MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Even when West Virginia’s offense piled up 568 yards, it produced enough mistakes to keep Iowa State in the game.

A goal-line fumble on which Wendell Smallwood seemingly stretched the ball across the plane. A Vernon Davis Jr. catch-and-fumble that gave ISU the ball at the Mountaineers’ 38. And in the final three minutes, a Clint Trickett interception that reached Kevin White’s hands only to be wrestled away by Jacques Washington at the WVU 33.

“They were weird turnovers. Weird game,” said Trickett, who also threw an interception on an end-of-regulation Hail Mary from the Iowa State 44.

Boxscore: Iowa State 52, WVU 44

Even as weird mistakes surrounded him, Trickett played one of his better games: He completed 21-of-37 passes for 356 yards and two touchdowns. Gone were the ill-advised throws into coverage that haunted him throughout the season. Surfacing was an acumen for optioning out of bad plays into good ones. Such an occurrence came on a run call that Trickett fired to Mario Alford for a 76-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

That score staked West Virginia to a 38-21 lead. But it also marked WVU’s final touchdown as Iowa State rallied.

In their first two overtime possessions, Trickett and the offense managed two field goals. In the third OT, needing to reach the end zone, West Virginia’s final shot ended at the Cyclones 2-yard line with another weird play—Daikiel Shorts lunging to catch a batted-up pass and being dropped by Iowa State defensive back Deon Broomfield.

“Tough game,” Trickett said. “Tough to end on that and go into the offseason.”

Even after the game, WVU offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson wasn’t sure what transpired on Washington’s sideline interception with 2:46 left that set up Iowa State’s tying touchdown. The replay he saw in the coaching box didn’t reveal much—other than White getting his hands on the ball before tangling with the defensive back, who came up with the turnover.

Dawson described the third-and-10 call as “a pretty safe play” that should have been either a completion or throwaway leading to a punt.

“It’s a seven-point game and a punt’s not bad there,” Dawson said. “You punt it and at least they have to drive the whole field with three minutes left. But we give them a short field, and you can’t do that. Bad timing. Bad, bad timing.”

“It was a rough year and that game was pretty indicative of the whole year.”

West Virginia had its highest-scoring game of the season and it’s second-highest yardage total, yet it continued to struggle on third downs (4-of-16). For the season, WVU converted only 32 percent of third-down tries.

The Mountaineers also failed on both fourth-down tries and ended the year 4-of-18 in that category.

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  • William101

    I always feel like a WVU traitor every time I post on I wish the WVU/Raese law suit would be tried and resolved or settled so that I wouldn't be as conflicted. Whatever happens, Raese's enterprises move on, and WVU moves on. Long run, one would hope for healing and some opportunity for both to do business again. I know this post is way late, but it is a a holiday wish from a reader.

    As to other comments posted, there is always a radical contingency of fans who want change NOW. That's not generally the way change occurs in real life -- As to Luck, I think he'll stay here as long as he wants to. Dana needs to show improvement next year, but I believe our beloved Mountaineers will show improvement.

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all. I'm signing off of commenting on the web articles until after the new year.

  • Grant

    I love the Big12 was a bad move crowd. Despite wanting to be in the ACC or SEC, they didn't and would never invite us. Big 10? Not happening folks. Travel? Take a look at the AAC (what's left of the Big East football), folks we had no choice but to go Big12.

    Will WVU ever be "good" again? Yes, there is too much tradition and resources for it not too. Is Dana the coach to get us there? Who knows.

  • Let's Be Real

    Hey Trickett...Morgantown High is calling...pick up!

  • Let's Be Real

    Hey Trickett....Morgantown High School is calling...pick up.

  • Mike

    If the team had gotten better as the season went along, but it got worse. That is 100% head coaching.

  • Toadman

    I agree that the Big 12 was a bad move for WVU. In a few years the Big 12 will be split up and teams like Texas, Oklahoma, etc. will be absorbed into other major conferences. The rest will be left out in the cold. WVU has a completely different culture than those mid- western teams, not to mention the high cost of travel with the distance and effect on the players. The "grass always looks greener" syndrome reared it's ugly head in our situation and the powers to be decided to jump ship. At the present time we would be better in the American Conference. Going to the Big 12 was a knee jerk reaction rather than being patient and waiting to let the smoke settle with the Big East. Now we are locked into a no win situation that will at some point leave us out in the cold anyway. We can't look for help from the ACC or the SEC because they don't want us in their conferences. Time will tell but the direction we are going I believe, is not the correct direction.

  • mark

    I know I will receive abuse for saying this, but I honestly feel we should give the man another year and support him and the team completely. Other teams have gone through this and have come out of it to be good teams. If we insist on condemning the coach and staff, we will further hurt morale, recruiting, attendance, etc. Let's try taking the high road. Will you be singing his praises if we win 8 games next year? If so, you are the epitome of a hypocrite.

    • Rich

      Good points, we have no choice. We have to continue to support the football program. I just don't think Dana is a HC and I think HE feels this was a bad move for him. If we hit rock bottom next year (3-4 wins) then maybe the administration swallows big and pays him to go away, don't bet on it we don't have those types of resources. I don't think we will see 8 wins, I'm hoping for 6-7 and a trip to a bowl so we can have some positive momentum heading into the 2015 season. After that season I think WVU & Dana will be glad to be rid of one another regardless of how many games we win that year. The bigger question: How bad of shape will our program be by then?

