Ben Queen/MetroNews photo

West Virginia linebacker Jared Barber made a number of plays but dropped two first-quarter interceptions.


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Time to break down a game riddled with breakdowns for West Virginia, which produced six turnovers and only six first downs while being flattened 37-0 at Maryland:

Ford Childress likely has many starts ahead of him at WVU, and he prays none of them come close to replicating Saturday’s disaster. Ranging from ineffective to awful, he threw two brutal interceptions, failed to complete any downfield passes and lost a fumble. His 11-of-22 passing resulted in a paltry 62 yards, which happens when nine passes are completed to running backs (six of those behind the line of scrimmage).

Ben Queen/MetroNews photo

Ford Childress tossed two interceptions, lost a fumble and threw for only 62 yards against Maryland.

His first-quarter, pick-six interception was part poor decision with equally bad mechanics, a flat-footed throw toward the sideline that became easy pickings for nickel back A.J. Hendy. Late in the half, with WVU trailing 23-0 and pinned inside its own 10, Childress made a futile situation worse—stepping away from pressure only to throw a pass into the raised arms of Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil, who caught the tipped interception at the Mountaineers’ 6.

Childress actually deserved a third interception, but Terps cornerback Isaac Goins dropped a pass thrown far over the head of Ronald Carswell.

With WVU positioned to avoid the shutout on its final drive, Childress committed one poetic final mistake—trying to escape a sack by making an impromptu pitch to blocking back Charles Sims. The fumble wound up in Hendy’s hands, and West Virginia was held scoreless for the first time since 2001.

With the offensive line faltering, WVU’s running backs didn’t find much room until the game was out of hand in the fourth quarter. Dreamius Smith (12 carries for 74 yards) did most of his damage on a late 51-yard run against Maryland’s second-teamers, and Wendell Smallwood curiously was credited with a 30-yard run on his lone carry, which he fumbled away after 18 yards.

Sims gained only 35 yards on eight rushes, but caught eight passes for 33 yards as WVU tried in vain to exploit Maryland’s defense in the flat. One of those catches became a fumble at the Terps’ 20-yard line, though Sims’ knee might have been down—according to replays that were ignored by the booth official upstairs.

History was on Lonnie Galloway’s side during the preseason when he said someone would catch 80 passes in this offense (because someone always does). That prediction turned laughable against Maryland when Carswell’s 12-yard catch on the opening drive turned out to be the only reception by a WVU wide receiver all day. (And wouldn’t you know it, that 12-yarder came on on third-and-13. Gorgeous irony.)

Though Carswell dropped a potential first-down catch in the second quarter, WVU’s wideouts didn’t even get their hands on any other passes. Carswell was targeted three times, while Childress threw toward Kevin White and Mario Alford once each.

Ben Queen/MetroNews photo

Pat Eger and the offensive line drew harsh reviews from WVU’s coaches.

Calling this performance “as bad as we’ve ever played on the offensive line,” Holgorsen was being generous. The lack of a sustainable running game despite Maryland dropping more defenders into coverage short-circuited all WVU hoped to accomplish.

“When you can’t block, it’s tough,” Holgorsen said. “We put these guys in position to be able to block and we didn’t.”

Maryland registered eight TFLs despite West Virginia running only 47 plays.

Left guard Marquis Lucas endured his worst game of the young season, surrendering a sack—as did left tackle Quinton Spain.

Center Pat Eger was flagged for a hands-to-the-face personal foul and also had an errant shotgun snap that blew up Childress’ timing on a third-down fail. The senior had shifted to right guard late in the half when the Terps rushed only three defenders, yet lineman Andre Monroe wedged between Eger and center Tyler Orlosky to pressure Childress. A moment later Cudjoe-Virgil had his interception.

Monroe overmatched Orlosky on another third down that saw Childress pressured into an incompletion. Maryland sacked Childress twice and generated ample pressure without having to rely on its zero blitzes.

“When (Childress) is not even planting his back foot and getting hit, there’s not much he can do,” Holgorsen said. “We played incredibly poor up front.”

