It wasn't what we expected before the game, and it most certainly wasn't what we expected after a first half that went pretty much according to script. West Virginia was laying the smack-down on an obviously overmatched foe, Kevin White was a football-catching Jesus and the defense was giving an effort that looked a lot more Towson and a lot less Oklahoma. Then things got sloppy, then things got frustrating and before too long what should have been a satisfying victory turned into one more chapter of the Very Special Book Of Mountaineer Special Teams.
But a win is a win so let's talk and Tweet about this one.
William Crest is not dressed today. On field in sweats. No word why from #WVU. Millard looks like the backup QB— Dave Hickman (@dphickman1) October 4, 2014
Interesting part of #WVU's Crest not dressed is this: A medical redshirt is still alive, but not if he plays in a game from today on.— Dave Hickman (@dphickman1) October 4, 2014
Kinda odd development before the game. Holgorsen said after the game that Crest had been kept out because his shoulder was "messed up." As far as I know that was news to everyone. I've given up trying to guess Dana's plans for his new toy. I'd guess that he'd prefer to redshirt him if Clint Trickett can stay healthy and if I were a cynical man I might say since the standard redshirt got burned against Townson Holgorsen sees an injury as a chance to get a medical one. Who knows. I'm sure he'll give us a full and helpful picture of events in 2017 or so.
I chose to look on the bright side of the early struggles, which was that they allowed us to continue to appreciate the greatness of Josh Lambert. Kid is a special talent.
Wes Tonkery almost picked off a Kansas pass attempt. It will be 3rd-and-9 for Kansas at the Jayhawk 21.— WVU Football (@WVUfootball) October 4, 2014
Tonkery has been an absolute beast recently (more on that later). Love everything about the kid - including that he's a native of WV. With that said that was a pick 6 if he doesn't drop it. For a defense that's only been able to force a paltry 3 turnovers this season (all interceptions) those are plays they can't afford to miss. The opportunities are clearly very few and far between.
179 passes, 175 rushes so far on the season for #WVU.— Sports Dude™ - DW (@ImTheSportsDude) October 4, 2014
This was prior to the game. Nice balance on playcalling, if you're into that sorta thing.
Kevin White was triple covered, was tackled and STILL almost made the catch.— Chris Anderson (@CMAnderson247) October 4, 2014
The display Kevin White put on in the first quarter was otherworldy. Guy has just transformed himself into a receiving freak of nature. I can't ever remember seeing a player make a leap like that in one offseason.
Kevin White is a man.— TheDeuce (@TheDeuceWVU) October 4, 2014
...of the ‘grown-ass' persuasion.
We throw way too many fades to Alford when Kevin White is just hanging out with his own gravitational field.— Smoking Musket (@SmokingMusket) October 4, 2014
In Shannon Dawson's defense, Alford has come down with some pretty tough catches. Having said that I don't understand why they always go with the fade and not the quick hit to his outside shoulder. If nothing else every DB is thinking fade so they'll overrun him; if he stops quick and turns that's 6 all day.
Disappointing attendance from #WVU students today. I know the weather is crummy but there are clothes for that. Always was my pet peeve— William Hirsch (@WHirschSports) October 4, 2014
I'm not going to go in too hard on the students here, just give them my annual message from Yourself In Fifteen Years. Listen guys and gals, you take for granted that you have all the football games in the world available to you now and if you're anything other than a senior you probably feel like you'll have infinite opportunities to go to games. Well you won't. One day much sooner than you think you'll have a spouse and a mortgage and some kids and your weekends will be eaten up by all the things you can't do during the week and a trip to a game will be a financial investment and you'd give anything to be able to just get up and go to a noon kickoff in crappy weather without a care in the world. Please, trust me. Not because it looks good on TV, but because one day you're going to kick yourself for ever missing a game.
Did someone bet Dana that he couldn't make Josh Lambert Big12 player of the week or something?— Fake Bob Huggins (@FakeBobHuggins) October 4, 2014
A distinct possibility. I can't remember ever seeing many team snail 3 field goals in a single quarter. Also consider they had a guy catch passes for 126 yards in this same quarter. Weird.
@38Godfrey I went to Kansas. Was very flat. Turned around— J.R. Lind (@jrlind) October 4, 2014
Confirmed. Well I mean there was this one large mound in Kansas, but ...uhh.....it's not there anymore.
Watching Ala go tempo makes me snicker loudly.— Dennis Dodd (@dennisdoddcbs) October 4, 2014
But think about the KIDS, Nick, the kids could get hurt!!!
(seriously he was so friggin' full of his own crap - at least nobody bought it)
Sun Outage. This is totally inept. #RootSports— Randy Gyorko (@GooseGyorko) October 4, 2014
Everything about Root Sports seems horrible and I'm sorry you fine people had to suffer through that. Somehow the feed I got here in Tennessee was Fox Sports South and we didn't have any outages or get pre-empted or anything. This stuff is understandable for a game against Towson but for a freaking conference game in 2014 WVU needs to find better options than Root Sports.
