Anybody who knows anything about West Virginia Mountaineer football was scared to death of this game. Sandwiched between a pair of home tilts against top 10 opponents, this was the type of road trip tailor made for a team to be caught napping. Add to that a few bumps and bruises and an opponent who was good enough to have been ranked in the top 15 the week before and you had recipe for trouble.
Inconceivably WVU didn't just win, but won running away - and now big things are afoot. But before we put out the good china for Chris, Kirk and the gang, let's take a look back and enjoy what was a very satisfying victory.
Pistol Pete or Burt Reynolds? You decide. pic.twitter.com/Yw1YYdEsFc— Jed Drenning (@TheSignalCaller) October 26, 2014
Whichever one it is, I wouldn't let them within 500 yards of my children. I mean, what's up with the molded plastic head with the vacant stare atop the normal sized person body? And you know the crazy thing? This isn't even the creepiest mascot outfit in the Big 12. That honor goes to Kansas State's oversized stuffed cartoon cat head atop another normal person body. Free advice - either go all stuffed, or go all human. Mixing them is not a good idea. Mascots are weird in this conference.
And this was BEFORE WVU game into Stillwater and worked a talented Oklahoma State team. Heads have turned across the country. They weren't looking at us before, but they're looking at us now.
Carefully compare the opposing army with your own, so that you may know where strength is superabundant and where it is deficient.— Sun Tzu (@SunTzuSaid) October 24, 2014
This is ole Sunny Z's way of saying "they can't cover Kevin White."
Members of the Maniacs are ready to "Make a Difference" as we clean up the downtown campus after the riots last week! pic.twitter.com/08bCLmt8MK— Mountaineer Maniacs (@WVUMANIACS) October 25, 2014
Props to these folks for doing a good thing. Maybe at the end of the day what happened will be a net good as the university and its students will make a concerted effort at isolating and eliminating the idiots who don't know how to celebrate a big win. What can I say, I'm a silver linings guy. And one of those is seeing good people do good things. The Retweet salutes you, Maniacs.
Saw Kevin White's name on Twitter a few minutes ago, then found a flag for pass interference in my inbox.— OurDailyBears (@OurDailyBears) October 24, 2014
Good Lord y'all, give it a rest. Hey everything's bigger in Texas even the BAYLOR TEARS.
@JaciSloneWVU I actually made my family drive around to find a space in the blue. This car ain't parking in no purple lot.— Adam Russell (@JAdamRuss) October 24, 2014
Make no mistake, these are the things that matter when you go on the road. And you all reading know exactly what I mean - that's why you're nodding your heads. Good work doing your part to bring home the W Adam.
These were sharp. Okie State does some nice work with the helmets - I liked what they brought to Morgantown last year, too.
WVU has decided to blitz 13 players on every play. We've decided to allow it.— Big 12 Refs (@Big12Refs) October 25, 2014
GIBBY'S SECRET REVEALED!
I liked what WVU did dialing up big pressure early. The story on that D all week had been how they pinned their ears back against against Baylor so the first thing they show Daxx Garman is heat, including a couple all-out blitzes one of which could have been disastrous if Garman had made the throw. But it was a calculated risk and it set the tone and made Garman uncomfortable and I'm guessing that was in the back of his mind for the rest of the day every time he saw a guy cheating up. Gibby is on a total roll right now. Every call he's making is right on and this defense trusts him totally. After the last couple of years this is fun.
I close my eyes every time we're on the receiving end of a punt. Also, #KevinWhite4Heisman— Maggie Shriver (@MagShriver) October 25, 2014
This is about a good a summation of the WVU season in less than 140 characters as you'll find. The good news is that nobody fumbled any punts, although it wasn't for lack of effort. But there was a level of difficulty on many of them, including fielding a punt into the sun because whoever designed that stadium put the end zones in the east/west direction and not north/south. Also I learned on the post-game call in show that the tinted visors are no longer allowed. I would be really curious to find why that is. A stupid arbitrary NCAA mandate (wouldn't shock me) - probably one of those rules ostensibly created for player safety but in actuality is just a rule that doesn't have any affect but can be trotted out during the inevitable class-action concussion lawsuit in the next 5-10 years. I digress.
Oh, and Kevin White is good, too. That early touchdown was great but also a bit misleading to all of us who were ready to see White go for about 300 yards and 4 scores. But what it really did (along with the other early score) was force the Cowboys to keep in safety help for the rest of the game and allow offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson to do what he already wanted to do - run the ball and shorten the game. More on that later.
