At the end of the 3rd quarter I looked at my wife and said, "These guys are going to blow this game. I can feel it." I am not Nostradamus, nor was I in Mountaineer Field. But from the cheap seats in front of my flat screen, it just seemed as if our team had lost focus. Call it intuition or season ending weariness, but the final score in three overtimes told the story: Iowa State 52 – West Virginia 44.
I’m headed to the convenience store to buy some Powerball tickets, by the way.
Four turnovers in the second half. Our offense scored once in the second half. Our special teams gave up a fake punt on a fourth and long. Our defense got walked all over in the fourth quarter. And it seemed as if our coaches had no answers. We had blown a three score lead in the fourth quarter. Having lost to Kansas and Iowa State, we are now officially the worst team in the Big 12 (in spite of where we are in the standings).
As ISU stopped WVU inside the five on the final play of the third overtime, it almost seemed inevitable. And the picture of our season during that final series was remarkable: Charles Sims or Mario Alford get us pretty close, and the rest of the team couldn't seem to get us any closer.
Our offense had a good first half. Charles Sims and Mario Alford had standout games to give WVU one of its best offensive showings of the season. Our defense looked good in spots, too. But we missed Darwin Cook, as our back up safeties couldn’t hold up under the pressure of the fourth quarter.
We finished the 2013 campaign 4-8, which were two less wins than many figured we’d finish with. 6-6 was thought to be a good campaign for this rebuilding year. I didn't think I could feel worse than I did following the blow out loss to Maryland. Then we got our @$$ handed to us in Baylor, Texas. Today's collapse was emblematic of a season that was disappointing at the start, the middle and the end.
WVU had leadership issues this season. I don’t know if it stems from coaching or if it is simply the lack of upperclassmen who have the leadership capital to cause youngsters to step up their games at the right time. But this team lacked character – akin to WVU’s 2013 basketball team. Only time will tell why this is the case.
My family plays "HIGH-LOW" at the dinner table - it is a good reminder that there are small things we have to be thankful for...even on fantastically crappy days. So, here I go:
CHUCK’S GAME HIGHS
- Mario Alford’s 215 yards receiving; specifically his second 70 yard TD reception of the year – great future ahead for #5.
- Karl Joseph’s Fumble Recovery for TD - #8 remains the star of our team.
- Charles Sims’ 76 yard TD run – he deserved the first half he had today. Sims has had an amazing attitude after transferring here for one of the worst seasons in recent WVU history.
- WVU’s Defense continues to cause turnovers and improve.There is lots to look forward to with this group next year.
CHUCK’S GAME LOWS
- WVU’s Offensive GOOSE EGG from the second quarter through the entire 3rd quarter and until 13:42 of the fourth quarter. The entire second half our offense blew chunks.
- Wendell Smallwood’s ‘Fumblitis’ – His first was reversed, his second on the goal line was maddening and a major momentum killer. We were first down and goal from the one with a chance to go up 38-14. Instead of being up four scores, ISU drove the length of the field to close within ten, 31-21. That’s an 14 point swing.
- The Referees – They were enjoying calling the penalties, but really liked conferencing more.
- The Weak Attendance – granted, it was Thanksgiving Weekend, but WVU has to figure out a way to give away the student section seats to charity or something. Nothing looks worse on television than a conspicuous absence of 10,000 fans from one section of the stadium.
Your thoughts? Please keep the f-bombs to a minimum.