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Mountaineer Retweet: A Look Back At WVU's Survival At Maryland

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West Virginia kept the cardiologists in business with a thrilling (if not aesthetically pleasing) win at Maryland that honestly didn't need to be that thrilling. But we'll take it. And we'll tweet about it.

Patrick Smith

Sorry this came out a day late. Had some stuff come up Sunday night that kept me away from my beloved keyboard.

The natives are clearly restless, so without further ado, here we go!

I'll be honest, the hardest part of this thing is going to be keeping it to a manageable length. In fact I gave serious thought to doing a first half / second half 2 part edition, but that's just self-indulgent and unwieldy. We are all (or at least most of us) adults with important adulty things to do. So I'll do what I can and attempt to describe what we went through in less than 278 tweets and 10,000 words. As a great man once said, let's roll.....

Let's get ready for some LIIIIIVE ACTION!!!!!


Clearly an American monument deserving of a bronze plaque. Also I'm pretty sure that sloppily drawn outline could have done a better job running the league than Marinatto. And John would kill for that figure.

I don't know who but some dumbass who's name rhymes with Drandon Gritty wrote that Tonkery would be back for this game. The lesson as always: that guy is an idiot and the champagne in Chris' VIP room is always accurate. For a Mountaineer defense that anticipated being tested that was a tough blow, though.

Yep, gotta be sure we got enough powder. Hey, how about just to be safe we make 3 different trips into the red zone and come away with nothing! Then we'll DEFINITELY have enough powder!!

In last week's game preview I wrote about the WVU big play woes. The Mountaineers were ranked 7th nationally in plays for 10 yards or more but 52nd nationally in plays of 20 yards or more and dead freaking last for plays of 30 yards or more with just one. Well the first play of the game was a screen that went for 50 yards. And that wasn't to be the last big play of the day. Holgorsen's offense has a proven track record and it was fun to watch this progression to the mean.

I remember watching the Mountaineer play the Texas Longhorns in a basketball game on the Longhorn Network and describing it as a "horrible life experience." I feel like the Big Ten Network would have been the same....but I try not to make the same mistake twice in life and synced my TV up with the WVU IMG radio broadcast.

(by the way that's secretly my favorite thing about DVRs - I can sync video of games up with audio and am spared awful announcers. Sometimes God takes extra special care of his children.....)

Conference solidarity!

Everybody hold hands and sing "The Big 10 is laughably terrible!!!"

I had a sneaking suspicion all week that WVU might be primed to boat-race Maryland. And when I heard WVU sideline reporter Jed Drenning say that Holgorsen's pregame remarks were the shortest that he'd ever heard I was giddy. "In 30 seconds you're going to come out of this tunnel like you own this field." This team was primed to unload on someone.Then they flew down the field with ease and punched it in and we had the return of "Angry cause I'm fired up and we're taking care of business" Holgo, not to be confused with "Angry and not really able to direct that anger anywere productive unless you count obliterating headsets as productive" Holgo. The former is a very fine football coach. The latter has been nowhere to be seen this season and that's a good thing.

Seriously Maryland, laying it on a little thick weren't you? "OK we want uniforms that have the 'Star Spangled Banner' written in script on the helmet and sleeves and a patriotic color scheme and some sort of flaggy-like fort-in-plan looking thing on the helmet and then - wait for it - on the back where more lesser individualistic teams put their names we will put TRIUMPH because we shall TRIUMPH and we LOVE AMERICA MORE THAN YOU BECAUSE WE ARE NEAR A FORT!!!"

On second thought you know what Maryland you're perfect for the Big Ten, where self-importance and seriousness aren't simply life-rules, but things to be inscribed upon stone and carried in the upper-breast pocket of your dark-toned suit because SOMETIMES THE WORLD NEEDS ADULTS.

(Gawd they're insufferable)

It was friggin' beautiful.

Those are crazy stupid numbers.

WE'RE ROLLIN' BOYS!!!!!

I mean, things can't possibly get better can they?


AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHA IS THIS HEAVEN!!!!!

Well if it makes you feel any better neither did Alabama.

Holgorsen gave Kevin White a bit of a hard time in the postgame presser after Towson saying the staff didn't "think he likes scoring touchdowns" but was clearly challenging his best receiver to step up and make some of those big plays that had been lacking.The catch and run was perfect - it flashed some speed we hadn't seen from Kevin before and there was nothing that was going to keep him out of that end zone.

Yuuuuup.

Meahwhile, back in Blacksburg:

Nah, it's fine. You're juuuuust fine V Tech.

It really was awful.

Me, too.

And it was rolling and rolling. Trickett nailed Alford for another score the next WVU possession and the 'eers were up 28-6. The Terps answered with a long score to Stefon Diggs off a blown coverage but the lead was still 15 and Maryland still hadn't shown any ability to stop the WVU attack.

Nothing can stop us now, baby!

Then things got weird.

Then things got crappy.

