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WVU football notebook: Holgorsen focused on own plight

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Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia coach Dan Holgorsen has maintained his sense of humor throughout the Mountaineers' four-game losing streak — longest at the school since 2001.

Asked if he's offered encouragement to Washington State coach Mike Leach, who has struggled in his first season, Holgorsen didn't mince words prior to the Mountaineers' game Saturday night against No. 12 Oklahoma.

“I'm more concerned about what I'm going through,'' said Holgorsen, who is in his second season. “It's a little bit more about me than it is him.''

Smith on track for 4,000 yards

Holgorsen has produced 4,000-yard passers in his each of the past seven seasons. West Virginia senior quarterback Geno Smith, who threw for 4,385 yards a year ago, is on pace to reach the 4,000-yard milestone again this year. He had thrown for 3,041 yards entering Saturday night's game for an average of nearly 340 yards per outing with three regular season games and perhaps a bowl game left on the schedule.

Breaking new ground

Oklahoma senior wide receiver Justin Brown may be a familiar name to some area college football fans. Brown played his first three seasons at Penn State before transferring to Oklahoma prior to the season.

Brown entered Saturday night's game ranked second on the team in receptions (41), receiving yards (537) and touchdown receptions (four). More important, he ranked second in the Big 12 and fifth in the country averaging 16.2 yards per punt return.

“They (Sooners) hit two home runs on transfers,'' Holgorsen said. “The Brown kid from Penn State and the (Jalen) Saunders kid from Fresno State are special.''

Saunders caught a 76 yard touchdown pass in the second quarter.

New look for offense

West Virginia unveiled a new offensive look against Oklahoma. Senior receiver Tavon Austin lined up as a running back and bolted for a nine-yard gain on WVU's first series.

Oklahoma immediately called timeout to adjust its defense. On WVU's next drive, Austin carried the ball three consecutive times up the middle, including a 31-yard run that led to a field goal.

John Harris is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at

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