WVU notebook: Defense enjoys vindication
AMES, Iowa — The last time West Virginia's defense allowed fewer than 30 points in a game was in a 31-21 win over Maryland on Sept. 22. That was eight games ago.
Saturday's 31-24 victory at Iowa State provided some measure of vindication for a defense that had given up 49.6 points during a five-game losing streak that ended with Saturday's win.
“Our defense played really, really well,” defensive coordinator Joe DeForest said. “They implemented the game plan, they fought hard, and they didn't miss as many tackles. Ultimately, turnovers win games for you.”
WVU created the only turnover when redshirt junior safety Darwin Cook knocked the ball loose from Iowa State running back Jeff Woody and freshman Karl Joseph recovered in the end zone for a touchback with the Mountaineers holding a 31-24 lead late in the game.
“We had to go out there and make one more stop,” Cook said. “We made the big play at the right time.”
• WVU kicker Tyler Bitancurt hit the upright twice on field goal attempts. One attempt missed, while the other banged off the upright and through. Bitancurt's reaction? It's about time. “Coach (Dana) Holgorsen has been reminding us to prepare and expect the ball to bounce our way, and that's exactly what happened,” he said. Bitancurt converted 3 of 4 field goals.
• Tavon Austin established a new WVU record with most receptions in a season. Austin had six catches for 99 yards to reach 106 catches this season. He set the previous record with 101 catches in 2011. Austin has 12 touchdown receptions this season and 29 in his career.
• Stedman Bailey had 82 receiving yards against Iowa State, giving him 1,342 yards this season, a school record. Bailey set the previous record with 1,279 yards in 2011.
• Bailey has 21 touchdown receptions this season and a school-record 37 in his career.
— John Harris