It started here when Clint Trickett made probably his only error of the game and ignored his outlet - Wendell Smallwood in a LOT of wide open space - to try to force in a pass. He was clearly feeling it and this one was just a biiiit too much. But the pass was picked off and Maryland was in business. This was the beginning of a pretty brutal stretch of WVU football.

huh?

Great way to describe it. Twitter was paralyzed. No #HotTakes, no strong opinions, not even an argument over what had just happened, because nobody understood what the hell had just happened. There aren't many times you can genuinely say "I've never seen that before." But we had never seen that before.

There's actually some validity to this - not the snarky part about Holgo not knowing the rules but the part about him making the refs aware. Folks on the sideline said there was confusion and a point at which the refs seemed ready to allow the score. The WVU sideline pleaded it's case and the call was overturned. And to their credit they got the call right.

I needed a happy thought. Cause things aren't getting any better.

You should be ashamed. A Frozen reference? REALLY?

Quick halftime break to remember things that matter much more than football games and to point out that veterans make up a higher percentage of the West Virginia state population than in any other state. Y'all are heroes and we thank you for what you give up. Thank. You.

Back to the silliness.....

Yeah but dude got drilled at the end of the half and can probably barely think, what's the worst that could happen?

Completely inex-friggin-scusable. This is the crap we saw last year and that had been absent this year. This team is talented, but not talented enough to take plays off. Just like that we had a 1 point game. From 28-6 to a 1 point game.

Then it went from bad to worse. I didn't understand the call to go for it at all. If you're playing a team that you're clearly superior to and protecting a 1 point lead on the road, don't you just take the damn points? Maryland had popped the two big plays but for the most part wasn't moving the ball much and the WVU offense was unstoppable. Live to fight another day. This looked too much like the Impulsive Holgo that I thought we'd left behind.

Second trip into the red zone that resulted in nothing.

Dammit I'm so mad right now even a picture of a marine shaking a kangaroo's hand can't cheer me...aw hell who am I kidding that's pretty cool. BUT DAMMIT WHY ARE WE ONLY LEADING MARYLAND BY A POINT????

Let it be known that sucking up to the host will get you in the Retweet every time.

Enormous special teams play right there to create a little breathing room. Man our special teams has been great lately. Had the punt block against Texas last year, the 100 yard kick return against Bama, this block......boy things are sure going great!

(sad trombone)

I thought we were past this. I really, really did. Squirt had a nice return against last week and a nice return in this game and I really thought we were past this. What scares me is I don't think there is anyone else. I mean if there were, wouldn't we have seen them? But this is unacceptable. You've got to be able to field a punt. What's worse is that on the next one either Thompson was told to run away or he did of his own accord and once the ball bounced at the 25 and rolled it cost the Mountaineers almost 20 yards in field position.  A FIFTH OF THE FIELD!!! BECAUSE THEY CAN'T FIELD A PUNT.

There was a lot of this type of thing on Twitter and I get that. The failures on Saturday were costly. But let's stop and think - both kick coverage units were among the best in the nation last year. We've now made a pair of long game-winning field goals in the last 8 games or so. We've blocked two hugely meaningful punts in the last 6 games (Texas and at Maryland). We had that kick return against Bama. When DeForest called special teams a "wash" in his postgame comments, if he had prefaced that with "on the season" then fact of the matter is he'd be right.

But yeah they sucked out loud on Saturday. The punt return TD was awful, that entire coverage unit was just a damn mess.

Inexplicably disappeared for a large chunk of the game - a chunk that just so happened to be when Maryland made their late run. That shouldn't happen.

Because Kevin White is a damn monster.

PISSED OFF FOR GREATNESS BABY!!!!!

So the Mountaineers got the ball back at their own 5 yard line with 2:35 left. What followed was a curious few minutes that perfectly punctuated a curious afternoon.

Well I might not go that far, but I don't know that I've ever seen a last-second game-winning drive go:

Run-Run-Run-Run-Pass-Pass-Pass-Pass-Run-Pass-Run-Pass-Kick.

That was taken directly form the play-by-play log. Oh, did I mention WVU ended that run-heavy two-minute drive with a timeout in their pocket? I mean I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth but that was odd. But it worked which is the only thing that matters, and Holgorsen went so far as to dismiss any doubts about his clock management by saying afterwards that "I'm used to operating without timeouts ... we might have left a few of them back there but who cares." He actually said that.

So right when I was ready to write flowing prose about all-grown-up Holgo he goes and does that. But again - it worked. And now nobody has any idea what the hell he'll do when he's in that position facing their team.

High drama....

From a man who knows something about game-winning 3s.

Well, at least Maryland still does crab cakes.

Perhaps your genius simply exceeds our capacity to understand genius.

I think he's earned it.

Was it perfect? Obviously not, but one way or another these guys were going to face adversity. And I'd rather face it against Maryland sporting a 22 point lead than a week later when the Oklahoma Sooners come to town. There's no such thing as a bad win and there was certainly a lot to like about this one. So appreciate that this is a 2-1 team with a lot of room to improve and a huge opportunity coming up on Saturday night.

So keep on tweeting and LET'S GOOOOO!!!!!