Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Sports

West Virginia’s Clint Trickett threw for a season-high 356 yards against Iowa State, albeit in a 52-44 overtime loss.

 

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — For one more time in 2013, we trade on the upticks and the downturns of a West Virginia football team, evaluating each unit’s performance after a 52-44 three-overtime loss to Iowa State:

QUARTERBACKS
After completing 21-of-37 passes for 356 yards and two touchdowns, Clint Trickett said he’ll approach the offseason as though the quarterback job is his to lose. “I’d like to think it will be put to bed here soon,” he said. “Going into the spring there’s always going to be guys trying to get your job. I look forward to competing with Paul and Ford again and whoever we bring in.”
Trickett tossed two interceptions Saturday, though one deflected off Kevin White’s hands and the other came on a Hail Mary to close regulation.
RUNNING BACKS
Charles Sims became “Mr. 1,000″ for the season with a 149-yard effort on 24 carries. His two scoring runs covered 7 and 76 yards, the last representing WVU’s longest play from scrimmage this season (until Mario Alford’s 76-yard touchdown catch equaled it three series later). Sims made two catches, including a 22-yarder to set up a first-and-goal at the 3 in triple-overtime. He was afforded two more cracks at running it in from there, but Iowa State stacked the box.
Dreamius Smith ripped off a 45-yard run to finish with 58 on five carries, and Wendell Smallwood had an eventful 14 yards on four carries, including two fumbles. One was overturned upon review, but a controversial goal-line fumble was allowed to stand even though Smallwood appeared to lunge into the endzone before the ball popped loose.
RECEIVERS
With 215 yards on eight receptions, Alford ended 2013 by giving WVU’s passing game hope for 2014. His midseason move from the slot to outside receiver paid dividends by allowing him to simplify his route-running. And as his catches of 76, 40 and 30 yards showed, he can be a dangerous YAC threat.
Though Kevin White caught a 17-yard touchdown, he was held to two catches or fewer for the sixth time in 11 games. The junior is simply too fast, big-bodied and dynamic to vanish in so many games.
Speaking of vanishing, Daikiel Shorts did so intermittently this season—though he still enjoyed an encouraging freshman campaign by tying Sims for the team lead with 45 catches. The finale was not one of Shorts;’ better games: He caught a 22-yard pass before half and a tipped 3-yarder on the game’s final play, being tackled shy of the end zone.
Vernon Davis Jr.’s lone 13-yard catch ended in a fumble that helped fuel ISU’s comeback.

Joe Sadlek/All-Pro Photography

Mario Alford caught eight passes for 215 yards against Iowa State.

 

OFFENSIVE LINE
The postgame image of Pat Eger crumpling to his knees brought a heartbreaking end to the career of a swing guy who worked hard to develop into a center this season. Though he continued to have some off-target shotgun snaps, his final game featured some notable highlights. He combined with left guard Quinton Spain to open a gaping hole for Sims’ 76-yard touchdown. Eger also came off a double-team to chip a run blitzer and spring Smith’s 45-yarder.
Right guard Mark Glowinski did a spectacular job on Sims’ 7-yard scoring run—sealing off the inside and then kicking out a second defender to create a seam.
While playing through a knee injury, right tackle Curtis Feigt allowed a fourth-down sack, but he and left tackle Nick Kindler delivered solid Senior Day efforts. Reserve tackle Adam Pankey did not play much after being beaten badly by Cory Morrissey on a first-half sack. But pass protection was adequate: On 39 drop-backs, Trickett was bothered only a handful of times.
WVU averaged 5.9 yards per carry on its way to 212 rushing yards. That’s a productive day for the line, though it was overmatched during the three extra periods—netting only 3 yards on five running plays as ISU outnumbered blockers.

Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Sports

Senior offensive lineman Pat Eger reacts after WVU was stopped at the 2-yard line in overtime of a 52-44 loss to Iowa State.