Julian Miller (@JmillzHot97) October 25, 2014
I felt genuinely bad for that corner who got isolated on the best receiver in college football for that first score after his safety help rushed in to cover Jordan Thompson motioning over to the strong side. But let this be a lesson - don't throw boy coverage at a G.A.M.
(Sidenote - I don't ask for much but since I can't make the trip up could somebody - anybody - just make a G.A.M. sign for GameDay. I will guarantee that person a spot in the Retweet next week. Please make this happen.)
If the announcer says "Mario Alford" and "off to the races," #WVU is scoring a touchdown.— Chris Anderson (@CMAnderson247) October 25, 2014
Hell, I thought that was the kid's last name. "In for WVU at receiver it's #5 Mario Alford Off To The Races!"
Caridi's call was great on this, too. Alford catches the ball and it's so abundantly clear from the time he's at like the WVU 35 he's going the distance that Tony isn't even calling out yardage. He essentially starts saying "touchdown WVU" when Alford is at around the 50. That's where things are with Super Mario right now. He gets the ball in space at the 50 and we all know he's history. It's a nice place to be.
Send this to the printer now. GameDay sign, please.
Honestly, it's insane to have a pair of weapons like this in WVU's receiving corps. One might be the strongest WR in America and the other the fastest. #Everybody4Heisman.
Eazzzyyyyy!— Bruce Irvin (@BIrvin_WVU11) October 25, 2014
Sunday morning Saturday afternoon.
But really, for a game that we all entered with such trepidation, this all felt entirely too easy. But this being West Virginia football and us being West Virginia football fans, we know better. There's always another shoe out there ready to drop. Hell people have written entire books about that other shoe. And drop it would, in the form of a suddenly frisky Oklahoma State offense, a complacent WVU defense and a homecoming crowd that was just dying for a reason to get back in the game.
Reminder: #okstate opened as a 3-point favorite over WVU.— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguy) October 25, 2014
This seemed odd to me, and if I were the kind of guy who bet on WVU football I'd have jumped on it. Unfortunately I lost $5 to my uncle in 1989 over the Gator Bowl and resolved to never gamble on Mountaineer football again. That 100% happened. And my uncle made me pay up, too. I think I remember seeing one time that WVU went into that game as like a 5 point dog. Obviously as a 10 year old I didn't know anything about point spreads and innocently made the bet straight up. $5 was a crapload of money to a 10 year old in 1989. Not cool, Uncle Erv. Not cool.
Go ahead and act like these punt returns suck, announcers. #WVU fans are just thrilled they are catching the ball.— WMITC (@THE_REAL_WMITC) October 25, 2014
I don't complain about drinks at an open bar, I don't whine about the view of the game from free tickets and I sure as hell don't criticize a WVU punt returner who has managed to field a punt and maintain possession. Jeeze, some people.
Hey did Tyreek Hill have the 2nd fastest 200 meter time every by a high schooler? I think I heard that Tyreek Hill had the 2nd fastst 200 meter time every by a high schooler. I could have sworn I heard that Tyreek Hill had the 2nd fastest time every by a high schooler. Did you know that Tyreek Hill....AAAAAAARRRHHHHGGG SHOOT ME IN THE FACE.
I love Mike Patrick but those guys needed some more material on Tyreek Hill. Also I would have expected them to take a little more notice of the guy who put on the otherworldly display of straight-line speed and scored a 79 yard touchdown in pads and not the guy who did something cool a couple years ago on a track.
Great, great comparison. For those too young to remember, Barrett Green was a hard-hitting linebacker from the late 90s who had a nasty penchant for picking up personal fouls when he hit guys on the wrong side of the sideline - especially early in his career. He was fast, mean and a helluva ball player, but usually managed to make one dumb play that hurt the team for every 3 or 4 plays he made that helped. Of course Barrett learned his lesson by his senior year when he pulled up on Mike Vick as he sprinted down the sidelines.....but we're not going to talk about that anymore. The good news for K.J. is that despite his little problem, Barrett played a few years in the NFL.
BACKERDS HAT DANA BACKERDS HAT DANA BACKERDS HAT DANA [AIRHOOOORRRRRRRRN] pic.twitter.com/5QmEbYCDfF— Holly Anderson (@HollyAnderson) October 25, 2014
OH GOD SOMEBODY GOT SOME DEFOREST ON OUR HEAD COACH GET IT OFF GET IT OFF!!
