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West Virginia notebook: Holgorsen admits mistake in bypassing field goal

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By Bob Hertzel

Published: Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013, 8:24 p.m.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen left himself open for second guessing with a rather startling decision he made in the first quarter of the Mountaineers' 37-27 loss Saturday afternoon to No. 16 Texas Tech.

First, the situation.

It was the closing minute of the first quarter, Texas Tech leading 10-0.

WVU had driven to the Red Raiders' 17, then two penalties — a 15-yard penalty and a 10-yard penalty — surrounded an incomplete pass, making it third and 30 at the Texas Tech 42.

Holgorsen, ranting and raving on the sidelines about the penalties, called a running play to Charles Sims, who broke loose for 16 yards, making it fourth and 14 at the 26.

Instead of sending out the field goal unit — WVU kicker Josh Lambert made 30-yard and 33-yard field goals during the game — Holgorsen opted to gamble and go for it.

Quarterback Clint Trickett threw a long pass near the goal line that fell incomplete.

Had the field goal been kicked, West Virginia would have trailed 10-3.

Holgorsen admitted it was a mistake to bypass the field goal attempt.

“We were moving the ball. At the time, we were moving the ball, but the penalties just kept backing us up,” Holgorsen said. “It was about a 45-yard field goal. I should have kicked it.”

What was his thinking then?

“My thinking at that point was we were moving the ball, and they had just taken it down and scored two times (a TD and field goal) in a row, so I figured touchdowns would be important,” Holgorsen said. “I should have kicked a field goal, but it was fourth and 2 or whatever it was, and I felt good about going for it, but it was not the right decision.”

Fourth and 2? Could Holgorsen have looked up and mistaken the down and distance?

No, said WVU offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson, who discussed the play with Holgorsen. Dawson said the coaches felt they needed a touchdown and were going for a play that would get them at least 12 yards.

Better than advertised

Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury is the first coach in Big 12 history to start his career 7-0.

“I saw ESPN College GameDay and the ones who picked against us,” he said. “I hope they give us that locker room material. The players are aware of where they were picked (to finish) at the beginning of the year. We want to show everyone that we're not that bad. Let's put it that way.”

Around the Mountaineers

Texas Tech was without injured receiver Jakeem Grant, who is a force despite being 5-foot-6 and 160 pounds. He is among the fastest players in the Big 12. ... Former West Virginia coach Frank Cignetti, who is going to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame for his coaching at Indiana (Pa.), was honored at the game. ... Texas Tech, ranked 16th, was the fourth ranked team played by WVU in its first seven games. ... West Virginia had four first downs by penalty.

— Bob Hertzel



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