MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Paul Millard’s last three throws of overtime—all incompletions—all had chances to become touchdowns, which made a 47-40 loss to Texas even more painful to accept.

“You’ve got to give credit to Texas. It sucks, but that’s what it is,” said Millard, the junior backup from Dallas who played the final three-plus quarters in relief of a dazed Clint Trickett.

Millard’s bullpen appearance against his home-state Longhorns could have ended differently if not for a convergence of slight miscalculations by various players in OT.

“We had three throws and we didn’t get it done.” — Paul Millard on West Virginia’s failing in OT

In search of the tying touchdown, West Virginia faced second-and-goal at the 4 when Millard rolled right and saw Jordan Thompson pivoting free at the goal line. But Millard’s pass never got there, batted down by blitzing nickel back Quandre Diggs.

On third down, Kevin White ran a slant toward the back of the end zone, beating the Texas cornerback. But Millard’s pass never got there, knocked away by linebacker Steve Edmund who peeled off covering tight end Cody Clay at the goal line.

“I’m not sure what happened, but I know there was a guy who wasn’t supposed to be there,” White said. “(Edmund) just backed up and made a play on the ball. If he wasn’t there, it’s a touchdown.”

On fourth down, WVU’s Mario Alford ran the same slant, this time from the left side, and again beat the cornerback inside. But Millard’s pass never got there, intercepted by Edmund who once again abandoned coverage of Clay.

If Clay appeared to be too close to the receivers, that’s because he was.

“Cody’s got to get out in the flats,” said offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson. “We had what we wanted. The receiver got a great release to the inside on both plays. We wanted (Clay) to pivot out to the sideline to pull (the area open) for the post throw. It just didn’t happen.”

As Texas players poured onto the field in euphoria, Millard stared into the end zone WVU couldn’t reach.

“We had three throws and we didn’t get it done,” he said.

Millard threw for 259 yards on 16-of-32 passing, but he was picked off twice and fumbled four times, losing two.

“That’s just me holding the ball too long,” he said. “They were bringing more guys than we could block, so I’ve got to get the ball out of my hand. Those turnovers were not good.”

Not that Millard was without some moments of productivity. After all, he steered West Virginia to 31 points and beat press-man coverage by firing a 72-yard touchdown to Alford in the fourth quarter. That pass electrified Mountaineer Field and gave his team a 40-37 lead with 7:39 to play. That pass also turned out to be Millard’s final completion of the night.

“We fought our balls off, but you’ve got to give credit to Texas,” he said. “They made more plays than we did.”

Joe Sadlek/All-Pro Photography

West Virginia’s Mario Alford scoots 72 yards with a fourth-quarter touchdown catch.
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Comments

  • Had Enough

    Richard, I was just wondering. does a win over Ga. St feel better than a win over a team like UAB? I've been a lifelong eer's fan but at the end of the day I think we have to admit Doc has his team headed in the right direction, can we say that.

    • BH

      With what's left of CUSA, MU certainly should be doing better this season.

  • richard

    William, I would rather have an overtime lose to Texas than a win against a team like UAB......lmao

    • Jason

      Ask the WVU seniors what they would rather have. I would say they would take a W anyway they can get it. Wins equal bowl games (which equals more practices and game experience for everybody in a program). Doesn't even matter if it is a crappy bowl, more practice and game experience is beneficial to a team. I am a MU fan, trust me, the last decade has been tough, extended experience bowl games provide is invaluable, while disappointing to fans, the players always enjoy them and the extra time is great for younger players.

      • JimJim

        More practices with the Dude. Do you really think that will help? We've seen his best, his OC magic is gone.

  • The Real Matt

    This was an awesome effort, and here is the way to look at this think right. Did Cody run a soft route, probably. This Paul play sloppy, sometimes yes. Did the defense mess up the coverage with Shipley, yes sometimes. BUT, Cody blocked superb all night for Charles Sims, Paul played gutty and managed the game well outside of holding the ball too long. The defense was lights out all night with their back against the wall. Did the Mountainees earn a ton of respect you bet your bottom dollar they did. One final question and answer, is Dana Holgerson the man for the job, abso friggin lutely. O and btw, fall of a cliff Big Larry.

    • PB and J

      I cant say the defense was lights out. They did give up 47 points.

      • Nutbut

        Try 23 (counting overtime) on an extremely short field.

        1 busted coverage...big play score.

        I would say the D battled.

        • PB and J

          No, they gave up 47 points ( I get what you're trying to say) the D was really good the first half, but went backwards in the second half.

          Texas was 9 for 13 on 3rd down conversions and WVU can not win a game with that.

          The D played WAY better than previous games, but again, it wasn't lights out as previously stated. Mostly, the D did not lose this game.

          • Jason

            Reasonable comment.

      • Dan

        D was put in bad situation all night by Trickett whom dropped the ball how many times? Then Millard. How many redzone stops? D did very well, with some notable exceptions. If we had a QB, we would have won that ball game. Trickett, please eat some sandwiches and lift some weights. Millard, hang a tire on a tree and throw at it.

  • jeepster

    nice call on the first play of o.t.,but it ends there. you have 3 chances to go 4 stinking yards,and you pass? Don't blame yourself Paul,the 'offensive wizard' comes through again

    • jeepster

      and once again,holgy takes none of the blame himself. his antics on the sidelines remind me of a 10 year old. after a big play by Texas,he is pouting and stomping instead of helping regroup for the next play. in other words,instead of.........coaching!

