MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — After consecutive second-half stumbles in which West Virginia lost leads, lost games and lost face, Shaq Rowell said the prospect of missing a bowl game in his senior season “is hitting hard.”

The big nose tackle’s prediction for Saturday’s matchup at TCU? The winner will wind up bowl-eligible, while the loser—though still mathematically alive for the postseason—won’t recover.

“I don’t care if TCU sees this video or not—we have to beat these guys,” Rowell said. “They’re just like us, 3-5. We’re both lagging. Whoever wins this game, they’re going to bowling. Period, point-blank. Whoever loses, they’re not going to go bowling.”

West Virginia has appeared in bowls each of the past 11 seasons, while TCU owns an eight-year streak.

Rowell leveled frustrations over WVU’s meltdowns the past two weeks: Texas Tech closing the game with 21 unanswered points to win 37-27, followed by Kansas State scoring 28 points in the final 18 minutes to run away for a 35-12 victory.

“I believe we’re supposed to be 5-3 and not 3-5 right now,” Rowell said.

While losing three straight games overall, West Virginia’s total defense ranking (452.5 yards) has dropped to 102nd nationally out of 123 FBS teams. The inevitable spate of injuries has contributed to the downfall—WVU was missing three starters against K-State, along with three backups.

“The coaches don’t want to say it, but I’m going to say it: There’s a lot of guys that are hurting on defense,” Rowell said. “We’ve taken so many reps from the offense going three-and-out every other trip, it’s starting to put a burden on the defense.”

Third-down situations have been a pock mark on both sides of the ball: the defense ranking 101st in conversions allowed (44.4 percent), the offense at 111th while converting only 30.3 percent.

“We just need to find a way as a team … The defense needs to get off the field on third down and the offense needs to stay on the field on third down.”

Joe Sadlek/All-Pro Photography

Shaq Rowell (90) says WVU’s spate of offensive three-and-outs has taken a toll on the defense, though he admits both sides need to improve on third downs.

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  • Justin

    honestly to watch this wvu team in a bowl would be punishment..last year was the worst bowl game ive ever seen

  • WV07

    This is a sad day in college football...these teams are both jokes coached by jokers.

  • tw eagle

    with a possible bowl on the line , I already know the end of the stick WVU will be getting from the officiating crew . . .

    the O line is the toughest position to play on a football team , that's why the smartest (IQ)
    guys on a team are usually found there . . .the only time it's fun to play there is when you have a runner who actually knows how to find a crease and the quickness to take advantage of it . . .pass blocking takes a siege mentality , there are never any prisoners taken . . .NEVER an fun. . .

    the D takes guys with quickness both afoot and mentally . . .they are always reacting to what the O is doing . . .a well coached and talented D can run stunts and blitzes to try and confuse the blocking or disrupt the timing of the O . . .

    the O , the "playmakers" who get all the glory , have the easiest job . . .they are creating , not reacting to , the action on the field . . .EXECUTE . . .that's all they have to do , practice the same thing over and over till its second nature . . .and then execute the same on gameday . . .

    of these three elements , which is the weakest group playing their home games on Mountaineer Field ?

  • C.H

    I love WV Football , I bleed blue and gold and it is hard to take where we are right now. In a State that we find ourselfs at the bottom of most all good list and at the top of most bad , it means more to us than other places in the Country. Its just a game and really shouldnt make us feel this damm bad, but it does. I try to make myself not care, but its just not in me. Say what you will, but we are different than most of the Country. We have been in decline since the days of Pat White. We belived we could win and we expected to do so. Everyone felt proud to be wearing that WV, ball cap. I dont know how we get back to that level , but I sure miss being there.

  • pghmountaineer

    ment. I don't buy your premise. No way should we ever consider ourselves bottom feeders. You may feel that way, but if our AD and coaches feel that way then they all need to go immediately. We can play in this league and do very well. We just need coaches who can raise the talent level through coaching and recruiting.
    Morgantown is a great place compared to a lot of college campuses and all we need is a coaching staff good enough to take it to the next level.

  • mentalvoyeur

    We had better get used to third teir bowls and be gratefull for them. We are not the program that we built ourselves up to be. We were the strongest team in the Big East, a conference that collapsed upon itslef. The Big East had an underserving BCS bid left over from when it was a real conference. That is the only reason we were playing in BCS bowls. Even our 9-3 year we deserved a second tier bowl.

    we can not handle his level of competition week in and week out. It is too much for us. However, we made our bed and now we have to lay in it. It will be a long, long time (if ever) we play in the playoffs or a bcs bowl. Our only way to ensure third tier bowl games is to schedule more FCS games, which i'm not even sure is possible.

    • mentalvoyeur

      whether we like to admitt it or not, our place is at the AAC table, not the big twelves. instead of sitting at the head of the table eating the king's cut, we are the runts of the big twelve fighting for scraps from their table

  • WVcoal

    You Know -- WVU isn't going bowling this year regardless of the outcome of the TCU game.
    This Mountaineer team has no desire. They play more like Mountainettes.