 

DEFENSIVE LINE
Despite some individual standouts (Will Clarke and Kyle Rose), the line receives a down grade because Iowa State piled up season-highs in total offense (575 yards), rushing (244 yards) and points. And this deluge of offense transpired one day before Cyclones coach Paul Rhoads fired offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Courtney Messingham.
Clarke made 2.5 tackles behind the line and his 17 TFLs currently rank second in the Big 12, though a few pursuers have another regular-season game remaining. His six sacks rank sixth in the league. Rose made six stops and figures to be one of the keys to next season’s front.
Shaq Rowell, after playing through knee soreness all season (and playing more snaps than expected due to the loss of backup Christian Brown), was neutralized in his final game. Noble Nwachukwu forced a fumble, Darrien Howard made three stops and Eric Kinsey showed his mobility by making a sack after dropping into zone coverage.
Seldom-used junior Trevor Demko knifed through a gap in double-OT to make a third-down stop.
LINEBACKERS
Nick Kwiatkoski made 14 tackles to close the season with a team-leading 86 and added his third interception to set up a WVU touchdown. However he was fooled on the read-option fake handoff that turned into Grant Rohach’s 54-yard touchdown keeper. Kwiatkoski left the game in double-overtime after taking a helmet to the hip from teammate Karl Joseph, the king of friendly fire.
Brandon Golson forced his fifth fumble of the season but also received a silly unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on ISU’s first TD drive and missed a tackle on Shontrelle Johnson’s fourth-quarter touchdown. Doug Rigg, returning from his second concussion, and Isaiah Bruce, coping with a sore shoulder, made five tackles each. Bruce was beaten on tight end E.J. Bibbs’ 2-point conversion in the final OT.
This unit, though short-handed, was as much to blame as any after ISU exploded for 24 fourth-quarter points (which was more than the Cyclones’ per-game scoring average). “With the injuries we had, people just need to step up,” said Kwiatkoski. “It’s the nature of the game. Once your time’s there, you’ve just got to make plays. Every football team struggles with injuries. It’s a physical sport.”

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa State’s Shontrelle Johnson (21) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter against West Virginia.

 

SECONDARY
This unit hasn’t been very reliable with senior safety Darwin Cook. Without him, however, the results were more brutal as Rohach threw for 331 yards in only his third start. Iowa State obviously wasn’t a vaunted passing offense—this was a redshirt freshman quarterback throwing to a D-II transfer (Justin Coleman) at crucial times. They hooked up for the tying touchdown at the end of regulation and the eventual winner in triple-overtime.
Jeremy Tyler (10 tackles, one forced fumble in his first start) was late chasing Coleman on the 19-yarder that tied the game at 38-all, and Daryl Worley (seven tackles after moving from corner to safety) was fooled by a read-option fake on Coleman’s 25-yard catch in OT.
The most jarring slip-up occurred on Rohach’s third-and-14 fourth-quarter pass that went to Quenton Bundrage for a 62-yard score. Backup safety Jarrod Harper, manning the middle third of the field, took a poor angle as Bundrage raced free from the corner on a post route. “We’re playing three-deep coverage with man underneath—that should be the last coverage that ever gives up a touchdown pass,” said defensive coordinator Keith Patterson.
Joseph (nine tackles) returned a fumble 38 yards to give WVU a 17-0 lead before Iowa State’s offense got revving.
SPECIAL TEAMS
Josh Lambert connected on field goals of 49, 41 and 26 yards, while missing from 51. (He closed the season a respectable 17-of-23 with four misfires coming from 50 or beyond.) WVU’s Avery Williams blocked a Cole Netten 28-yard try.
Nick O’Toole averaged 56 yards on three punts to finish the year with a 44.1 average. The punt play that transformed the game, however, came when Iowa State’s Kirby Van Der Kamp streaked 21 yards on a fourth-and-17 fake.
ISU held an edge in the return game, netting 149 yards on six kick returns while WVU gained 102 on the same number. Smallwood skated laterally on a 6-yard return forcing WVU to start at its own 9.
COACHING
The presumption is Dana Holgorsen and his staff will get another year to try and rebound, but season-ending losses to Kansas and Iowa State certainly have turned up the heat. Holgorsen said the program is headed in the right direction, but then WVU fails to protect a 17-point fourth-quarter lead against a team that had dropped its four Big 12 road games by 35 points.
The like-clockwork swoons that occurred in the second halves of games calls into question a number of facets—such as conditioning, depth and good ol’ fortitude. Fixing players between the ears is a part of coaching, especially where repeated late-game lapses are concerned. The depth issue is one for recruiting, and with Holgorsen on the verge of signing his third class, it’s no longer convenient to blame the talent void on Bill Stewart’s tactics or the program’s past life in the Big East.

Ben Queen/MetroNews photo

Coach Dana Holgorsen speaks to the media after Saturday’s season-ending loss to Iowa State in Morgantown.
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Comments

  • Henry Slammer

    WVU sucks and keep drinking the Kool Aid if you think otherwise....fools.