Ben Queen/Metronews photo

WVU’s Will Clarke twice sacked Maryland’s C.J. Brown in Saturday’s 37-0 loss.

Turnovers fed directly into 21 points for Maryland, so by most metrics, West Virginia’s defense made a decent showing—though no defender was in the mood to confirm such after a lopsided loss. The defensive front contained quarterback C.J. Brown on the zone-read and limited Maryland to merely 2.4 yards per carry overall. After averaging 262 yards rushing per game, the Terps settled for only 113 Saturday.

Will Clarke registered both of WVU’s sacks and whiffed on a third when Brown dodged him in the end zone. Who could have foreseen the near-safety was the Mountaineers’ best chance to score?

With 2.5 TFLs among his five stops, Dontrill Hyman showed continued progress. Kyle Rose (3.5 tackles) flashed some hustle by catching Terps running back Brandon Ross 25 yards downfield after a screen catch.

Nose guard Shaq Rowell made four tackles, and with no offensive players speaking to the media, he once more emerged as the team’s postgame spokesman. “They beat the hell out of us,” he said. “I’m embarrassed. I’m being real with you. I’m embarrassed. All three sides of the ball, we got our ass kicked.”

From what was perhaps Jared Barber’s best game (four stops,1.5 TFLs), the Sam linebacker regretted two near-interceptions that eluded him. The first came on Maryland’s opening drive, backed up at its own 11. The second slipped through Barber’s hands and was corralled by tight end Dave Stinebaugh for the game’s first touchdown.

Monday should bring an injury update on Barber’s fellow inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski, who left in the first half and didn’t re-appear. His presence figures to be vital to WVU’s chances of slowing Oklahoma State next Saturday.

One injury that appeared gruesome but wasn’t—the twisted left leg of Brandon Golson—sent the Buck linebacker writhing after a collision with Clarke on a first-quarter sack. Yet Golson looked nimble as ever upon returning in the second half. (Marvin Gross had a quarterback pressure and a third-down tackle in the interim.)

Doug Rigg (3.5 stops) tracked a seam route to break up a pass in the end zone and made a mid-air goal-line hit that delayed Maryland’s score before the half.

Eric Kinsey continues to look capable at the backup Buck, though he lost containment on Deon Long’s 16-yard run.

Ben Queen/MetroNews photo

Nickel back K.J. Dillon forced a turnover on a run blitz.

The expense of rendering Stefon Diggs a non-factor contributed to Deon Long’s productive day (six catches for 98 yards). Brown overthrew Long on another potential big-gainer, culminating in safety Darwin Cook cracking the former WVU signee.

Travis Bell, who frequently had his hands full in man coverage, walloped Long on a sideline route and received a personal foul flag. Given the climate of officials erring on the side of safety, Bell was fortunate to avoid a targeting ejection.

On the opposite side, Icky Banks flattened Diggs on an incomplete screen pass and wound up with 3.5 stops.

With Kwiatkoski sidelined, Karl Joseph (eight tackles) reclaimed his spot as the team’s top tackler. Nickelback K.J. Dillon, healthy after sitting out a week, crashed in on a run blitz to bat loose an option pitch that he also recovered at the Maryland 26.

Reserve cornerback Daryl Worley showed his downfield cover skills by breaking up deep shots intended for Long and Diggs.

Ben Queen/MetroNews photo

Ronald Carswell’s fumbled punt led to Maryland’s first touchdown.

Reminiscent of the Oklahoma loss, a WVU punt-return gaffe proved crucial. This time it was Carswell who misjudged the ball as it bounced off his leg for a turnover at the Mountaineers’ 24-yard line. Three plays later, the Terps led 7-0.

West Virginia’s punt- and kick-coverage units were solid, and Nick O’Toole’s eight punts equated to a 46-yard average with three dropped inside the 20.

But West Virginia’s kick-return unit was tagged with two flags (holding and Illegal block) and its field-goal defense was caught with a 12th-man infraction.

You would have had a hard time convincing anyone, even Maryland’s players, that they were capable of burying WVU by halftime. Yet this loss made for such stinging embarrassment that it creates consternation and uncertainty heading into the Big 12 schedule. (And as an inescapable footnote, it gives WVU five losses by three touchdowns or more within the last 12 games.)

