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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  • Rich

    Here's what's "weird:" I think Dana realizes he's not HC material, he doesn't like being in WV and would gladly accept being an OC at some small school in Texas. You can tell from his sideline demeanor and press conference body language. But, seriously, who's dumb enough to walk away from $11 million? Mrs. Holgerson didn't raise that big of a fool. The problem is the people who hired Dana can't afford to get rid of him so Dana is "stuck" making $11mil in a job/state that he doesn't like nor wants to be in. Therefore what motivation does he have to work harder and "turn things around?" To get an extension? He doesn't want one, he just wants to move on but his employer is going to make him earn his $11million. We're stuck with Dana and he's stuck with us in this bad marriage, trying to make it work, you know, for the kids(WVU fans) Sometimes a divorce, despite the cost, is best for both sides, especially the kids(fans)

    • Frank Boso

      This Holgorsen contract is right from the "school of stupid". Luck was an idiot for signing it.

      • Mike

        Big idiot for signing it. The WVU President should investigate. Oh, we don't have a President.

    • big tom

      I think I have to agree with you and with his performance at wvu, no one will be trying to hire him away...
      he and luck would have to agree on a package if someone else wanted him, and hoepfull at a reduced amt.

      dana's body language shows he has given up, and is in over his head.

  • Robin

    Just a very disappointing season. It appears to me that we have lost our identity, our heart if you will.

  • richard

    i love you coach nehlen.

  • big tom

    there is nothing to make me believe that we will be any better next yr maybe worse

  • John

    Fire Luck as well

  • John

    Fire Holgerson today. He should have been fired last night. Fire the entire coaching staff. Yes, it's a big payout but maybe the bleeding can be stopped from WVU sports.

    • jeepster

      i agree with you,John. don' t pay any attention to Andrew Luck........

    • Andrew

      You're an idiot

      • John

        From your intellectual reply, you must be a WVU graduate

  • tw eagle

    that's your problem dawson , 'it was a safe play' - every game WVU has had a lead in the 2nd half , you and the resident O genius
    go conservative , lose momentum , and essentially give the games away .. . .firing
    the genius would be costly , and a possible
    mistake if the incoming class of recruits still
    decides to head to WVU . . .but someone has
    to "fall on their sword" for the debacle in
    Kansas , just for that one horrid game . . .BUT , also to deliver a message to the reigning O guru that his masterpiece of
    'air raid' nonsense has a lot of flaws - namely him . . .

  • james

    dana need to go, he always get out coach. i love wvu win or lose, i am always a wvu fan. but when you let a team come back and win and the defense and offense cant do anything it the coaching staff. i know luck will not fire him. just hope for a better recruits and a better season next year.

  • Tim C

    Don't blameTrickett for the interceptions. Davis and White failed to secure the football, plain and simple. As big and strong as White is, and as talented as he is, he fails to secure the ball at times. Maybe, just maybe he belongs in JUCO.

    • Doug

      The last ball intercepted thrown to White was WAY BEHIND him. Even school yard QB know you have to lead your receiver which is something Trickett hasn't done all year. Every QB we have can't do that. Did any of you think we were going to be good with Florida States 3rd string QB as a starter?

    • joey

      tim c it is hard to secure the ball when it is thrown to your hip & not your hands. how do you think Washington got his hands on the ball. off of whites hip.

      • Mike

        3 complete failures at QB. Unbelievable.

  • Daniel

    I'm just thankful this season is OVER!!! This season was very hard to stomach for many reasons: turnovers, injuries and lack of focus. They will improve, but don't expect miracles. Still a long way to go to regain respectability and being a serious contender to win the Big XII. Happy holidays to everyone! :)

  • nate

    Football is a called a game of inches because that's all there is between success and failure.

    • Frank Boso

      The 6-7 inches between Luck's and Holgorsen's ears are the 2 biggest problems.

    • joey

      yea the six inches between your ears

    • PB and J

      With this team, it should be measured in miles.....

  • nate

    Well I would have loved to have had Trickett in the spring. Not enough time to learn and build a continuity with receivers. The D is slightly improved but one year was not going to fix that problem no matter what. The coaching staff if it stays intact, will be the first that has not had any changes since Dana took over. You can argue over how many seniors we loose that saw a lot of snaps 8 or 13. Bottom line the success we have had we could overcome these things in a watered down big east not the big 12. We never had a unbeaten season once miami and vt left and yes we won bcs bowls with a month to prepare. If we are going to succeed next season it will be because of a team loaded with upperclassmen and cohesion between coaching staff. 87 and 92 were years like these with similar circumstances and 88 and 93 were magical years I look at all this and say we can have a very special season next year. But many things have to go our way no better way to repair than a win over alabama.

    • jeepster

      nate,nate, you really think we are going to beat alabama??? this is going to be embarassing! the only good thing that can come of that game is the money(i assume that is why Lucky scheduled it)

  • joey

    Shannon i can tell you exactly what happen trickett made one of his fine throws he hit kevins hip instead of his hands. the only place Washington coujd get his hands on the football.

  • Glen Stewart

    WVU has had a season that die hard wvu fans would like to forget everone could point fingers at the coach,the a.d. or anyone involved but I belive wv brighter days are ahead an in 2014 holgersen is about the only way wv can go with the money involved so lets get behind the boy until his contract is history who knows next year we may go undefeated so lets go Mountaineers. I was a fan that thought Stewart was the worst but ?

    • jeepster

      yeah? how good would 9-3 look right now ??

  • Billy

    I enjoyed reading all of your articles and your take on the WVU team this year. I thought you were fair in your assessment of the team.

    • Kelly

      Agreed, Billy. Nice job Allan.

      Also....Here is hoping Allan will add a vending section to this weeks stock report. We could use an up arrow, and the nachos were particularly good this week! :)