  • richard

    i agree....why would he come back now? but at the time he did want to---was told it was his----then the rug was pulled from beneath him. but i'm telling you, he was offered the job and said yes. wvu (who ever it was and for what reason i don't know) went back on their word.

  • wv fan

    you know , we got beat on all three sides of the football this year , you know ......

  • appikid

    ED ORGERON!

  • criss

    well what to do now.1st is to replace oliver luck as ad.since he brought this mess to WV.and he tried to leave the school before he had to answer for this mess we call a football program.i say good riddance to him.next we need a West Virginia man as head coach.#1 choice would be Doc Holiday or Nick Saban.but not rich rod he turned on WVU.would love it if Don Nelen came out retirement to rebuild this program.i really have no confidence in holgerson's coaching ability.next year ill be suprised if wvu gets more than 3 wins only way for that to happen if other big 12 teams lose alot of starters to the nfl draft.it is a sad day to be a mountaineer where ever you may be.

  • Charles

    All of you so called football geniuses are the same ones that ran off Bowden, tried to fire nehlen, and wanted rich out. Here is a news flash for our fan base. You do not know as much as you think you do!!!! If you do not think it takes time to build a football program you are an idiot. Rosters have to turn over before you can make fair assessments of coaches. We redshirted a lot of kids. Which will pay off in the future. Create class separation. How many on here knew that we only had around 65 scholarship football players when holgerson took over??? That is fcs level! It takes time to fix that. You can only bring in 25 at a time while losing 15 sr's a year. Cannot fix depth in one or two years after being so far down on numbers. This is the year we paid the piper for not bringing in full classes for 3 years. But, not only are we close to 85 again we know have a class of redshirts. To get that you have to bite the bullet at some point. And we did. Now we can maintain this without hurting our depth. We played the last game with 50 or less scholarship players available. We were a mash unit on defense. Only way around that would've been to pull redshirts. But, we didn't. And that class is now going to become 5th yr sr's one day. Together! There has been very few players to leave under holgerson. Contrary to the lies told on here by you knuckleheads. But keep it up. You know all. You have ran off good ones before. You will do it again. And you would've ran off jimbo too.

  • Ryan

    We are so self righteous and quick to blame. We fire coaches so quickly. Everyone needs to be held accountable. This is Holgerson's first Head Coaching Job ever. Look at Rich Rod, we sucked for three years and then when we got better we got some a$$ whoopens by Maryland (x2) and FSU in bowl games. It was not until he 'Luck'ed into Pat White, Steve Slaton, and Owen Schmidt did we start winning and then all of a sudden we "WVU" fans got all ENTITLED and thought we were big time. At the end of the day WVU is a second tier program and hopefully has really good years 1-3 times a decade. Crap we couldnt beat a sorry PITT team to go to the National Championship game. At the end of the day we have to relax give Dana a few more years and then if it still looks bad we can move on. But seriously we beat Oklahoma state (ie. we are the team that is preventing them from being in the title game) we also had TEXAS and OKLAHOMA beat!!! teams with far better talent and experience. I'm disappointed but I think we are what we are right now

  • Jim

    The dude dont even wear the gold n blue i mean come on its time for him 2 go

  • Rich

    When Ollie used his connections and got us into the Big 12 we all let out a sigh of relief. We thought we would be left for dead in the crumbling Big East. Turns out the Big 12 was the worst possible landing place for us.From a football facilities/ fan base perspective the SEC was a perfect fit but they wanted no part of us, we couldn't help them make more money. From a geographical perspective the ACC was the perfect fit but they didn't want us. Had we waited might we have gotten the invite that Louisvile got once Maryland left? Our football facilities are top notch by ACC standards and we would have been able to keep our rivalries w/ VT,BC, Pitt, 'Cuse. We would have been within 5-6 hrs travel distance to Carolina schools. WVU basketball would have went from the best BBall conference to the newest best BBall conference.Our non revenue sports would have benefitted as well with easier travel constraints.I realize hindsight is always 20/20, the transition to the Big 12 will be a long one. Big 12 football is all about hi scoring offense with its "Texas-centric" spread attacks and big time, fast athletes. We're lacking in both and it looks like the guy we hired is ill eqipped to be a sucessful HC. We need a lot more athletes for our inexperienced and injury depleted defense. The Big 12 will never be a "defense" league, you need a lot of athletes just to be an average D in the Big 12 and we are still far from that

    • tw eagle

      Don't worry rich . . . from the quiet rumors , and not so quiet squeals from some of the coaches in the XII , the XII will vote to disband before WVU & TCU become full partners . . . TV, the NCAA hierarchy, and the gambling houses want a "more manageable " number of conferences; 4

      I guage WVU & ISU to be the teams left outside looking in at 4 conferences with 16 members each.