Holgorsen’s offense—completely dysfunctional to a depth he has never suffered as a head coach or coordinator—features inconsistent receivers, weak line play and a gaping question at quarterback. How that gets fixed, or simply made adequate, will determine whether WVU has any hopes of a bowl invite.

“It’s 100 percent on me,” Holgorsen said. “Obviously, what I’m doing offensively is not working.”

Ben Queen/MetroNews photo

Dana Holgorsen on WVU’s offense: “We’re as inept as we can possibly be.”
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  • 1olewvufan

    Guys, it is pretty evident that neither Ford Childress or Paul Millard is the QB of the future at WVU. What I don't understand is why Coach Holg is so dead set on starting Ford against Oklahoma State. Holg says that Trickett has failed to lean the offense, yet Trickett as a back-up QB at FSU played in big games and won them. My take take on this is no matter what Trickett has or doesn't have he seems to be a much better choice than Millard or Childress. We all WVU is going to get beat bad this Saturday no matter if Holg starts Millard or Childress, who knows, if he starts Trickett WVU may get on the score board.

    WVU ran a total of 49 plays or here about and had 68-yards of offense. There was no fast pace tempo. Childress passing was as bad or worse than Millard's. Plus, what was Childress thinking when he tried to pitch the ball as he was being sacked which resulted in a fumble and Maryland getting the ball back.

    Holgorsen's stubbornness could be his demise.

    I just hope we get points on the board this Saturday. My fear is Holgorsen's stubbornness WVU will have won all its going to win this year. And he needs to bring in 2 or 3 QBs in 2014. William Crest hasn't taken a snap at WVU and Holg will have to start him in 2014. This is Childress 2nd year under Holg and Millard's 3rd year and neither of them are ready to start for any team and they won't be ready next year. Geno picked this offense up quickly and look at what he did, and he out played EJ Manuel last night in the Jets win over Buffalo. So if Millard and Childress haven't picked up Holg's offense by now they never will.

    Holg needs to rep and start Trickett this week if WVU is going to have any chance of putting points on the board. We all know Childress and Millard can't do it.

    What I saw Saturday is an offense with no respect or confidence in its QB. The offense will play much better if they have a QB that can lead them.

  • Rick

    Watch the head coach'es demeanor on the sidelines. NO emotion. The last 6 minutes of the game he didn't have his headset on and was pacing back and forth, not talking to anyone...
    You play the game for 60 minutes. Thats what your paid for. Not taking anything away from MD they were just an average ACC team. Yeah their 4-0 now but look who they've played.
    Comments have been critical of recruits and WVU has never had a stellar recruiting year, 3-star avg recruits...the difference is that the head coach motivates these players to play harder. This head coach doesn't have that in him...these are his recruits...As hard as this is to say WVU needs "Doc" back in more than one way. At best I see a 4-8 maybe a 2-10. But hey its a rebuilding year, wait till next year...

    • WSC

      Ya know I agree! These players just don't seem to be jelling. I mean it doesn't seem like to me they are playing as a team! That starts at the top! I hate to say it, but I will be surprised if we win 4 games! Darn we had the players last year and look what happened! And these no leadership comments that came out about last year! Hey leadership starts at the top!

    • al

      Sure, wait til next year - open up with Alabama. That will be great.

  • Harpers Ferry

    A Bowl game? Really? Does anyone really think that WVU can win 5 of its remaining 8 games? Please remember that even though W&M played us hard (and we played poorly, which is par for this year's team), that win does NOT count towards bowl eligibility. Come bowl season, the only competition WVU will be involved in is competing for either Rich Rod or Doc Holliday as their coach.

    Also, can people please give it up on the color shirt that Holgerson wears. It HAS to be one of the dumbest complaints of all time. IMHO, I wish all coaches would go back to wearing a suit and tie on the sidelines.

    • Joe Cool

      I'll give up the shirt color argument. I'll only play it once for every 'Wait till next year' argument.

