Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Baylor cornerback Joe Williams deflects a pass away from West Virginia receiver Ronald Carswell during the Mountaineers’ 73-42 loss.

 

WACO, Texas — “It counts as one loss,” summarized head damage controller Dana Holgorsen.

And he was correct. It only counts as one yecchy, discommodious, here-we-fold-again, confidence-stripping loss. Just like the Hindenburg only counted as one fire.

With that reassurance in mind, let’s recap West Virginia’s supporting role in Saturday night’s 3-hour and 50-minute prime-time infomercial for the advancement of Baylor athletics:

QUARTERBACK
With Clint Trickett focusing deep on seemingly every throw, this didn’t resemble WVU’s quick-game Air Raid. But Holgorsen and offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson suggested those repeated downfield shots against man coverage targeted the vulnerable points of Baylor’s box-loaded defense.
The way Trickett kept his sore right arm tucked to his side, it’s surprising he had any zip on those deep throws. He made 17 attempts of 20-plus yards downfield (including three that resulted in pass interference flags), all of which added up to an ugly 9-of-28 passing night for 161 yards, one TD and one interception. Baylor defensive backs did him a favor by dropping two more potential interceptions.
Paul Millard—inserted twice in the first half when Holgorsen was perturbed by Trickett’s inability to interpret sideline signals—also played the majority of the fourth period and finished 8-of-13 for 115 yards with two touchdowns.
Asked who the starter was heading into the bye week, Dawson said “It’s Clint.” And he said it with only a momentary pause.
RUNNING BACKS
Despite finding few holes, Charles Sims ran for 92 yards on 19 carries. His 39-yard touchdown run in the third quarter came after making two tacklers miss near the line of scrimmage. After catching 13 passes in his previous two games, Sims’ role in the passing game diminished (two receptions for 16 yards) with Trickett looking downfield almost exclusively.
Dreamius Smith had a 19-yard run in the fourth quarter but otherwise managed 7 yards on seven carries. He never had a chance on a first-quarter fourth-and-2 at WVU’s 49, with Baylor overloading the line.
Cody Clay stalled a first-quarter drive with a holding call after he was outmanned by an edge rusher. The big blocking back, who made three first-down grabs against Oklahoma State, was blanketed on a fourth-and-6 target at the Baylor 10.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