Man I could watch 100 of these things where they surprise a family with the arrival of an armed service member and I swear it gets dusty every single friggin' time. Good stuff for good people.
I can’t believe how much better Boykin has gotten for TCU. Like a different player.— Adam Kramer (@KegsnEggs) October 4, 2014
I had TCU penciled in under the "probable" win column. Guess I should erase that, huh. Well at least we've got them at home.
Trickett now 9-of-16 for 204 yards a #WVU leads KU 23-0.— Allan Taylor (@AllanTaylorWVU) October 4, 2014
Again, this was headed in a really, really good direction early. I thought WVU had a chance to drop a fitty-spot and notch another shutout.
@abpriddy They played 7NA earlier in the game.— Michael Miller (@westbygod_) October 4, 2014
(sigh) What's it going to take? How many hearts must be broken before we learn that this song is not our friend? Please. Rage Against The Machine. Learn it, embrace it, play it.
Nick Kwitiakoski is on another level of defensive beast mode. A tough and smart linebacker— William Hirsch (@WHirschSports) October 4, 2014
Fun fact: Kwiatkoski and Tonkery have combined for 39 tackles. That's over 18% of the team's entire tackles - nearly a fifth. That's a lot of tackles - especially considering Tonkery missed a game earlier this year. Those dudes are killing it.
@mikecasazza what's up with dana being straight up anti timeout? I don't remember him actively being *against* them?— Chris B. Brown (@smartfootball) October 4, 2014
I don't get Dana's thing with clock management. It's like he doesn't care. All I can figure is much of what he wants his offense to do is predicated on rhythm and timing and speed and knowing what you're going to do well before you do it so the fear is that you interrupt that process when you do things differently - namely call a timeout to conserve clock. And it worked against Maryland where so many of those running plays worked because they had a personnel grouping they liked on the field and calling a timeout would have given the Terps a chance to sub. It even kinda worked against Kansas but mostly because of the kicker. But it didn't work great to end the first half against Oklahoma. So I get what they're trying to do, but can't shake the feeling that one of these could end badly in a huge situation at some point.
Caption this picture!
How many dropped interceptions does #WVU defense have on the year? There's another one.— Chris Anderson (@CMAnderson247) October 4, 2014
A lot. And with the dearth of turnover opportunities this defense has seen, every single one of these drops matter.
Our special teams can only be handled by people in hazmat suits.— DD | SR | BC (@BarkingCarnival) October 4, 2014
Oh you wanna compare special teams ineptitude? You have no idea who you're dealing with, Texas.
Trickett just made one of the best tackles of the day after throwing a pick.— Dave Hickman (@dphickman1) October 4, 2014
Don't do that, Clint.— Blue & Gold News (@BlueGoldNews) October 4, 2014
Ever, ever again. This team has a big question mark at backup quarterback. Whether it's the unknown true freshman or the all-too-well known senior (potential redshirt) I think we can all agree the dropoff at QB after the starting position at WVU is precipitous at best and a vomit-inducing deathfall at worst. Please Clint, we know you're tough. We know you're a competitor and all that jazz. We get it, we do. You don't need to prove anything. You just need to stay upright and pass for 4,000 yards. Please.
Feel sorry for this Kansas coach.— TheDeuce (@TheDeuceWVU) October 4, 2014
He's married to a former Miss Kansas and just got magically promoted to his "dream job" (his workds, most certainly not mine - that's a crap job). Not to mention he probably got himself a modest little salary bump for a couple months in the most low-pressure job in America right now. And if he manages to pull off a win somewhere in there he might even get the gig full-time. Don't cry any tears for Clint Bowen, he's doing just fine.
Wonder what Charlie is watching on TV today? This game? Notre Dame-Stanford? Lifetime? Discovery?— John Antonik (@JohnAntonik) October 4, 2014
Food Network. Particularly ‘Barefoot Countessa.' I have nothing to base that on but you know I'm right.
#WVU's refusal to change punt returners is inexplicable at this point. Almost like coaches refusing to do it just b/c fans/media keep asking— Chris Anderson (@CMAnderson247) October 4, 2014
There is no part of this problem I understand. You have 85 scholarship players on roster. You have a variety of skill-position players who would seem well-suited to at least take a crack at fielding punts. Mario Alford, Shelton Gibson, Dravon Henry, etc. Yet time and time again they keep trotting Jordan Thompson out to the wolves. The kid clearly wants no part of fielding punts at this point and you'd think at some point just put someone else in there just to protect a kid who, if he can hold his psyche together from the damage being done on the punt return front, could be a serviceable slot receiver. It smacks of a stubbornness that I don't care for and is eventually going to cost this team a game. At least a game.