      Personally I will be relieved , it will mean a membership in the MAC conference , all games a driveable distance , and it will mean the exit of all the "opera fans " who are populating Mountaineer Field now that it has become fashionable - with WVU winning.

      It will be turning the WVU football clock back 75 years, where WVU was trying to break into "big time" football and having to play 2 games at pitt & pervert st to get them to come to Morgantown once.

      The crest of DIV 1 ball popularity will be the first championship playoff season ... having a lock on the money, the large conferences will begin to tear each other apart over the division of the pie.

  • James

    I understand we lost 3 good players last year, and they were a big part of the offense, but since when do you have a rebuilding year after a 7 and 6 season, usually you rebuild when you have a 10 and 2, or hell even a 9 and 3, here some facts for you, these kid have no respect for the head coach, they will not give him a 100 percent effort, you will never win in D1 football by going out and signing 20 nicotine players to win, you can say all u want about Bill Stewart, but the kids loved him, gave the man 150 percent effort, and he was a true mountaineer, tired of hearing how he left the program without any recruits, way I see it, Stewart was able to sign good recruits, and he kept a winning record, the most important quality Bill Stewart had, was when he came into your house to recruit your kid, he was polite, respectful, and be treated your kid like he was his own, that is what won those recruits hearts, that is a quality Holgorsen will never have, think this year was bad, wait til next year, I see another 4 and 8 season

    • MM

      Wow I love your personnel insight into how the players don't respect him. Please enlighten us with who gave you this insider knowledge. Which player came to you and told you that they didn't respect the coach? How much time do you spend behind the scenes in the locker room and in practices??

    • Charles

      Sorry bud. You are wrong. Stew could never get a full class. Signed under 20 kids twice. You have to sign 25 to maintain depth. Stew did not. And out of his small classes had very poor retention. Go with facts. Not image

    • James

      Sorry meant Juco players, damn correct

  • 1oleWVUFan

    This has been a tough year for WVU Fans, the Coaches and the Players!

    While I saw some players improve on their play from a year ago, and saw an increase in depth at some positions, I also witness a lack of depth at other positions.

    The most consistent units on WVU Football Team, play after play and game after game, was the DL and the Punting Units.

    Of the twelve Seniors, I look to see Shaq Rowell, Will Clarke, and Darwin Cook get a shot at playing at the next level.

    Yes, this is Holgorsen's 3rd Recruiting Class, but it is only the 1st or 2nd Recruiting Class for many of his coaches. The wholesale coaching changes have to end, before WVU can move forward.

    The keys to WVU future lies in having a stable array of coaches and filling scholarships with talented, skilled, smart and athletic players.

    Just by looking at Commit List for 2014, anyone can see WVU is going after Offensive Linemen. From what I've seen on Rivals, WVU is looking at 3 more QBs (a HS QB from Kansas, another from WV, and a JUCO QB). While they have a few players committed to Receiver, RB, LB and DL, they really haven't found and DBs, and where WVU needs the most improvement going into the 2014 Season, is at QB, DB, and OL.

  • Allan

    We need a center that can snap the ball chest high, I was waiting for one of the snaps to sail over CT head.

    We need a QB. CT is what he is. If he was any good he would still be at FS heading for a national championship instead of WVU.

    PM is what he is and will not ever be a starting QB in this type of offense…maybe a pro style offense with a descent offensive line..maybe then.

    PC…WHO KNOWS???

    Need better offensive line and more depth to cover injuries.
    Need a defensive end that's mean and nasty and can get to the opposing QB.
    Need the defensive back field to stop playing so soft and giving up so many 3rd and longs.
    While we are at it, we need a defensive coordinator, an offensive coordinator. If you hear a coach say he doesn't know how to solve it, time to find one that can.
    And lastly, we need more Larry's and Williams's to keep reminding us how bad WVU is.

    • Big Larry

      Thank you...

      It's what we do....

