 2014

  • WVU men’s basketball non-conference schedule announced

    West Virginia University Director of Athletics Oliver Luck has announced the 2014-15 men’s basketball non-conference schedule.

    July 31, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Must WVU defense carry offense in ’14?

    The other day the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a story under the following headline:
    “In a year of change, must the Steelers’ offense carry the defense this year?”
    Reading that turned on a light.

    July 31, 2014

  • WVU takes first step today

    Perhaps the most used — and least factual — cliché in sports is as follows:
    “There’s no tomorrow.”
    Around these parts, however, tomorrow is what they are clinging to, while putting a new twist on the cliché, turning it to, “There’s no yesterday.”

    July 31, 2014

  • WVU takes first step Thursday

    Perhaps the most used – and least factual – cliché in sports is as follows:
    “There’s no tomorrow.”
     

    July 30, 2014

  • Must WVU defense carry offense in ’14?

    The other day the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a story under the following headline:
     

    July 30, 2014

  • smallwood-wendell(1)-2.jpg Charges against Smallwood dropped

     West Virginia University running back Wendell Smallwood took to Twitter mid-afternoon Tuesday to express his feelings after charges of witness intimidation against him were dropped by the state of Delaware.
    It took him only three words to say what was on his mind: “God is Good.” Smallwood is now free to return to West Virginia and rejoin his Mountaineer teammates when they open camp for the 2014 season Thursday.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Charges against Smallwood dropped

    West Virginia University running back Wendell Smallwood took to Twitter mid-afternoon Tuesday to express his feelings after charges of witness intimidation against him were dropped by the state of Delaware.

    July 29, 2014

  • Were Bowlsby’s fears about college athletics’ future justified?

    I have never met or even talked to Bob Bowlsby, commissioner of the Big 12 Conference.
    But I did read a lengthy story on his 45-minute address to reporters last week on Media Day in Dallas, Texas. Among other things, Bowlsby forecast a startling change threatening the existence of intercollegiate athletics as we have known for these many, many years.

    July 28, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Big 12 provides plenty of optimism

    This past week the Big 12 held its annual media gathering in Dallas and served up a heaping portion of optimism for the 2014 season that is now upon us, West Virginia University opening its preseason practices on Thursday.
    This is a time of year when no one has lost a game, not even Charlie Weis at Kansas, and it’s a time of year when opinions are more plentiful than tattoos in an NFL locker room.

    July 27, 2014

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