  • Glenn

    I don't normally post on these things but... WVU finished 2-7 in the BIG 12 this year. 5 of the games we lost could have gone in our favor had a few plays went our way. We got killed by Baylor and Maryland this year. To say we don't belong in the Big 12 based on the thesis that we can't compete with the teams in the conference is silly. We did compete, we just fell short in almost all the close games. If anything we should be discussing the lack of ability to play smart and finish games. This year it seemed like we didn't manage the clock efficently late in games with leads, the O-line didn't block well, and we went through 3 QBs who played inconsistent all season. Not to say the players on the team don't want to win, but it does seem like the players don't share our Mountaineer Pride! Maybe that's because most aren't from our beloved state and share our passion for WVU football, but it just seems like the team isn't as invested into the games like the players that have come before... Owen Schmitt wasn't from WV, but he had Mountaineer Pride and understood what it meant to play football in our state!
    That's the kind of player passion our team is lacking!

  • RJ

    It will get better?

  • dave

    WV would never had gotten into the ACC or SEC. The SEC are trickled to death with Missouri and Texas AM. We are in the only conference that would have us. We just need to grow up and compete. It takes coaching, players, and effort from everyone.
    I always said that Bill's teams didn't play with a chip on their shoulders and Dana's don't either. Rich's team played angry and as if they had to prove something. Don't bring back Rich for any reason, but we need a coach that isn't laid back and can bring back the toughness and attitude that Rich's teams had.

  • Betty Cottril

    have watched or seen in person all of WVU's games and it seems to me like the defense only plays the first half of the game and slack off in the second half. The coach needs to tell them they need to play the whole game like they are behind;
    another thing, if a player is a back or receiver, they need to "CATCH" the damned ball if it hits their hands. There is no excuse for so many dropped balls and interceptions. Clint Trickett did a great job at quarterback but he sure didn't get much help from anyone but Alford and Sims. I'm an angry 76 year old lady. There were a lot of bad calls from the coach in that game.

  • pghmountaineer

    Chuck. Fuhggit about it. Holgerson's here to stay and Luck is trying to get out as fast as he can.

  • Ratman

    Yes by all means it was Dana's fault that we fumbled and threw interceptions and did not tackle well. It was a good gameplan and as long as the kids played hard we were good. I support the mountaineers and Dana. You are all a bunch of idiots.

  • Chuck

    First...Luck got us into a conference we don't belong in. The Big 12 is a mid-west conference that is a bad fit for us in many ways. Cost of travel for teams, fans can't afford to travel etc. Had Luck waited one year we could have been in the ACC, Big 10 or possibly SEC, all of which would have been a much better fit and we could have kept some of our rivals. Second...Holgerson - He is not now or never will be a head coach. Luck needs to see and understand this and get rid of him now regardless of what the pay out is. If Luck doesn't see this, the WVU president needs to step in and let both go. I don't know who we could entice to come in and fix the mess that Holgerson has caused but I'm sure we could find someone. (Doc Halliday)

    • Low Rider

      You are delusional to think WVU was ready to gain entry into the ACC, SEC or Big 10. If they wanted us we would have been in before the Big 12 offered. Agree that the Big 12 is not a perfect fit, but it is no different than playing teams in the AAC from Houston and Florida.

      Fire Luck. Never going to happen. Holgerson will get 1 more year. If we fail to gain bowl eligibility next year, he will probably be done at WVU.

    • Aaron

      West Virginia is NEVER going to gain admittance into the Big 10 or the ACC.

      The Big 10 schools are, with the exception of Nebraska AAU Schools. Nebraska voluntarily relinquished their certification for 2 years and will once again be an AAU certified school in the near future.

      Duke and Virginia Tech do not want WVU in the ACC thus WVU had about as chance joining that as one of the posters have in replacing Luck as AD.

      Given the circumstances of conference realignments, unfortunately the Big 12 was the worst best fit for WVU. It was either that or go as an independent in football and regress to the Atlantic 10 in other sports.

      I understand many are upset with this team and this season but at least be realistic.

      • RJ

        Aaron we would have been better to be in the AAC, it still is a BCS conference, at least had a chance for fans, and winning. The future looks bleak for WV. All I see for 2014 for verbal recruits are 1 four star and a bunch of 2 & 3 star JC players, plus several NC recruits. Get use to losing by being in the Big 12. It is what it is.

      • Mike

        Marshall fans are having more fun than us, regardless of conference.

    • Roy Barber

      Sad! But have to agree with you. We are too far from conference play, needed to try and get in the ACC. It is like the Solar System and we are Pluto, way too far away.

    • Frank Boso

      I agree 100%, Chuck. Big 12 a hugely bad move, we simply do not belong and cannot possibly recruit in the Texas/Oklahoma home turf. Who wants their son in a football program where the "NEAREST" away game is 900 miles away? To go to an away game a family faces expensive airfare or taking a week off. TOTAL STUPIDITY by Luck.

  • pghmountaineer

    I have to get this off my chest.
    When Bill Stewart was hired I was very disappointed and I felt like he wasn't capable of being a head coach. Well Coach Stew, if you're up in heaven and reading this, I owe you an apology. You were 10 times the coach we have now and I for one didn't see it.
    Now that Dana is coaching his own recruits it's obvious he and his staff don't have a clue.
    My sincere apology!
    This mess will take many years to clean up.

    • Jonesy

      At least we are not 9-3 :-)