Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett was sacked twice by Kansas State, including this play by Chaquil Reed.


MANHATTAN, Kan. — The capacity crowd that emptied from Bill Snyder Family Stadium under a purple sunset sensed they had witnessed a transformation in their K-State team. For the visiting squad, however, 35-12 was more confirmation: Testament that a program in this deep of a rebuilding mode doesn’t have a “soft portion” of the schedule. Proof that a bowl berth is now more of a long shot than a likelihood.

Here’s the unit-by-unit breakdown, unflattering though it may be, after West Virginia’s late collapse against the Wildcats:

Despite being benched for the final two drives, Clint Trickett remains West Virginia’s quarterback. Then again, despite making four starts, he’s still not the guy Dana Holgorsen trusts to operate the hurry-up offense.
At least that was the public explanation offered for Paul Millard’s curious relief appearance. But Holgorsen also seemed perturbed about Trickett’s inaccuracy on routine throws and, of course, those two fumbles. The second one was especially careless as K-State safety Ty Zimmerman pried the ball loose with one hand after Trickett scrambled into open space.
Trickett’s scrambling yielded a 6-yard touchdown in the second quarter and, by making a concerted effort to throw more underneath passes for a second straight game, he completed 15-of-28 for 227 yards. Yet he was 0-of-3 passing in the red zone and completed only 3-of-9 on third downs.
Millard, stepping into a 16-point hole and asked to author a miracle, was 4-of-14 with an interception on the game’s final play.
The quick, choppy feet of Charles Sims resulted in a 5.3 per-carry average, but it was too bad Sims carried only eight times. Even though WVU continued to feature him in the passing game—for a team-high seven catches covering 54 yards—were 15 touches out of 71 plays sufficient?
K-State kept Sims’ sidekick Dreamius Smith in check, limiting the junior to 23 yards on seven carries. He looked timid on a first-and-goal run from the 5, cutting away from the designed hole, and WVU settled for a field goal. Late in the game Smith whiffed on a fourth-down blitz pickup, allowing Charmeachealle Moore to hit Millard’s arm mid-throw.

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Daikiel Shots made three catches vs, K-State, but was open on several other occasions.
Ronald Carswell caught a 50-yard bomb but let another pass ricochet off his shoulder pads. Kevin White took a tunnel screen 43 yards only to drop a slant on the very next snap. Vernon Davis gained 8 yards on an end around but dropped what should have been his first career catch on a ball thrown slightly behind him.
Offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson’s summation of WVU’s irregular passing-game: “It’s just the non-executing of routine plays. Wide-open people, and we can’t hit them. Can’t catch it when we do.”
Jordan Thompson (three catches for 41 yards) set up WVU’s first touchdown with a 13-yard reception over the middle, hanging on despite a crunching hit by Zimmerman. Daikiel Shorts gained 36 yards on three catches, including a 20-yarder on third-and-2.
West Virginia netted 3.6 yards per carry against what has been a decidedly average K-State run defense, and the Wildcats devoted only six defenders to the box for most of he game. The pass protection allowed three hurries and two sacks—one of which resulted in a lost fumble by Trickett.
Right tackle Curtis Feigt had difficulty against relentless defensive end Ryan Mueller, who spun by to strip Trickett. Nick Kindler was flagged for holding holding and continues to be merely serviceable at right tackle.
Pat Eger’s afternoon was cut short early in the second quarter when linebacker Blake Slaughter rolled into the center’s left ankle. Three plays later, backup Tyler Orlosky surrendered a coverage sack to Chaquil Reed.
The six TFLs were too much for an offense that typically can’t overcome such hiccups, but the news wasn’t all bad. Quinton Spain made some sealed and Mark Glowinski threw a key block to spring White on his 43-yard screen.