To quote the drug lord from Bad Boys 2 who had to call the exterminators because rats were eating up his roomful of cash: "this is a STUPID F-KING PROBLEM TO HAVE!! But...it is still a problem."
Fix this. Or at least try to fix this. Please.
INVINCIBILITY STAR Y'ALL— Smoking Musket (@SmokingMusket) October 4, 2014
And then Mario Alford and his insane speed bails them out. Full disclosure, I may or may not have woken up my 6 month old nephew who was visiting for the weekend when Alford broke that return. Sorry little dude. It just meant he and Uncle B got to chill together for the rest of the game.
It's a wash.— Keenan Cummings (@rivalskeenan) October 4, 2014
Oh yeah, it's a wash alright.
Is it any wonder the special teams coach who should've been fired long ago keeps the same punt returner who should've been benched long ago?— Fake Bob Huggins (@FakeBobHuggins) October 4, 2014
You know who I bet is more pissed off about this than anybody? Dana. He has had DeForest's back time and time again and Joe just doesn't make it easy. Certainly he's become a lightning rod of sorts and takes way more criticism for bad things than he gets credit for good things (and there are good things, the coverage units were great last year and the kick return units have been great at times), but the mistakes are waaaaaay to significant. They are mammoth, game-changing mistakes in a phase of the game where a big part of your job is simply maintaining possession. I mean, these fumbles don't happen when Squirt is trying to make something happen. They're catching the ball. Unacceptable.
@abpriddy why isn't Mario returning punts too???— Joseph Ashley (@krazyjoeashley) October 4, 2014
Hell I don't know. Who killed Kennedy? What happens to planes in the Bermuda Triangle? Will Jennifer Aniston ever find true love?
Important questions that demand important answers.
(I'm not going to even discuss the punt return for touchdown. Not even going to get into the fact that this team has allowed a punt or kick to be returned for a score in 3 straight games. This is my space and this is my column and I'M NOT GOING TO DISCUSS IT. Can't do it. Won't do it. This team is going to lose a huge game on a special teams blunder and I see that train coming and God help me there's not a single thing I can do about it. See, that's why I didn't want to talk about it in the first place I'm done goodbye.)
That's right baby. Nothing's the matter with college football if you root for Kansas and the Gray Lady is plugged into the sports scene like nobody else.
ALL THE THINGS ARE HAPPENING IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL RIGHT NOW #HAM— Luke Zimmermann (@lukezim) October 4, 2014
And I'm stuck watching one team that doesn't want to be there play another team that has no business being there. God didn't give me 100 sports channels so I could soldier on through this mess.
I was shocked by the TCU result. Shocked. All the sudden the Big 12 looks like the 2nd deepest league in America and one of those games I had circled as ‘probable' in the quest to get to 6 doesn't look quite so easy.
And then insanity broke out and by the end of the day Ole Miss and Mississippi State were ensconced atop the SEC West, top 10 teams were still falling well after midnight and Katy Perry was jumping into crowds. It was a crazy, crazy day and I couldn't help reminiscing about my favorite college football season ever.
Pssst. pic.twitter.com/vlpB84VoYz— Ben Kercheval (@BenKercheval) October 5, 2014
And this is my favorite college football poll of alltime not from 1993. I mean you have KENTUCKY AND WEST VIRGINIA IN THE TOP 10. When I finish my rec room one day far in the future, I feel like I should just paint a mural of this poll on the ceiling. God 2007 was a glorious, insane year and if you squint your eyes you can see a little of it in 2014. USC was officially no longer a dynasty and Bama hadn't gotten rolling yet so you had a power vacuum of sorts. Same thing here with the Bama run seeming to be coming to an end (nailed it!) (((shoot in link to my Alabama post)))). There were emergent powers in the top 5 that we hadn't seen in a long, long time. South Florida and Boston College in '07, Ole Miss and Mississippi State this year. Ohio State rang in the modern "Big Ten Sucks" era with a record much more impressive than the team and we still see the same thing now.
Listen, saying a year is going to be as nuts as 2007 is like saying "hey I think that guy can party as hard as Hunter S. Thompson." So I'm not saying that. What I'm saying is 2014 is set up so that a weekend like this past one, where 7 top 10 teams lost could end up being the rule as opposed to the exception. Let's just say I don't envy Oliver and his playoff committee their impending task to chose the most deserving four.
Clint Trickett on his tackle after INT - "That's a message to the Big12. You pick me off, that's going to happen. Don't piss me off." #WVU— Chris Anderson (@CMAnderson247) October 5, 2014
As the great Hank Hill would say, "that boy ain't right."
All in all a win is a win so who are we to complain about a little special teams blunder here and there, right? I mean what's the difference between 46-0 or 33-0 or 33-7 or 33-14 when you get right down to it. Just chuck another one into that left hand column and all is well. We're in great shape guys.
(I'm going to need a lot of beer to get through the next 8 weeks)