    • Moon

      4 plays to get 5 yards...best player on the field gets the ball 4 times and we score..but that was not the play that cost us. With 3 minutes left on 3rd and One we take Sims out and run DS up the middle for zilch. Can't argue with punting the ball there....but in retrospect is was a losing decision. 2nd and 1 with 3 minutes left, a three point lead around mid field.....that is the moment when you have to win...we did not grab victory and run out the clock. Huge.....

      • Whatamoroon

        I agree with you. The game was lost right there. You have two downs to get 1 yard and keep the clock moving.. We failed and lost.

    • Chuck

      Did you watch the game??? Texas put 9 in the box. Cannot block them all period. Without a Mobil qb you are at a numbers disadvantage. Could not run those final 3 plays. Check 1st down. Gained 0. Reason. 9 in the box. They gave us man with no safety. That is not ego. That's football. You have to try to take what you are given. We cannot nor any other team run against more than you can block. Period.

  • Whatamoroon

    All I can say is Nehlen had days like this in the early 80's and Rodriguez had days like this in the early 2000's. Holgorsen is really close to getting over the hump.

    • GregG

      I've been a season ticket holder for 20+ years and from what I have seen Holgorsen couldn't fly over this "hump" with a truck load of red bull.

  • cummjl

    matt go help willam and root for marshall

    • Matt

      A fan has a right to cheer and jeer his team.

      So quick to throw that MU card out, but considering the shape WVU is in why not. WVU is 6-10 in the Big 12, they're not exactly impressing the conference any.

      Again, I'm no fan of Murder U, but you have to give them some credit.

      • Jason

        Doc is one of the best recruiters in the country, and he isn't a bad HC. In hindsight, WVU would have been better off offering him that position originally.

  • Big Dave

    I noticed during the game that Clay didn't clear out.

    Great goal lone calls by Dana. Cody just made a lazy effort twice that cost us a chance to win the game.

    That being said, Millard manages the game much better than Tricket. Dana clock's management is vastly improved.

    • Matt

      That's smart, blame the guy who goofed 2 plays, not the guy who had 4 turnovers that helped lead to a Texas victory.

      I'm a WVU fan, but I find myself starting to want them to lose more and more just so they can fix this coaching mess.

      • Big Dave

        That's right; I am blaming him. The game is on the line and he has a job to do. Not a nerdy hard one. Clear out. Clay failed to do it. Not once, but twice. With the game on the line.

        It's inexcusable and it cost is a chance to win the game.

        You win as a team and you lose as a team, but you cannot deny that Clay cost us with the game on the line.

        • Jim

          It is not coaching, it is not the defense, it is not Cody Clay or anyone on the offense other than the QB position.

          5 turnovers, all from the QB, all we need to know.

      • JimJim

        Agree!

  • Joe

    William, and your companion personalies Big Larry and Big Tom, we're begging you.....refill that lithium.

    It truly will help you....er, uh, youse.

  • wvajoker

    mauldawg, MU fans have something to be proud of....William associates himself with them. Did I say proud???

  • Bobby M

    Our offensive LINE is weakest LINK!!!

  • wvajoker

    I agree lifetimehunter. It is a sad day to be William wherever he may be and always a good day to be a Mountaineer. I wonder how his Green Team would have fared against Texas. Texas would have beaten them without needing overtime.

  • mauldawg

    William is a pea brain MU fan. The Fan of a team that has not beaten a team with a winning record. The teams MU has beaten have a record of 9-36,something to be proud of. How ever all MU fans have to have something to be proud after all the live in (little Detroit) Huntington. That alone would ruin my day.

    • Jason

      Haha...you talk trash and say you do not care about MU, yet you research their games, opponents, ect. You invest some time in something you don't care about. Can you at least admit the irony to that.

    • Mister Man

      Aside from MU fans, their team's opposition is just something else that makes us laugh.

  • lifetimehunter

    Its a sad day to be William wherever he may be....

  • William

    It's a sad year to be a Mountaineer fan WHEREVER YOU MAY BE
    I'm lovin' IT

    • squad

      you know, will you think you run clean here by your crap but one day you will absorb all that you've shelled out and I wouldn't want to see when it happens to you. you'd better do a better job of what you do with your time or you're gonna have a hell of a hard time dealing when the payback comes your way. it will-it always does to everyone....

      don't believe me? don't say i didn't warn you..i've done my job now to let you know. when it happens....you're playing with stuff that will come back in your face. sooner than you ever imagined.

    • Graywv

      Unlike your sorry life, its never a bad time to be a mountaineer, its always a good day to be a Mountaineer! We love our kids and appreciate their effort on our behalf, see, we recognize the reality of the situtation Texas is one of the elite programs-going 4-5 deep with HS All-americans at every position. Yet, we were in the game at the end with a chance to WIN. Thats what all great coachs ask for is that chance to win at the end!

    • PhotoBoothe

      I notice Marshall's ads no longer claie to "play for championships.," not they "play for the front..." What, front of the bus....?

      • Jason

        Translate to American English. Please and thank you.

    • martinsburg resident

      It's a bad day to be William wherever (His mother's basement) he may be! Is Marshall "High School" University going to a bowl?

  • William

    WVU fans don't get down, U still have a chance of going to The Pinstripe bowl again!

    • Yogi Wahoo

      Does your mom know your on the computer at 3:30 a.m. or is the basement pretty quiet?