MANHATTAN, Kan. — Just when West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen seemed to have settled on a quarterback, Clint Trickett’s erratic arm made things unsettling.
Trickett completed 15-of-28 passes for 227 yards, but missed several open receivers throughout the afternoon. After Kansas State reeled off three consecutive second-half touchdowns, Holgorsen turned to Paul Millard for the final 7:31 of what became a 35-12 loss.
“You’ve got to be able to throw to open people and complete it, and Clint was not doing that,” Holgorsen said.
Trickett’s final pass attempt was an overthrow of Jordan Thompson streaking down the right hash. On the next play, Trickett scrambled 5 yards for a first down only to have the ball stripped by K-State safety Ty Zimmerman at the Wildcats’ 46-yard line.
“The frustration level is high. I’m frustrated with myself, it’s obvious,” said Trickett, whose record dipped to 1-3 as a starter at West Virginia. “I’ve got to play better.”
Trickett’s streaky performance began with 1-of-6 passing as WVU punted four times in the first quarter and trailed 7-0. Then he hit on nine straight passes and 10-of-13 as the Mountaineers took a 9-7 lead in the second quarter. Included in that stitch was a 6-yard touchdown scramble and a 50-yard hookup to Ronald Carswell that led to a field goal.
Even during the second half, Trickett made two excellent throws: an on-rhythm screen that Kevin White took for 43 yards (leading to another field goal) and a 20-yard deep out to Daikiel Shorts. But Trickett also lost two fumbles, and missed Cody Clay on a third-and-5. By the time K-State led 28-12, Holgorsen went to Millard in the bullpen.
“When we were down two touchdowns, we obviously have to pick the pace up, run two-minute offense and throw the ball more,” Holgorsen said. “Paul has a little more experience spreading the ball around.”
Alas, Millard went 4-of-14 on two final drives: one that culminated on downs at the K-State 36-yard line and another that was intercepted by Dorrian Roberts.
“I thought he did a very average job,” Holgorsen said of Millard’s relief cameo.
Offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson was reluctant to call WVU’s quarterback battle re-opened.
“Going into the game Clint had played well, but he had a bad series, went out there and missed a few open guys,” he said. “So we tried to put somebody in there to give us a spark.”