West Virginia receiver Kevin White (11) catches a touchdown pass over Baylor cornerback Ryan Reid (19) during the second half at Floyd Casey Stadium.
RECEIVERS
Working most of the night against man coverage from Baylor’s two senior cornerbacks, Kevin White finished with seven catches for 130 yards and two touchdowns. (In fairness, though, his second score came on a 1-yard fade route against 5-foot-11 freshman Ryan Reid.)
At the opposite outside receiver, Ronald Carswell forced two pass interference flags and deserved a third (somehow Baylor’s Demetri Goodson got away with a blatant first-quarter grab downfield). The highlight for Carswell was the long touchdown catch on a ball Millard winged into double-coverage.
Daikiel Shorts only had two catches for 35 yards but both were leaping, athletic grabs against tight coverage. The freshman continues to impress with concentration and ball-tracking skills.
Ivan McCartney missed the game reportedly with concussion symptoms lingering from the win over OSU.
OFFENSIVE LINE
Unable to contain Baylor’s blitzes, the WVU line surrendered seven quarterback hurries and four sacks (with a fifth negated by a face-mask). West Virginia’s running game didn’t fare much better, netting 3.5 yards per carry.
On a perfectly staged third-and-10 screen play, Quinton Spain was escorting Sims on what looked to be a huge gainer. But safety Ahmad Dixon slipped past Spain and tracked down Sims for only a gain of 8. On the next snap, WVU’s fourth-and-2 run near midfield was ambushed by weakside linebacker Eddie Lackey barreling through unblocked.
Spain had a knockdown block on Sims’ third-quarter touchdown run but left soon after with an undisclosed injury—a scary proposition for a unit that has been uneven all season.
Redshirt freshman tackle Adam Pankey, playing in his second game since returning from offseason knee surgery, was properly flagged for targeting on a peel-back block against defensive lineman Byron Bonds late in the fourth quarter. Pankey must sit out the opening half of WVU’s next game the Texas Tech.
DEFENSIVE LINE
Baylor ran wild for 468 yards—311 more than WVU allowed on average in its first five games—and scored eight rushing touchdowns, doubling what the Mountaineers had allowed all season.
Heisman hopeful Lache Seastrunk, who would be considered lightning-quick if lightning was quicker, gained 172 yards on 15 carries. But even Baylor’s backups posted impressive numbers against a WVU defensive line that was overmatched: See Shock Linwood (14 for 126 yards), Glasco Martin (12 for 63 yards) and Devin Chafin (10 for 56 yards). The
After generating so much penetration in earlier games, the trio of Will Clarke, Shaq Rowell and Dontrill Hyman were pushed around by Baylor’s offensive line. On an all-around deplorable night for West Virginia’s defense, the line’s soft play was the primary reason record speculators starting looking the FBS single-game yardage mark 617 yards at halftime. (Alas, Houston’s 1,021-yard performance from 1989 remains atop the list, as Baylor settled for a Big 12-record 864.)
LINEBACKERS
The unit clearly could have used Nick Kwiatkoski, who missed his second consecutive game with what coaches have labeled a hamstring injury. But neither Kwiatkoski, or Sam Huff for matter, would have made a difference Saturday night.
Jared Barber made a team-high 11 tackles but missed a chance to drop Seastrunk behind the line on what became an 80-yard touchdown run. (Doug Rigg also missed a tackle on the same play before Seastrunk bounced outside.)
Rigg (nine tackles) allowed Jordan Najvar to slip through his purview untouched on an 18-yard catch that bailed Baylor out of a second-and-22 situation.
On the outside, Brandon Golson made six stops and Isaiah Bruce had four, but neither was much of a factor. On a night when Baylor ran 95 plays, pay less attention to the elevated tackle totals and more focus on the 9.1 yards per snap.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Baylor receiver Antwan Goodley (5) scores a touchdown against WVU on the thrd play of the game.
SECONDARY
From the game’s third play this unit was in trouble, when slot receiver Antwan Goodley enjoyed a clean release off the line of scrimmage and race untouched on a 61-yard touchdown catch. (Cornerback Travis Bell was lined up on Goodly presnap but picked up a man motioning outside without a replacement picking up the slot responsibility.)
On Baylor’s second touchdown drive, Bell surrendered an inside slant to Goodley on third-and-7, despite the receiver lining up only a couple steps from the boundary.
Goodley later used his physicality to beat Bell on a 42-yard catch and finished with 170 yards on seven grabs. Bell’s difficult night ended on a positive note when he intercepted backup quarterback Seth Russell in the final four minutes, then lateraled to Darwin Cook for a 32-yard touchdown return.
Cook also picked off Russell, as WVU managed some success against Baylor’s second-stringers.
Starting quarterback Bryce Petty fared much better, hitting on 17-of-25 passes for 347 yards despite suffering three drops on a first-half drive that ended in a touchdown anyway. He was lifted after Baylor’s first drive of the second half leading 63-21. The junior’s only ill-advised throw was a first-half force that became Daryl Worley first college interception.
Kevin Reese burned Icky Banks on a self-tipped 47-yard touchdown, and Clay Fuller was left uncovered in the slot several times on his way to a four-catch 55-yard night.
Defensive coordinator Keith Patterson on the debacle: “There were a lot of things that are uncharacteristic of what I’ve seen throughout fall camp and the season.”
SPECIAL TEAMS
For once a fumbled punt went went WVU’s way, as Levi Norwood muffed a fair catch that trickled into the end zone where Joseph recovered for a touchdown. (Credit Bruce, Ricky Rumph and John DePalma for being on the spot, and Nick O’Toole for getting ample hang time in the Waco winds.)
O’Toole averaged 43.7 on seven punts, which is seven more than Baylor had. The Bears kicked off plenty, though, and Wendell Smallwood averaged 22 yards per kick return—not dazzling, but a large uptick from WVU’s previous efforts.
Trailing by 31 with 3:01 to play in the game, WVU attempted an onside kick that Shorts recovered.
COACHING
The past three weeks have produced two outright embarrassments sandwiched around an upset of then-No. 11 Oklahoma State. (Do we dare to guess what frame of mind West Virginia will show when Texas Tech visits Morgantown in two weeks?)
While it’s possible this is an overmatched roster that simply played over its head against Oklahoma and OSU, the inability of WVU to keep the Baylor game competitive for even one quarter reflects foundational cracks Holgorsen and his staff must fix.
The interaction between Holgorsen and Trickett feels far from constructive, and the yo-yoing of quarterbacks mid-series reveals frustrations are boiling over. Trickett’s ailing shoulder clouds the issue somewhat, but clearly there’s doubt as to when or if he’ll become capable of operating the offense to the staff’s liking.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen walks the sidelines during Saturday’s 73-42 loss at Baylor.
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Comments