    • tw eagle

      RR ain't coming back . . .he didn't get lured away by a better offer . . .although I didn't like
      his philosophy on recruiting and player
      personnel , he WAS loyal . . .what transpired
      with the pitt game told him that it would never
      be a "winning" proposition in Morgantown as
      long as the big"fat cat" had access to his
      players and the WVU program . . .winning
      money trumped winning games . . .I would
      have left too . . .

      • joe

        I mean I think I am tracking... but is there any fire to this smoke? was there ever any evidence of such accusations? was it covered up or is this something that is just known locally?

      • joe

        I wish you would explain this more....

    • Chuck

      The shirt argument is stupid. I always thought he wore black so when he does his hand signals, it doesn't contrast.

      I think the W&M game does count towards bowl eligibilty. I think the rule is that if you play a second game against an FCS school. Only one win can count. Anways, we need 4 more wins and it doesn't look good, but who knows.

  • tw eagle

    I now have a better understanding of why Millard got zero chances to play last year . . .
    Childress must have been ordained to be the
    QB since he signed his scholarship . . .well,
    WVU can't "dumb down" their schedule to
    make this turkey look good . . .I foresee losing
    every game the rest of this year , losing seasons the next two and possibly breaking
    even Childresses senior year . . .the only
    thing slower than his feet is his thought
    process . . .How is making some family in
    Texas happy going to help the Mountaineer
    football program ? or is it making someone
    in the athletic department happy financially ?

  • Fan in South Carolina

    I've been watching WVU football for over 50 years and have seen some bad losses. This may be the worst defeat that I've witnessed. The team was never in the game and, to make it worse, never showed any signs of fighting back to try to make it a game. There is plenty of blame to go around and the test will be to see if WVU shows up on Saturday. Every team will have bad games, but there is no excuse for getting punched in the mouth and then lying down instead of fighting back. Time to put on their "big boy pants" on and play some Mountaineer football.

  • Tom

    I agree with your assessment. Personal foul on Travis Bell was. b.s. He hit him with his shoulder. I totally agree with protecting players from injury, but this has gone overboard.

  • Bim

    Well done article!

  • Devan

    I wouldn't give the D an up. 37 points? Come on! The entire team is a dumpster fire, and it begins at the top.

    Dana IS NOT a head coach!! Period!

    • al

      Exactly! We gave up 37 points to MARYLAND!!!!!! This team is a disaster and Dana's the leader of the disaster. He's not a head coach or a good example.

      • Steve

        I have followed WVU football for nearly 60 years ( WVU class of 1969), was there when we used to lose to Richmond, W&M , VA , etc. on a regular basis. Have followed them to away games all over the country. For the FIRST time ever, I turned them off Sat. at the end of the 3rd qtr.
        In my view , we have the wrong guys in charge in Morgantown. That goes for Head Coach, several assts. AND the A.D.
        This whole Big 12 experiment is a bad joke on the best fans a school could want.

        • WSC

          Steve, I couldn't get the game on tv, and I had to listen on the internet. So much has changed!!! I remember in the early 70's bird hunting in Mason county,and we would make sure to come to the truck at noon and here Jack Fleming announce the game! How things have changed! I turned Saturdays game off early in the second half also! Just disapointed in the whole program not just because we lost, but because the university has forgotten it's fans and it's state thathas stood behind them without exception! There are manyfans upset right now!

    • Grant

      A pick 6 and two drives starting inside the 20, hard to blame the D for 37. The played more than well enough to win.

  • al

    Holgerson needs to go NOW! This is year 4. He can no longer blame it on everyone else. Bring back Rich Rod.

    • jerry

      al your a fool too .

      • Maxxajay

        Sitting here reading all these comments most of them does not tell it like it is... This is the third year Dana has coached....Only has had 2 recruiting years..... There was not much left when Dana took over... Last year at times he had eight and nine freshman playing his first recruiting the same time.... The Second year of recruits which are playing this year he had 12 Junior college players.... Bill Stewart, if I'm not mistaken only when With 75 scholarship players he was there three years.thats 30 players short you can't reload the team and expected to survive nowadays just don't work that way.... Sure Dana has a junior senior every once in a while in there but most are second-year guys we have to start almost at the bottom we are not playing the big easy league any more this is the big 12....

