FAIRMONT — Maybe we are wrong. We have been in the past.
But if one would look back 30 or 40 years following a Mountaineer football victory such as the one posted Saturday against Kansas, he might find that the columnists were mostly glad that West Virginia had won its homecoming game and point out the positive aspects of a 33-14 victory.
But that doesn’t seem to be occurring that much any more.
These days, the columnists, and we may be included on that list at times, are quick to point out all the negative things about the victory. For now, let’s talk about the game with Kansas.
There was a comment on radio yesterday that this Kansas team might be the worst Division I team that the Mountaineers had faced in years, or since the days of the Big East, or maybe it was the Atlantic 10.
And there were comments about West Virginia having to go for five field goals when they couldn’t finish out drives for touchdowns.
Josh Lambert booted four field goals for WVU, but the point margin would have been much greater for West Virginia if those threes had been sevens.
WVU’s special teams really took a whipping. There’s one Mountaineer player who can’t seem to field a punt. And how did WVU’s special teams allow a Kansas punt returner to scamper 76 yards for his team’s second touchdown?
Go back a few years and this victory would have been impressive if only for the fact that:
— Quarterback Clint Trickett, who had his sixth consecutive 300-yard passing game. He wasn’t as good as he had been in previous games, but he completed 20-of-35 passes for 302 yards.
— Mario Alford, showing some Tavon Austin-speed, came through with the biggest play of the game — a 94-yard kickoff return in the third quarter.
— Standout wide receiver Kevin White had his fifth consecutive 100-plus yards game. He had six receptions for 132 yards and one touchdown.
— WVU defender Nick Kwiatkoski led the Mountaineer defense with seven tackles.
— The Mountaineers forced Kansas punter Trevor Pardula to punt 14 times— tieing a Big 12 record and a school record.
— Running back Rushel Shell topped the 100-mark for the first time — rushing for 113 yards.
This was not a game to record for posterity. But it was a victory and some positive things helped to give the Mountaineers their third win in five starts.
Don’t forget. Kansas won last year’s meeting between the same two teams.
Pirates owner Bob Nutting says he’s willing to dig deep into his pockets to retain catcher Russell Martin for 2015, who was one major reason Pittsburgh’s pitching staff held together despite a series of injuries this year.
The question is: Are Nutting’s pockets as deep as Pirates fans would like them to be?
The Pirates obtained Martin from the Yankees as a free agent two years ago. And this deal turned out better than anyone had a right to expect.
One thing fans sometimes overlook is Martin’s defense. He was one of the top catchers in major league baseball in nailing down prospective base-stealers.
And his .282 batting average with 67 RBIs was one of the best in the majors among catchers.
Martin emerged as one of the Bucs’ most popular players this season. His timely hitting didn’t hurt his case at all, either. His strong hitting and excellent defensive skills will make him a prime target for many teams during the coming offseason
The Pirates will be a much better team if Nutting’s pockets run deep enough.
NOTES: The Pirates, incidentally, designated outfielder Jose Tabata for reassignment following the season. Tabata was highly thought of a couple of seasons ago, but he turned out to be mostly a singles hitter with home runs a rarity. He batted .282 in 2014.
Fairmont native David Carpenter finished with a 6-4 record and a 3.58 earned-run average. Morgantown native Jedd Gyorko posted a final .210 average, which means he batted fairly well after being on the DL for weeks. He went out hitting around .150.
Email John Veasey at email@example.com.