  • Mike

    Scott you are an idiot. People that get on here and constantly put the team down are only hurting the kids that play. You my friend obviously don't know much about football. I have had season tickets since the miserable days of Don Nehlan. I sat through that and took what was dished out and was happy with a 9-3 year because I knew that was what we could anticipate as a good year. Anyone who knows football knew we would not have a great year in 2013. There was to many unanswered questions on offense. We are not Alabama. We do not lose a Smith, Austin and Bailey in the same year and just plug in 3 more players and keep rolling. We get that type of team about every 4 years. like the White, Slayton and Schmitt days. That doesn't happen here every year and for those that expect that I say wake up. I went into this year expecting a 6 win season and that's what I still expect. The games we lost are the games I had circled as loses. Support the team get behind them. Negativity is not good. I didn't like the fact that we got our asses handed to us but hey its football it happens. I didn't go punch my wife in the mouth or get on here degrading everyone at WVU from top to bottom. Go ahead and run Luck and Holgerson off. See what you get then. We will never keep anyone in this state thats worth a damn because of uneducated people. No one wants to be at a program were you are constantly battered by people with negativity. Rich Rod left becasue the AD at the time was worthless. If Luck had been here at the time Rich Rod was here he would have never left. We have to keep supporting the WVU programs and see what happens. If you are unhappy turn the channel or don't buy tickets. Pull for VA Tech or FL State. Hell I pull for FL State. Love Jimbo to death. See if doing that releases some of your anger. I can tell you for a fact I shut the Baylor game off at halftime and went and laid tile in my house. No need to get upset about something that is out of your control. I knew we were done and no chance to come back. Why watch it. Didn't mean I was going to get on here and ramble about Holgerson sucks and Luck needs to go for hiring him. I still believe Holgerson will get it done. I stand behind him and thank Luck for all the changes he made at WVU to bring us out of the 1960's. Some times change is good.

  • eduardo

    Funny this to me is that the fair weather fans can't spell or use proper grammar. What a bunch of uneducated hicks. Learn the difference between then vs. than. There they're and their are three different words. Would've is a contraction for would have. Would of is only used by the dumbest of the dumb. If you haven't grasped the English language by now, why would anyone consider your opinions. You dont wanna give Dana time to coach, but you've had a lifetime to learn our language and failed miserably. Utter stupidity fair weather fans. By the way, Art Briles was 4-8 his first two years in Waco and 7-6 his third. The Baylor fans supported him and look what happenned. Something to think about you fair weather fools.

  • john b

    All the big mouths on this comment board and I bet less than 10% of you donate a nickel to the Mountaineer Athletic Club to assist the football team with funding. Many people want to hire and fire or pay for this or built that, yet very few go in their pockets to donate what they can afford. WVU is not and never will be Ohio St, Alabama or Notre Dame year in year out. We don't have 20 % of those schools budget. Part of it is we're a relatively small school coming from a small state the other part is we don't have the Alumni or fans who are willing to go into their own pocket and donate $5 or $5 million like the schools previously mentioned. So to all of you who have BIG MOUTHS and ALLIGATOR ARMS I say shut up!

  • Phil M.

    Hey we may need a new head coach but we do not need to get rid of Oliver Luck. We need a smart guy running things in Mo-Town and it doesn't hurt that he's now on the committee to choose the final 4. Not that we're anywhere close to being in that discussion anytime soon but when the tide turns and it will, with or without Holgorsen it can't hurt having a guy in the room with our best interest at heart. Oh and for the guy that supports Holgorsen wearing black so that he stands out when calling plays from the sideline, a gold shirt will accomplish that as well.

  • Mike

    All this talk is funny. Butch Jones, Stewart comparisons ect. We can all set here and be arm chair coaches. Bottom line is it is what it is either jump on for the ride or bail off your choice. No need to get all worked up. There is nothing any of us can do about it. You really think Luck is setting here reading these posts saying damn I better fire everyone including myself because ol Big Larry and William are never going to come to another game. Get real people. Don't buy the tickets or watch the games and your lifes problems are solved.

  • Matt

    I totally agree with Pat White. Dana has never been a head coach, and never will be. All of you people that cant see what has happened in the few short years that they forced Eddie P out of here are blind. Bill Stewart was a way better coach than Holgs and Luck needs to go. Clements also, he was in those closed door meetings to hurry and get rid of Eddie. A dear friend of mine Charlie and most everyone in this state know his last name, but i wont say, but he told me the story of how this went down and it was pathetic that the gov. of this state could allow it. EP needs to be given a million dollars to come in clean house and get this football team back to where we once was such a very short time ago.

    • Bryan

      And how do you decide if Stewart was a better coach? Your like for him and dislike for Holgorsen? Stewarts overall record was 36-37 and 2-2 in bowl games. His first three years he was 8-25. Holgorsens overall record is 20-12 and 1-1 in bowl games in two and a half years. The numbers doesn't show he was a better coach. If people would have done to Stewart what you want to do to Holgorsen when he started then he wouldn't made it here. Your right about one thing Holgorsen hasn't been a head coach before, but unless I'm missing something every coach had to start somewhere. He deserves due time to make it or not and 2.5 years and rebuilding in a new conference is not due time.