    • Chuck

      Its year 3, not year 4. Were you calling for Stewart to when he started off 2-2 with losses to ECU and Colorado? And he had Pat White and we were pre-ranked in the top 10.

      • al

        Sorry, yes it is year 3. He still needs to go.

      • Harpers Ferry

        Stew didn't have Pat White in his 3rd year, only his first.

        • Chuck

          True. It was his first year, but that year had a much worse start to the season, IMO. We went from a top 10 team to getting beat down by ECU and losing to Colorado.

  • Habib Haddad

    More film study and less drinking! Stat!

  • William

    68,978 - Number of pissed off WVU fans.
    23,460 - Number of empty seats at next home game
    41,000 - Number of WVU fans that wants Holgerson run out of Morgantown
    275,450 - Number of WVU fans that wants Joe Deforest fired
    27,500 - Number of WVU tickets for give away on Craigslist
    0 - Number of fires in Morgantown till end of season
    5 - Number of touchdown in remaining games
    2 - Number of quarterbacks that quit team
    69 - Number of turnovers for rest of season
    3 - Number of new shady deals by WVU by end of year.
    18,999 - Number of season ticket sales that drops for next year
    71 - Number of times that Holgerson says "YOU KNOW" in a 6 minute interview
    It is very sad time to be a MOUNTAINEER FAN no matter where you may be

    • 2019jones


    • Shadow

      As Joe Friday always said: Just the facts, ma'am just the facts.

    • Charleston,WV

      You forgot to mention:
      1 Miserable fan who enjoys company.

    • Doug

      Cut and paste again William.

    • Joe Cool

      You forgot

      0 - Number of blue and gold shirts in Holg's closet.

      • WSC

        LOL! That is a good one Joe! And true

    • Grant

      I can't figure out if you are a disgruntled fan, jealous Marshall fan, or just a troll.

      • Graywv

        He's just Mr. Negative-totally hates anything, especially anything to do with WVU!

        • William

          The other WILLIAM that makes stupid comments is a IMPOSTER

        • Maxxajay

          @ William, most of what you just said in your last post is the truth,

          One thing you need to put in there is that your main beef is Mr. Oliver Luck. You grew up hearing and loving nothing but the mighty Mountaineers, Gold and blue, What you could do is email Oliver luck and tell him a piece of your mind get it over with and not get everybody on here upset with you criticizing the school and the ballplayers, they had nothing to do with Oliver offending should apologize to them and move on with your life... I know what happened, move on okay.....

  • ducks in a row

    Well, although difficult to accept, this assessment couldn't be any fairer. I still believe this team will come around.

    • Chet Ubetcha

      I agree, I see the problems, but I don't see it as lack of talent. It's more like rate of execution and precision, but we shall see

  • Tom

    Very good, accurate report. Defense did play well under very trying circumstances. Something is wrong somewhere. Can it be corrected?

    • Jase

      Fix the oline and everything else will fix itself, that's about as simple as it gets

  • Grant

    Hard to argue with the stock report. Overall, I thought the D played well, but it was put in some very bad situations. The offense is a nightmare right now, which is something I never dreamed that I would say under Dana. With Ok St and Baylor next and both of them coming off bye weeks, it could get very ugly.

    With all of that said, WVU is a very young team, and I am hopeful that they'll be good next year. If 2014 is this bad, then it will be time for a coaching change.

    • Chuck

      I agree with you. I think Holgorsen deserves one more year after this one. He is still dealing with Stewart's lack of recruiting. The best players on our team are freshman and sophomore (Holgorsen's recruits). Sure, Stewart brought in the big 3, but he didn't really bring in anyone else in his 3 years.

      • David

        Steward recruited Geno, Tavon and Steadman and several more that are now playing on Sunday. Recruiting he did well. This is Dana's third year - where is his offensive genius and his recruits to carry it out.