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

West Virginia defensive lineman Will Clarke (98) pressures Kansas State quarterback Jake Waters (15) during the first half at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
K-State patiently stuck with its ground game, but those 157 yards only amounted to 3.7 yards per rush. Mini-menace John Hubert gained 19 yards on the Wildcats’ first play and finished with 86 yards on 19 carries. WVU contained mobile quarterback Daniel Sams to 16 yards on 14 carries, but Jake Waters posted a surprising 55 yards on 10 runs.
Will Clarke made two TFLs among his four tackles, and in a game where K-State’s QBs threw only three incompletions, he the defensive line contributed two breakups (Clarke and Kyle Rose).
Shaq Rowell committed one of WVU’s three penalties, jumping offsides, and was part of a nose-tackle rotation that included Noble Nwachukwu, Eric Kinsey and even true freshman Darrien Howard, who sacrificed a redshirt by appearing in the eighth game of the season.
“We needed him,” said defensive coordinator Keith Patterson.
Nick Kwiatkoski registered West Virginia’s lone sack, chasing down Sams outside the pocket, and later poked a fumble loose from Sams to temporarily delay K-State taking the lead in the third quarter. A team-high 12 tackles seemed to indicate Kwiatkoski is fully recovered from the hamstring issue that sidelined him for parts of three games.
However, Kwiatkoski fell victim to a fake-run jump pass that resulted in a 32-yard Waters’ completion to Curry Sexton. The same run-into-the-line play-action that sucked up Jared Barber on Sams’ 15-yarder to Sexton. Not surprising that a Bill Snyder-coached team would still be utilizing single-wing concepts.
On the outside, Isaiah Bruce and Brandon Golson made six tackles each, but neither was able to pressure the passer during the crucial drives in the second half. Nor was the unit wasn’t as sound on its gap responsibility as Keith Patterson had hoped
K-State’s quarterbacks combined to go 18-of-21 passing and, get this, 13-of-13 in the second half. That’s some impressive pitching-and-catching there, and these weren’t dink and dunks. WVU’s secondary isn’t talented enough to hold water when the pass rush is lacking and the linebackers are biting on play-action, and thus, Saturday devolved into a brutal exploitation.
Along with a 12-tackle day, Karl Joseph stopped two red-zone threats, stripping Waters in the opening quarter and recovering Sams’ fumble in the third.
But the safety also busted a coverage by failing to bracket Tyler Lockett on K-State’s first touchdown. It was  third-and-15 when Joseph followed tight end Zach Trujillio into the flat, leaving Lockett—the Wildcats’ most dangerous receiver—room to beat cornerback Icky Banks inside on the deep post.
While strong in run support, Joseph can be exploited in man coverage, which was the case when Tramaine Thompson worked him for a 30-yard touchdown that put K-State up 21-12 in the fourth quarter.
With freshman Daryl Worley reportedly sidelined by an injury, Banks was victimized repeatedly by Lockett, including a lapse in which the smaller receiver leaped for 9-yard touchdown catch in the back of the end zone.
With eight catches for 111 yards, Lockett was an equal opportunity abuser, running past Travis Bell on a 24-yard scoring catch.
Said Holgosen in his trademark sarcasm: “When they’re running routes our defenders are supposed to cover them.”
With the wind at his back, Josh Lambert crushed a career-best 50-yard field goal and also chipped in a 21-yarder, but WVU’s kicking unit committed two glaring gaffes. First came a blocked PAT when K-State’s Travis Britz burst through the middle of the line; and then moments before the half, holder Michael Molinari called for an ill-advised fake field goal on fourth-and-7 at the 9.
Holgorsen said WVU’s staff intended to run the fake only if K-State repeated an alignment shown earlier. Despite KSU presenting a different look, Molinari took the snap and ran off the left side for a 4-yard gain. “We obviously didn’t get through to Mike what we needed to get through to him,” Holgorsen said. “It wasn’t the correct look, wasn’t the correct call.”
Nick O’Toole marked his Ray Guy nomination by punting like Family Guy, averaging 32 yards on five attempts (four of those which were into a stiff wind.) One positive bi-product of O’Toole’s bad day: K-State’s nation-leading punt returners didn’t have a chance to work their magic.
From the communication breakdown on the fake field goal to the team’s complete meltdown in the second half, this was another failed mission for the coaching staff. K-State entered with just as many deficiencies as WVU, yet Bill Snyder’s crew showed more poise and resilience in dominating the game’s late stages.
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  • Moon

    You have got to think about who would replace him? I can't think of anyone. The mistake we made is not hiring someone who has been a head coach. He is learning at our expense....I think we have to keep him and hope he learns, gets better and brings in some talent. It is tough to swallow but we are in deep with this guy and we need to ride it out for at least another year. Man it hurts to say that...

  • Jock Strap

    Glad we all have opinions, mine is this team is actually only a qb and a few good db's away from being a real good team.

  • mentalvoyeur

    Holgerson took the most talented team we have had in 20 years and drove them into the ground last year. He was an investment and turned out to be a bad investment. So cut our losses now or ride this investment down to $0.00

    I believe part of our problem is that our program has never been as strong as we have thought. We had good records in a conference that has been on life support for a while. We have played in a confernece that has had an undeserving BCS bid. We considered ourselves to be a top tier football program when in reality we have been the strongest team in a weak conference. I've said all along that going to the big twelve was going to be a mistake and we had might as well get used to never going to a good bowl again. WVU would have been better off staying with the now AAC and continued a winning tradition.

    some will argue that my statements lack vision and forethought that leaders like oliver luck posess. Let me remind you that Hitler had a vision. Just because someone has a vision does not make him a prophet. Some times he is just a schizophrenic in need of medical attention

    So where do we go from here? Fire Holgerson and his groupies. Cut our losses and reinvest what we have left. Take Oliver luck to court and sue him over his bad investment advice. Lower our expectations and accept that we will probably have at least a decade of mediocre seasons. Build our team based on solid fundamentals and experienced professionals. No more long shots, no more false prophets and no more coaches that are in need of psychologiccal help.