  • pghmountaineer

    Jock, I agree. I'm not faulting Luck for hiring Dana, it's just that I think he jumped the gun in giving him such a lucrative deal without him proving that he can inprove the program.
    Seeing a lot in the business world as I have, I don't believe that the Texas AD job just came up. I'm sure this retirement was in the works for sometime and Luck's involvement started long before this became public.
    At least it looks that way to me.

    • Jock Strap

      Yeah it's defientely something to ponder for sure truth be known with his connections to Texas this WVU job could have been AD in training all along. As for Holgorsen proving himself it's no secret I'm hoping he makes it, my thought would be give him two more years so his recruiting classes will range from seniors to freshman, if there's no improvement then, even I will be for sending him packing. If he can turn things around and then decides to leave I still think that will put WVU in a good position as well showing some other good coordinators that you can come to WVU and be successful or even entice a well known established coach to jump on board. Either way at this point I guess it's wait and see.

  • wvu1983

    who really cares any more. I am just waiting for high school playoffs that will be a lot more exiting to watch then holgerson and clowns.

  • pghmountaineer

    Here's a thought. Is it possible that the Texas AD job was confidentially discussed, perhaps a year ago, that it would become open and Luck would be a strong candidate. So, as a result, he rewards Dana and Huggs lucrative contracts just in case he's not here to protect them both no matter what the results are on the field or on the b ball floor.

    • Jock Strap

      Usually agree with a lot of your post but here's another thought , Luck took a chance on a offensive coordinator with a successful background as many others AD's in the past have that could possibly turn into a mistake in turn regulating Dana back to offensive coordinator status again for the rest of his career? People do make mistakes and one like this has happened before at other schools.

    • Big Larry

      What really scares me is that WVU wins 3 more games and makes it to a bowl and then Oliver "I love to give extended contracts" Luck offers Holgorsen the same deal he offered Huggins and WVU can never fire him.

      Yes, It's a sad day to be a WVU football fan...wherever you may be!

  • Robert

    We need bowl game for extra practices for young players. At least 3 extra weeks. Without bowl, other Big 12 teams gain another advantage!

  • Robert

    The true advantage of a bowl game at this point is for the extra practices. Bowl teams will get to practice for at least 3 extra weeks. That extra time is important for the younger players and the loss of those practices gives other bowl teams from the Big 12 an advantage. If you love the EERS, let's all pull for 3 more W's.

    • Rick S.

      Perhaps that is part of the problem. Perhaps some or most of the players don't want those extra weeks of practice. Perhaps some or most of the players just want to get the season over with. It sure looks like it at times.

  • Joe

    We are now paying the price for the 9-3 coach that was fired. 25 unfilled scholarships sitting on the shelf. No depth and a decling ranking in recruiting status. We are now living out that legacy. Holgerson can answer in the next two years when his recruiting begins to pay off or not.

    • Mister Man

      You're not living in a dream world. Good post.

    • John

      Agree 100%. All of a sudden after Stew's death everyone wants to put him on a pedestal. The games WVU was winning during Stew's run were players RR recruited. Give Holg time to build and get his players on the field.

      • Mister Man


      • Jock Strap

        Agree, two more years and Dana will have classes from seniors to freshman, then if it isn't working out maybe a change will be needed.

        • susanf

          Nah, then the Holgertrolls will just come up with more lame excuses why he isn't succeeding. It will be everyone's fault but his.

          • Jock Strap

            If you actually followed the program maybe you would know that Holgorsen has admitted the staff including himself could improve.

    • Dale

      Joe your living in a dream world, wake up and stop drinking the Dana koolaid.

  • WV alum

    Hope this helps. Alumni is plural--more than one. Alum is singular--one.

    How about a story on Women's Soccer team for winning the Big 12 Championship this season!

    • WV alum

      100 % correct. Alum has more than one definition. It can mean male or female.

      Figured alumnus and alumnae would be overkill.

    • PCM

      Half right.... "Alum" is NOT a singular term. Alum is part of a chemical compound.

      "Alumnus" is the word you are looking for.
      "Alumni" is plural.
      "Alumnae" specifically describes female Alumni.

  • Chad

    Kenny, sure lets hire Holiday. He recruits well. But still can't win at Marshall.

    • GoEers

      Recruits well? Last two recruiting classes were ranked in the 80's. Marshall needs to fire it's coaches and AD.

      • John

        Totally agree - GoEers. The best two things to happen in Morgantown was Doc and Steve Dunlap moving on. I still think the best is ahead for the eers. RR didn't exactly have great years until he got his players in place. Realistically I would guess we will be good about every 5 years with 5th year red shirt seniors. The way it was when we were in the real Big East with Miami, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, Boston College, and Pitt.