        • Peggy

          Doc Holiday was recruiting coordinator when all the talent came in. He is the king when it comes to evaluating talent. Did the same for Don Nehlen. And I glad we are not playing Marshall anymore. Always had great QB's.

      • Neal

        I can understand being bad your first couple years as a head coach at a school and blaming it on the previous coach's recruiting. But this is holgerson's third year. The first two years we won games with Stewart's recruits. We are now starting to lose games now that Stewart's recruits are graduating. It's time to stop giving holgerson a pass. With his reputation coming in as the beat passing OC in the country, If anyone would have told me that arguably the two worst positions on our team during holgerson's third year here would QB and WR I would have thought you would have been crazy, but that's where we are. This program has gotten worse each year he has been here. I say if the rest of the season continues to be as bad as we've seen to this point we have to seriously consider cutting our losses and look for a new coach.

        • Terry Wigfield

          Kingsbury has a freshman walk on QB playing virtually the same system lighting up the scoreboard. This isn't about the players, it's about the coaching. However the players share blame also. Hard to be competitive with 6 turnovers. It may be even uglier next three games.

        • 2019jones

          Now is the time,like you said hes been here three years and we r going backwards,whats that tell you,send Luck with him......

        • Jase

          Saying that the two worst positions on our team is qb and wr might be a stretch, if you've listened to the commentators watching the past two games you would hear something to the effect of : the coaches need to take a look at the film of the oline, and " the is oline is just standing there"- said by former wvu qb. Or the oline is not creating holes, or the oline is has more holes than a slice of cheese. So I would have too say if the oline was able too run and pass block effectively or at least as well as last year we would probably be undefeated at this point, and I don't think that is a homer thing to say. That's the facts

          • Jase

            Even holograph defended the qb by saying you could have Peyton manning at qb back there and it wouldn't make a difference if your not givin time by your oline too set your feet or to even look downfield to make a good throw, and if you don't have time too make a good throw then your receivers probably will be out of position to make a good catch or to even get open for that matter, like I said the oline gets fixed and the offense will automatically fix itself it's common sense

          • Neal

            As I said, QB and WR are 'arguably' the two worst positions on the team. I would agree that O line ranks right there as well. But when you have QBs missing open receivers and gifting opposing defenses via turnovers, and WRs dropping passes and using T-Rex arms instead of going up after the ball, I think you can make points that QB and WR have been at least as bad as any other position.

        • WVU86

          Very good point Neal. Blaming the current woes (which are going to get worse) on the supposive lack-of-talent brought in by the previous staffs is lame. Nobody was giving the previous staff credit during the blowout bowl win over Clemson. The biggest fail in the current situation is allowing Holgs to bring in his grossly underqualified buds to be the assistants.

          • jerry

            the clemson blow out was from coach rich rods staff coach stew didnt recruit anyone was a bubbling fool . he rode the success of coach rod . holgs has got avery young team he will turn it around takes time .

  • Robbie thompson

    Well done! Can't argue with facts. I hate to say it boys, and I'll eat all the crow in the world if I'm wrong, but I don't think Ford has IT! He doesn't seem to have any dog in him. He's been a leader and a QB his whole life, freshman or not the kid has to take charge and make the guys around better. God I hope I'm wrong but I don't see anything in his eye or demeanor.

    • MountainMover

      I think Georgia State had as many tackles for loss as Maryland did. The offensive line flat out sucks. It's the nucleus to any football team, fundamental. And we don't have it. Can't gain yardage, can't possess the ball, can't score. Turnovers just make it worse.

      • joe

        I agree. How can a bunch of 300 pounders be so bad. They should be completely embarrassed

    • William

      WVU SPORTS IS IN SAD SHAPE! Get use to it - going to be losing for many years to come. When you own a company and don't hire good people with GREAT CHARACTER as your leaders, then thing might end up in a mess.= WVU FOOTBALL & BASKETBALL

      • Jed

        WVU Basketball will be fine. We've got a PROVEN Bball coach with a great recruiting class. Don't be stupid in comparing Huggs to Holgorsen. We'll probably make the NCAA Tournament this year in basketball, but we won't even be close to Bowl eligible in football.

      • Larry

        Good points.