WVU notebook: Holiday or Pinstripe Bowl possible landing spots for Mountaineers
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Asked if he has a preference in bowl games, West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen was noncommittal about where he wants the Mountaineers to play.
West Virginia has been mentioned most prominently with the Dec. 27 Holiday Bowl in San Diego and the Dec. 29 Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium in New York.
Bowl pairings officially will be announced Sunday.
“There's nothing we can do about it,” Holgorsen said. “I know there's a pecking order. When the specific bowls have an opportunity to pick, I would think there's a lot of bowls out there that would want the Mountaineers to play in their bowl for a number of reasons.”
The Mountaineers will be making their 11th consecutive bowl appearance and their second under Holgorsen. Last year, West Virginia defeated Clemson, 70-33, in the Orange Bowl.
“We have some obvious star power. Our fans travel well. I would think there would be a whole bunch of bowls that would want us in their game,” Holgorsen said.
Senior quarterback Geno Smith, a Heisman Trophy candidate earlier this season, has passed for 4,004 yards and 40 touchdowns this season. Smith favors a trip to the Holiday Bowl over the Pinstripe Bowl.
“I want to go somewhere hot,” Smith said. “I've been dealing with the cold about two or three months. I want to go somewhere warm.”
Holgorsen saluted his 21 seniors following the 59-10 win Saturday over Kansas.
“Those guys have been through coaching changes, conference changes. They've never said once, ‘This isn't fair,'” Holgorsen said.
“These seniors are the glue that kept everything together when we were challenged. That's what they're going to be remembered for, the class that spearheaded the transition into the Big 12 and had success.”
Smith's completion percentage of 95.8 (23 of 24) tied the NCAA record with a minimum of 20 passing attempts. Tennessee's Tee Martin set the record against South Carolina on Oct. 31, 1998. … Smith leads the nation with 40 touchdown passes. … Stedman Bailey leads the nation with 23 touchdown receptions. … With 187 all-purpose yards, Tavon Austin set the WVU season record with 2,760 yards. Austin set WVU's previous record of 2,574 in 2011. ... WVU set a school record with 6,222 total yards this season. The previous record was set last season. … Redshirt freshman linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski of Bethel Park made his first career start and recorded three tackles and one pass breakup.
John Harris is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.