Our lot in life. RT @abpriddy: Why can't anything ever be easy?— Smoking Musket (@SmokingMusket) October 25, 2014
And for a few minutes there, it really, really looked like the other shoe was about to drop. The Pokes were driving, the tide was turning and Uncle Mo was wearing orange. And then...
A MISSED KICK! A MISSED KICK! A MISSED KICK!
For the first time in 14 tries an opposing kicker finally missed against the Mountaineers. Frankly OSU never recovered and never seriously threatened again. It was a nice time to get a miss.
(Now just get a fumble recovery and I'll have nothing left to bitch about - oh who are we kidding, I'll find something.)
Happy belated birthday to @chuckmcgill, an excellent human who is sharing his cheerwine cupcakes— Holly Anderson (@HollyAnderson) October 25, 2014
I don't know what Cheerwine cupcakes are but they sound fantastic and almost would have been worth being at the Marshall game Holly was at instead. Chuck, fill us in brother. What's a Cheerwine cupcake?!
For those that don't know, Cheerwine is a bit of a further south thing but if you haven't had it believe me when I say it's the nectar of the gods. But I've also never seen it north of Nashville. Basically the non-alcoholic reverse version of Yuengling before it went national and was available south of Morgantown.
This is kinda weird and eventually even a group as incompetent as the Big 12 refs are going to start looking for it. I'd be shocked if it wasn't talked about after the game when they all met in their little cave in Austin. But seriously that's going to be a stupid way to lose 3 points if it happens again.
BTW, #WVU has gone back to Jordan Thompson as the punt returner because, well, things just weren't interesting enough.— Dave Hickman (@dphickman1) October 25, 2014
Good lord man. Just stop this maddness. And you know what - this wasn't even the most maddening punt return moment of THAT SERIES. Because right after Thompson's bobbling, cardiac episode-inducing return was negated by a penalty they trotted Vernon Davis out there (returner #3 on the day) who elected to not return the ball and instead let it bounce but then RAN TOWARDS A ROLLING/BOUNCING FOOTBALL. Listen, Vernon FOOTBALLS ARE SHAPED FUNNY AND THERE'S NOT TELLING WHERE IN THE HELL THEY WILL BOUNCE DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE RUN TOWARDS A ROLLING/BOUNCING FOOTBALL IF YOU ARE RETURNING PUNTS.
More and more I'm convinced there is just a huge gap in communication when this coaching staff attempts to teach these guys how to field punts. At best they just can't give them any confidence, and at worst they're not giving them the foundational knowledge they need to do the job effectively in order to gain confidence. Which is pretty bad because that's basically exactly what a coach is paid to do.
I don't get the game plan. I'm not saying it's wrong, just saying I don't understand it. Just seems common sense to attack their weakness.— TamiWVU (@TamiWVU) October 25, 2014
There was a lot of this going on. Even some of it coming from me. It was frustrating to watch WVU seemingly unable to put the game away and especially frustrating when you know there's a weapon like Kevin White on your side who has been unstoppable all year - even by double teams. But eventually I came around to what Holgo was thinking and came to agree with him.
West Virginia really slowing it down on offense, want to keep the defense off the field with this heat. Have really controlled TOP in 2nd H— Jeff Culhane (@jeffculhane) October 25, 2014
In the 3rd quarter WVU ran 27 plays. Oklahoma State ran 6. Given the myriad factors that we discussed at the top of this post and given that his quarterback was having a less than sharp day (remember the pair of misfires he'd had already to White) Holgo wanted to lean on his ground game and get out of the game with as little trouble as possible. Basically don't get cute.
Except for that attempted end-around where they completely got cute and damn near lost the ball in the 3rd quarter. That was cute and it almost burned them - so the lesson was learned. Trickett only threw 30 passes - his lowest output of the year by 5 - and we saw a Holgorsen WVU team run the ball 50 times in a game for the 4th time this year after doing it zero times during the first 3 seasons of this regime.
Fact is the act of passing the football carries with it more variables than running and at its core is a higher-risk proposition. So now that Holgorsen has finally established the run game he's been talking about for 4 years he elected to simplify the game as much as possible and just get the hell out of a notoriously challenging venue with a road conference win. That's a nice little weapon to have in your back pocket for games like this.
Meanwhile in Huntington, Satan mated with a leprechaun.