      • JimJim

        I can't wait until year 5, everyone will be screaming. It's going to be ugly! The Dude can not recruit as well as the Texas school. If you are the best player in Texas are you going to come to WVU?? No way. If you are the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th best are you going to come. Again, no way. If you are the best player in MD, VA, PA, OH do you want to play where your friends and family can see you, no way. Thank You, Lucky, Let's see how far, "it's all about the money" takes WVU.

        • Bryan

          Don't wait, get out now don't need fair weathered fans like you around anyway.

  • Mike

    Vandalia
    Coach Stew stepped into a prime position with players that felt like they had just been punched in the mouth by Rich Rod. Anyone could have coached that team to beat OK.
    What did he accomplish in the Big East against inferior competion from that point on?? Yeah 9-3 season against Big East schools that Martinsburg could probably beat. I loved the man for who he was as a true West Virginian but that doesn't win big time ball games. Point being I'm tired of hearing comparisons of his record vs Holgersons. Yeah he could beat Uconn 17-14 but who couldn't.

  • Phil M.

    Pat White has earned the right to voice his opinion. Best QB in school history. He's as frustrated as we all are. He loves WVU and hates to see us playing the way we are. After all we became a bigger brand under his leadership.

    Now as anyone who has read my opinion will surely agree I'm an alumni and a big homer but, I'm starting to belive that this guy just hasn't got it. We need to cut our loses and move on.

    Can anyone think of a West Virginia guy that can coach and win in Mo-Town ? Should have got Butch Jones but thats not possible now.

  • WVU FAN

    Way to early Chicken little's / Pat White of the world... Dana needs more time and more support. its not like we are playing in the Big East anymore, we need to pull together and gets some wins (I love Pat White, But he doesn't know everything about coaching) Dana needs better support from everyone-Media, fans, players, ex-players & Schools staff ( last,but most important his own staff/players) Let's Goooooo! Ears!!!

    Get your head out of your butts & start fighting for us....start with winning one on one battles...come on! (summer work outs ; did any of you think about football?)

  • JimJim

    Follow the money, The Dude, $10,000+ a day. Think about it.....

  • pghmountaineer

    Bryan, It seems like you don't see the regression in the program. Look at the last 3 seasons (including this one). There is no upswing here. Our defense over the past three years has never been worse. Go back and check the records. We've never given up, on average, this many point per game. And look at the offense, except for the first half of the season, we have been progessively worse. Now that Dana has his recruits playing, look at the results.
    He's paid a ton of money and this is what we get for it. Wow, I'll do it for 1/4th of what he gets paid. How much worse can it get.

    • Bryan

      Look around the NFL this year and there are a lot of WVU players on the rosters from the last two years, many starting on offense and defense. Two started tonight for the Jets. Very few juniors and seniors playing leaving as you said Holgorsens recruits freshmen, red shirt frehmen and sophomores. Add to that as with all coaches before him not a lot of so called 4 star recruits so to think he needs to go without the time to develope his players is crazy. We got lucky with a great group of players RR's last few years and Stewarts era but didn't keep them coming thru recruiting leading us to where we are today. Heck go back and look even in the Nehlen era took a few years to get to 11-1 in 1988 and four struggling rebuilding years to get back to 11-1 in 1993. And to finish, by 1 or 101 it's a win or a loss all the same for the record. Once again coaches have to come up thru the ranks take some bumps and bruise along the way, the man has been a head coach 2.5 years and started at a major program, go look up some other coaches and see what they did and where they started their head coaching comparatively at 2.5 years.

  • Maxxajay

    Go Mountaineers....win or lose ... I am with you to the end ...

  • Jon

    I would like to see Rich Rod back. He was very agressive and had that ability to motivate players and get them to buy in and play hard. Yea we hate how he left but he would not leave again. Everyone makes mistakes give the guy a break.

    • Bryan

      Everyone but Holgorsen you mean?

  • Heart Shot

    I hate the way things are going at wvu too,
    But a good way for Dana to relate to the in state players and coaches would be to honor the young man from South Harrison that lost his life playing a game that he loved. We shoul all step off the bashing wagon and remember this is a game and life goes on after a loss.

  • Dr G

    9-3 - coach stays.

    3-9 - Something has to change.

    If you cannot fire the coach or assistants
    because of a bad contract, you fire the one who signed the contract.

    PS: its just business....

    • Bryan

      Like your logic, this way we can have a new coach every year.