MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Facing the Big 12’s last-place team sounds like the perfect setup for West Virginia to snap a three-game losing streak. Then again, facing a two-win Iowa State team didn’t go so well for the Mountaineers last year.
The Cyclones (2-8, 0-7) have gone 1-5 at home this season, including a loss to FCS member North Dakota State, to jeopardize coach Paul Rhoads and his staff. But amid the disappointment, Iowa State led Kansas State in the final 2 minutes and lost 48-45 at Texas on a last-second field goal.
“You need to ignore their record,” Dana Holgorsen said. “There’s no easy games in the Big 12.”
Despite bottoming out the past month, West Virginia (6-5, 4-4) has clinched a bowl berth. That’s more than was on the line in last year’s season finale in Morgantown when Iowa State pulled off the biggest comeback in program history, rallying from 24 points down to win 52-44 in triple-overtime.
“We didn’t finish that game. We didn’t finish the year,” Holgorsen recalled. “We’re pretty motivated to be able to play and to hopefully finish the year better than we did a year ago and get ourselves in a good spot when it comes to preparing for the bowl game.
“Winning this one and winning the bowl game—we’ll feel good at that point.”
Trickett on hold: After Clint Trickett (concussion) was not cleared to practice Tuesday morning, Holgorsen said evaluation process for the 11-game starter could continue through Friday.
“I would hate to comment on the severity of concussions, because I don’t know what the severity of the concussions are,” Holgorsen said. “That’s for our doctors to evaluate. They’ve got tests. They’ve got written tests. They’ve got computerized tests and all that. If they say ‘thumbs up,’ that means thumbs up—I get to coach them. Up until this point right now, they have not given the thumbs up.”
Millard in contingency mode: If Trickett isn’t available this week and Skyler Howard starts, Holgorsen suggested senior Paul Millard would be the backup. Millard remains in line for a redshirt for the purpose of returning for a fifth season in 2015.
“If we need to use Paul, obviously we’re going to pull the redshirt and use him if we need to,” Holgorsen said.
Senior walk-on Logan Moore also has been taking reps.
Injured cornerbacks: Daryl Worley (left shoulder) wore a non-contact jersey during Tuesday’s practice and Holgorsen said “strength is an issue” for the sophomore. Junior Terrell Chestnut was full-go at practice after leaving the K-State game with an undisclosed injury.
Weather watch: Saturday’s forecast for Ames shows temps in the mid-20s with winds of 20-plus mph. That could be reminiscent of the frigid 2012 game West Virginia won 31-24.
“Two years ago, that was tough,” Holgorsen said. “That and Rutgers (in 2011) were tough.
“The rest of the weather games we had, I don’t view as any more challenging than anything else. I guess there’s some soft people that would have said that the weather on (vs. K-State) was an issue, but it wasn’t for the two teams that were on the field.”