MEMPHIS, Tenn. — With three more successful field goals at the Liberty Bowl, Josh Lambert established the West Virginia single-season record (30) and finished one shy of the NCAA mark. He actually did achieve an FBS record with 39 attempts, though his offensive would’ve preferred less legwork.
All those kicks weren’t particularly satisfying to his coach Dana Holgorsen, who saw them as evidence the Mountaineers’ offense couldn’t finish in the red zone. A couple more touchdowns could have helped Monday during a 45-37 loss to Texas A&M.
“We lost by eight, and the thing that stands out is the field goals. We had too many stalled drives,” Holgorsen said. “I don’t know how many field goals we attempted, but too many stalled drives. You play a game where you have to score 46 points to win it, you can’t settle for that many field goals.
“I think we did a good job of driving the ball. The turnover battle wasn’t an issue, and it has been an issue. But the biggest thing is we didn’t score enough points. Moved the ball well but didn’t score enough points.”
West Virginia dented the Texas A&M 20-yard line four times and scored only one touchdown. Twice Lambert converted short kicks (he made a third from 40 yards) and the Mountaineers misfired on Skyler Howard’s fourth-and-6 incompletion from the A&M 17.
“When the field gets short, you’ve got to make plays in tight situations,” said West Virginia’s outgoing offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson. “When you get down there, you need players to step up and make tougher plays.”
Texas A&M, which scored three touchdowns on its four red-zone trips, made one of those tougher plays when Malcome Kennedy caught a 9-yard touchdown despite tight coverage from West Virginia’s Daryl Worley.
“He caught a slant route with Daryl draped all over him,” Dawson said. “Well, you’re going to have people draped all over you down there, because things are tight. It comes down to making the throw and making the catch.
“Over and over this year we had to settle for field goals because we weren’t executing when the field got short.”