  • WVU FAN

    Monday stock report on the season 2013

    No Bowl Game ( Poor)
    QB play (poor)
    RB play (good)
    WR play (fair)
    OL play (poor) (they have heart- need depth)
    Offensive Coaches -- (fair job)
    DB play (good) good looking athletes show promise
    LB-( fair to good )
    DL- ( fair) Not consistent
    Safety play (fair) Good athletes
    Defensive coaches -- its hard to say because we are on the field way too many times threw out this season.
    Special teams play is headed in the right directions ( keep Joe)
    Mountaineer Nation / Fan support / Media -- FAILED (crying about the new challenges of being in the Big 12 is weak fan support) I personally like that the Big 12 is not easy on WVU... We need to pull together and help make this team part of the great State of West Virginia... loosing in the fourth quarter is not a Mountaineer way of playing football.... Alabama is just around the corner we better get to work...grab a lunch pail or rope...what ever!!!! GET TO WORK!!!!! (we need to open our own can of whip butt on the Big12 & ALABAMA next season) Hit, Hit & Hit!!!!!! Go get the ball!!!! QB's stick that ball in there, I'am tired of the soft pass and behind the wr's --- really hurt the team this year you guys not being ready to play !!!! Come on we are better then this!!!!

  • Bigger Larry

    WVU fans are pathetic. Hand em a losing season on a rebuilding year, and they are ready to burn morgantown down. It's not the love for the Mountaineers that makes you so called fans angry, it your inability to see what's going on and your love of talking trash. Even about a team you so love. I wonder how Gator fans feel? How bout Miami? Va tech not even ranked. Lame fans with no heart. If I were a four or five star recruit, no way I'd come here and play for a bunch of whiny, cry baby, stab you in the back worthless fans.

    • Richard L.

      Bigger Larry,

      I agree with you it was a rebuilding season. The win loss record was not the issue for me. The issue for me is there is no proof of progress or improvement in the program. This falls on coaching.

    • GregG

      ....and maybe some of us know a little more about WVU football than you think! And I'll tell you right now, Luck and Hoghead have dug a hole that WVU will spends years getting out of. And unless the big 12 expands and picks up some more east coast teams (which I don't think they will) to balance out the logistic issues, WVU will never dig themselves out of this hole. I would have loved to see the look on Lucks face when he got the beer sales totals for Saturday evening. I'm sure that was more upsetting to him than the WVU loss.

  • richard

    wenkev, you need to get your facts straight. call the sportsline show and ask greg hunter if he wasn't ready to come. and this was after stewart. some people know everything and you are one---but you don't!

    • wenkev

      Yeah. ok. sure. If that's the case then he should still be ready to come back. Probably still has those "bags packed". Give him a call and ask him. Florida State- WVU, there really is no difference, right? If he was so ready to come why did WV hire Stewart when they did? Fisher was available while Bowden was still head coach and again, like I said, PASTILONG hired Stewart, a real proven head coach, right? I liked the man, but he was in over his head. Holgersen may be too but I am willing to give him another year.

      • Richard L.

        wenken,

        correction. Joe Manchin told Pastilong to hire him or else. Just like Manchin forced us to play the Community College of Huntington.

        • Benthere

          Richard you are 100 percent correct. Joe pulled the strings on this one. No one was drunk. It is exactly what Joe and MP wanted. A coach that would come cheap and do what he was told. They were scared to death of a national coaching search because they would get someone who would push the program on funding and facilities. I feel bad for the late BS. Treated poorly by both parties.

        • Jason

          (fyi..that community college in Huntington would beat WVU by 20 this year)..I get the 0-12 thing...but most of those games were during WVU's golden years and during a very very bad stretch where MU was floundering...so go ahead and continue to take shots at MU about previous games..because the past is all you have...the future does not look good in Morganhole. Thanks for Doc by the way!

          • Richard

            Appikid, Have you ever seen Marshall do anything but whine and cry and bad mouth WVU? The answer is no. They are the ones who created this animosity between the two.

          • Richard

            Jason, That's very easy to say when they aren't playing. It's also a bunch of bull. May I remind you that you lost to a very poor VT team. I'll give you this much- it is possible Marshall could have beat WV if WV would have played the way they did against Iowa State or Kansas, but no way if WV played the way they did against Texas, OK, OK St. You couldn't beat us with Pennington and Moss. You sure wouldn't with Cato. Keep dreaming.

          • appikid

            Ya know, I am so darn tired of hearing the Mountaineer Nation talk bad about Marshall! The last time I checked Huntington was still a part of WV. There is only one day out of the year I root against the Herd and that is when they play the gold and blue! Grow up! Marshall could win the C-USA title! And Coach Holiday played and coached at WVU, don't you want him to be successful! Come on true West Virginians,lets get behind them! GOOOO HERD!

    • Larry

      A coach would be crazy to leave FSU for WV, no players here, thousands there, pretty simple.

      • appikid

        11.3 million buy out clause might make them think a little! HUMMMM