West Virginia senior defensive lineman Darius Stills and sophomore Tykee Smith were named to the Associated Press All-America First and Third teams, respectively. Stills adds this honor to being named Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year, a Big 12 All-Defense First Team member, and first-team All-American honors by ESPN, USA Today, and Bleacher Report.
West Virginia’s second-leading tackler will be back for another season in Gold and Blue. Redshirt senior safety Alonzo Addae announced on Christmas Eve that he will use his extra year of eligibility and return for the 2021 season.
On this episode of “Three Guys Before The Game,” the guys discuss West Virginia’s matchup with Army in the Liberty Bowl. This game includes both schematic and mental challenges for a WVU team that hopes to take a momentum gaining victory into the off-season.
When West Virginia faces Army on Thursday, the Mountaineers will have had about ten days to gear up for one of the truly unique offenses in college football. The Black Knights employ an option offense to produce the fourth-best rushing attack in the country.
When the Mountaineers take the field Thursday in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, they will play their first game in 26 days. Their most recent outing was a low point in the season, a 42-6 loss to Iowa State.
With action about to resume following the holiday break, West Virginia remains in the top 10 in the latest AP Top 25 poll. The Mountaineers fell two spots to #9 this week following their loss at Kansas. Prior to that, WVU had four wins in a row to climb to #7.
In their 7-2 start, the Mountaineers have not been able to get many minutes for their younger players. Only in the 87-71 win over Richmond was West Virginia able to get out to a large lead in the first half. WVU is hoping to get its younger players some in-game experience against 1-4 Northeastern.
West Virginia will be looking to bounce back from its 79-65 loss to Kansas, when Northeastern comes to Morgantown. The Mountaineers are also hoping this game against a weaker opponent will give sophomore forward Oscar Tshiebwe a chance to get out of his slump.
Around the Big 12
#21 Oklahoma State will rely on its powerful defense when the Cowboys face the #18 Hurricanes. Miami is looking to rebound after getting routed 62-26 by North Carolina in its regular-season finale.
Texas coach Tom Herman faced months of speculation he might get dumped after his fourth season, but now has a chance to lead the Longhorns to their fourth straight bowl victory. The depleted Longhorn defense will face Colorado running back Jarek Broussard, who comes in averaging 162.6 yards rushing.
Kansas State’s Mike McGuirl, Nijel Pack and Selton Miguel have combined to score 45 percent of the team’s points this season, including 45 percent of all Wildcats scoring over the last five games.
Around the NCAA
Liberty ended Coastal Carolina’s perfect season with a blocked kick in overtime. Elijah James blocked Massimo Biscardi’s 42-yard field goal attempt to give #23 Liberty a 37-34 victory over #9 Coastal Carolina in a wild finish Saturday night in the FBC Mortgage Cure Bowl.
Buffalo running back Kevin scored on a one-yard touchdown run with 1:09 left after a clock-eating drive and the Bulls made a final defensive stop to beat Marshall, 17-10, in the Camellia Bowl on Friday.
Maryland snapped #9 Wisconsin’s 15-game home winning streak and a stretch of 10 straight conference wins that dated back to last season. Eric Ayala scored 17 points, while Aaron Wiggins added 15 points and nine rebounds for the Terrapins.
Georgia State scored touchdowns on four consecutive first-half possessions on Saturday in the LendingTree Bowl in a 39-21 victory over Western Kentucky.
Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence looks like he will be the clear #1 pick, but he could be followed by two or three more quarterbacks in the top ten of the 2021 NFL Draft.
With Kawhi Leonard out for the Clippers, the Mavericks won 124-73 to give Los Angeles their biggest loss in franchise history. The Mavs’ 50-point lead was the biggest at the half in league history since the NBA adopted the shot clock.
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