Great time for WVU; addressing UT game, refs

The New Views from here:

  • This past weekend, it was horns down to Texas.

Yet everything seems to be looking up in regard to WVU on this Monday. The Mountaineer football team won a dramatic game in Austin to move to No. 7 in the Associated Press poll and No. 8 in the USA Today coaches’ poll.

And look around the rest of the athletic department. West Virginia’s women’s soccer team is No. 14 and just won the Big 12 tournament. The men’s soccer team won the MAC and is No. 16. The men’s basketball team (which, admittedly, lost a stinker to Penn State on Saturday) is No. 13 in both polls. The women’s hoops team is No. 25.

Oh yeah, and that rifle team? Once again, it is No. 1 nationally.

  • Yet back to that football game. That crazy, dramatic Mountaineer win that will long live in WVU lore.

There was the dime QB Will Grier dropped to Gary Jennings for the score with 16 seconds remaining. There was Dana Holgorsen’s decision to go for a two-point conversion. There was the effort of WVU’s players in overcoming adversity in the faces of the officials.

Don’t forget, however, the effective run game that seemingly came from nowhere. Martell Pettaway with 121 yards and Kennedy McKoy with 94? With All-America offensive tackle candidate Yodny Cajuste tossed out of the game? Are you kidding?

“The best it’s been all year,” said Holgorsen on Monday. “Just o-line play in general, and I include [tight end] Trevon Wesco in that because he plays a big part. It’s the best it’s been all year. I think we did a great job of scheming up some things and just executing the fundamentals of run blocking.

“Pettaway and McCoy ran as hard as I’ve ever seen them run. That’s why they were our [offensive] players of the game.”

Personally, though, I would have given it to Kelby Wickline, who stepped in for Cajuste and did a terrific job.

“We didn’t blink on it,” said Holgorsen. “I give [offensive line coach Joe Wickline] credit. I guess he believed in his kid. Kelby has been with us for two years. He’s a scholarship player and it was time for him to go in and earn a scholarship.”

  • If you think gamesmanship is gone from college football, you missed Monday’s quote from Holgorsen on the 2-point decision. WVU converted once before officials ruled a UT timeout was called. Grier then converted a second time.

“I knew [UT coach Tom Herman] was going to call a timeout,” said Holgorsen. “He actually called it twice. I actually thought about running a dummy play, but I didn’t want to get caught if he didn’t pull the trigger on the timeout.

“That specific play has a lot of options. And our quarterback sees the field as good as anyone I’ve been around.”

  • A poll, by the way, was taken by Amway US over which coach’s call was the best of the weekend.

At midday Monday, Holgorsen’s call for two had 87.77 percent of the vote.

  • It was somewhat touching that Cajuste tweeted an apology for getting tossed and “letting my team down.”

Touching, but, in my opinion, unnecessary. Cajuste should not have been tossed. And there was no reason to flag Sills or Grier for “horns down.” Silly. On Monday, Holgorsen agreed.

“They’re incredibly tight on some of these things,” said the coach. “I mean, that happened to us twice. We addressed it in our meeting last night. But I’m at a point where I really don’t know what to tell them after they make a big play. That kind of emotion of going for two and you get it… Emotion is going to kick in.

“We got one earlier with hand signals I’ve seen happen over the course of two decades probably 20,000 times that haven’t gotten flagged. We’re doing our best to coach these guys to behave the appropriate way, but there have been some things happen that have me at a loss for words.”

The coach said he’s been in communication with the Big 12 so “we won’t be kicking off on the 10 anymore.”

  • As Louisville was getting drubbed 77-16 by Clemson, I kept thinking of those that once argued the Big 12 should have grabbed the Cardinals instead of the Mountaineers. (Dare I bring up the name Rick Pitino?)
  • Question: In the glow of WVU’s win over Texas and the Mountaineers’ lofty rankings, is Holgorsen’s name rising for end-of-the-season coaching openings? USC? Ohio State, if Urban Meyer leaves?
  • I was asked if Grier’s throw to Jennings was the best I’ve seen in all the years spent covering the Mountaineers.

If you blend the quality of the throw, the timing in the game and what it meant to the season, it probably is No. 1. But don’t forget a little toss from Darren Studstill to Ed Hill against Boston College in 1993. That one put WVU in the Sugar Bowl instead of the Carquest.

  • Despite the WVU victory, I still detect skepticism over the Mountaineers. Monday morning on the Golic & Wingo radio show, there was no mention of the Mountaineers during a segment with Desmond Howard. The discussion was whether a one-loss Michigan would get in the College Football Playoff over a one-loss Big 12 champion Oklahoma. No mention of WVU. Also, there was 116-point dropoff in A.P. poll voting from Oklahoma at No. 6 to West Virginia at No. 7 – the largest gap in the Top 10.

Is West Virginia a second-tier team? Seems that’s what the Mountaineers still need to disprove.

  • And finally…

Let’s toss out my prediction for this weekend’s WVU home game against TCU. I see the Mountaineers are a 14-point favorite.

I think that’s spot on. My call: WVU 35, TCU 21.

WVU fans are jazzed. And that should translate into a nice home environment.

Enjoy your week. And make sure to vote!


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