  • squad



    • squad


  • Toadman

    You can say what you want, the fact is, both Rich Rod and Coach Stew were both masters at making halftime adjustments.
    Ollie it's time to cut bait and get rid of the bad apples. Not at year end. NOW! Holgerson and the rest of his coaches must go! Clean house and start over! It's going to take 3-5 years to clean this mess up so you might as well get started at rebuilding the program now, and while you are at it, get rid of those crappy chicken s--- helmets too.

    • squad

      hello toadman hello hello
      hello to you toadman

  • pghmountaineer

    In defense of those who are calling for a coaching change, I think it boils down to what these guys are getting paid and the results they are showing on the field. They are not paid the ungodly amounts of money to have two or three loosing seasons so that maybe they could have a wining record every three of four years. I doubt anyone would be for keeping them if you had to pay their salries out of your own pockets.
    In addition to that, I think we could tolerate a loosing season or two if the team continued to show improvement. That is certainly not the case here. You can't deny that when Rich Rod was the coach the teams showed promise and improvement and there was excitement in the stadium every year. This team and program are going backwwards just like the Basketball program.
    And if you think we're on the upswing, look at this year's recruiting class. Scout has us currently at no. 49.
    And please don't tell me it's because of where we're located. Kids will go most places to play for a wining program and a coach they like and respect.

  • JACK

    Bring back rich rod he could turn all this around... oh yeah all you ignorant fans ran him off too just like your about to do Holgerson. Mora to my rant everyone loves you if your winning when your loosing run and hide start chanting bring back stew since he did so much...

    • squad

      what a bunch of small sized hillbilly whiners. a couple years at the start of our big 12 deal. I just pray that this group of emails is not reflective of the intelligence and the general handling of management styles are not reflected by these panic stricken fools. I don't know these people and im damned glad im either not under your households or riding in your car with you at the wheel. grow up will you? how long will it be before these hillbillies come to accept the new reality. seems like they keep denying it-comparing this to the BE rr and stew teams. you guys are way way way out to lunch. reality has changed. how long till the keg beer dumb wing of the hillbilly fan base gets it?

  • Gunga Din

    Sims is the only bright spot in an otherwise dismal season.

  • Joe

    We will have Dana thru 2015. Take that money to the bank. Sad truth is, if we would have won 10 or 11 last year, there would still be the same talk. So, real fans, get on board and let's ride this thing out.

  • Mountaineerfan

    WVU doesn't show interest in in-state recruits like they should unless they know they are just practice team material. Switzer and crousier and gaydosz all should be at wvu. Yet the coaches failed to show any interest.

    • Larry

      Those guys are just average college players.

  • Jock Strap

    The only mistake that has been made was Luck using the words "national championships" which has stirred up the over zealous fan base. Try for one minute to be realistic and judge the season for what it was projected to be and that is exactly where we are at. The only people expecting more are the fans. All the journalist and publications had WVU right where they are now. Luck didn't say we would contend for "national championships" from day one that Holgorsen took over, but that he felt a change in direction neede to take place to get us in that direction. It's a whole new ball game for us now, like it or not this conference is better top to bottom overall than the old big east. Yes we won games, won BCS bowls and played in one championship game in our big east time but we have a new conference now and when the dust settles we will once again be the same caliber team as we were in the big east .

  • Larry

    Maybe we should all keep things in perspective, and quit worrying about trivial things like sports.

  • tw eagle

    the best part of the last two weeks is that I have come to the conclusion that Quint Spain won't be leaving early for the draft . . .who would draft him higher than the 7th round?

    Tricketts naked bootleg reminded me of Hostetler . . .i'm a little slow on the "big Picture " at times , but , WVU has had its best successes when wielding an unorthodox and unpredictable offense . . .WHY? WVU, not having a lot of homegrown D1 talent and can't recruit "great" O lines or cant miss RB's. . .WVU has had some great drop back QB's who have hung some big numbers, but had little team success . . .

    what i'm slowly getting at is, if holgerson's program of offensive success is based on QB's whose main attribute is staying in the pocket and throwing darts WVU will certainly win some games , but never have the success that it achieved during the Major Harris or Pat White eras . . .WVU is building a good D, lacking the safety help in pass coverage, this years D ain't that bad . . . and next year with Worley and Dillon on the corners it should be real good one . . .

    SO, I suggest AD Luck sit down with Holgerson and hash out the future of WVU football , make sure they are both "on the same page " . . .if the kid from Baltimore doesn't show up in Morgantown on a football scholarship, I start looking in earnest for another HC . . .