"I'm sorry Oklahoma State, but unfortunately Badass Killing an Entire Village of Fools Braveheart is not available today. All we have is Laying On a Table Getting Disemboweled Braveheart. That will have to do."
Josh Lambert has connected on 11 field goals of 40 yards or more this season.— WVU Football (@WVUfootball) October 25, 2014
chastising message from my mother, McDowell County native: "only a rookie goes to WV without a machete"— Holly Anderson (@HollyAnderson) October 25, 2014
You get that, TCU?
Meanwhile in ACC action thousands of Pitt fans will be dressing up as empty seats for Halloween. Boo.
My buddy Don who made the trip sent me a great email on Monday:
"The Okie St. homecoming is awesome, more than 100k for Friday walkaround.
I know the average West Virginia would rather drive to Blacksburg on a fall Saturday, but the B12 is real college football. This isn't piling up 9 wins against [stinky] teams with apathetic fanbases on ESPN Wednesday night football."
Well said. WVU is playing the toughest schedule it's seen in over a generation if not ever and acquitting itself pretty damn well. This is big boy football we're playing now kids. Exactly the type of grind they said we couldn't survive. Well here we are.
I could hear it on the TV, too. Beautiful.
Good for WVU. I hope Holgo stays forever where the hill magic can regrow his skullet in seconds if necessary. Talk about a great fit.— Wescott Eberts (@SBN_Wescott) October 25, 2014
That's a compliment, right? I think that was a compliment. I mean, he said "great fit" and "hill magic" so that sounded like a compliment. I think. Yeah, definitely a compliment. I'm pretty sure.
Good stuff. Road games are the best. If you haven't made trip I highly recommend it.
TCU (who had no offense last year) lays 61 on Texas Tech while West Virginia (who had no D last 2 years) holds Oklahoma State to 10 points.— Chris B. Brown (@smartfootball) October 25, 2014
It's a brave, new world Chris.
Hey, while we're on the subject let's check in on TCU:
Trevone Boykin has 433 yards passing and seven touchdowns. Fourth quarter should be starting soon.— Adam Kramer (@KegsnEggs) October 25, 2014
Daaaaayamn. That's impressive. Let's talk about something else.
That looks nice. Really, really nice.
Let's check in with Brad:
The WVU mountaineers are on a roll! And I'm sure an asteroid is hurtling toward earth as we speak. But whatever. They're on a roll!— Brad Paisley (@BradPaisley) October 26, 2014
First let me say I have no inside source and am going completely on speculation, but Brad certainly does make a lot of sense as a guest picker, so allow me to demonstrate that I have no shame. Everybody else can log off, I'm going to speak directly to Brad Paisley.
How are ya pal. Listen, I'm going to cut to the chase and get directly to the begging. I need a ride to Morgantown for GameDay. I live in the same town as you - Franklin, Tennessee - so you won't even have to go out of the way to pick me up. I'm an excellent travel companion and we can talk WVU football the whole way. I'm guessing you and I are pretty close to the same age so trust me when I say there is nobody you will find in Mid Tennessee who can talk old-school WVU 80s and 90s football like me. All those games you loved when you were younger - me too. I know you have to get sick of all your roadies and band crew talking nonstop SEC football when you're on tour. Well bring me along and it'll be nonstop blue and gold. We'll talk Major, Nehlen, Kelchner and James Jett right up through Slaton and Pat. That's right, I dropped a James Friggin' Jett. I'm equally comfortable going Chad Johnston. I'll even bring a DVD of the WVU - Georgia Sugar Bowl and we can show them REAL speed.
'Cause here's the deal, there's no way my wife is letting me drop everything and make the trek north, but if I say "hey Brad Paisley wants to give me a ride to Morgantown" she can't say no! I'm Charlie and Morgantown is my chocolate factory and you're my golden ticket! Please! I'll make pepperoni rolls! I'll say glowing things about you in the blog and we'll pump out a few more album sales. I influence tens of tens of readers every week! Everybody wins!
We can do this!
C'mon, Brad. Help a fellow WV transplant out.
OK, back to the blog.
That about wraps it up. Stick around the Musket this week as we'll be doing some fun stuff in preparation for the big week and ESPN College GameDay visit. We'd also like your sign ideas so if you've got 'em tweet 'em out to me (@abpriddy) or the Musket (@SmokingMusket) or tag them with #WVGameDaySigns. This stuff doesn't happen very often so let's soak it up, let's have some fun and...