| Sports

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

WVU football coach refuses to look past Kansas State

College Football Videos

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Bob Hertzel
Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013, 10:09 p.m.

MORGANTOWN — With the toughest part of the schedule behind him and firm in his belief he is seeing improvement in his 3-4 football team, West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen has a singular goal — Saturday's game at Kansas State.

The third-year coach left no doubt about that when asked if beating Kansas State or getting to a bowl was more important.

“It's Kansas State right now,” he said. “A bowl game is important, but a fourth win is more important right now.”

West Virginia has five games remaining, and while none — not even the meeting at lowly Kansas — can be called a sure win, WVU has to find two other victories to become bowl eligible.

With Texas, TCU and Iowa State the other three games on the schedule, some would say beating Kansas State (2-4, 0-3) would become a high priority if WVU is to gain respectability as well as a bowl game.

However, Kansas State presents a three-fold problem.

First, the game is at the Wildcats home field in Manhattan, Kan.

“That is a heck of a place to play,” Holgorsen said. “I've been there many times and the students are right behind our bench and are loud and rowdy. It will be a tremendous challenge.”

Then there is the matter of facing the most veteran of Big 12 coaches in 74-year-old Bill Snyder.

One of football's most highly respected coaches, Snyder has had a bye week to prepare for the Mountaineers.

“It starts with Bill Snyder, who has built the program over 22 years. He is a tremendous football coach who does a lot of things for our profession and for his kids building character, using discipline and getting them to play hard.”

And third, Holgorsen said, “They are better than their record … and I think we're better than our record.”

Holgorsen did see improvement in a number of areas last Saturday while building a 27-16 lead in the third quarter, only to fall apart down the stretch, being outgained 164 yards to 29 in the fourth quarter of what wound up a 37-27 defeat.

The running game improved greatly, as did the pass protection, but most important quarterback Clint Trickett's throwing arm healed to the point he could complete 27 of 43 passes for 254 yards.

“I do think he played his best game,” Holgorsen said of Trickett's performance. “It was not a winning performance, but he's healthy. He'll be able to rep Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, which is the first time he's been able to do that in long time. We'll give him the majority of the reps and try to get him better.”

Trickett came off an awful performance while injured against Baylor, completing just nine passes, leaving him with a 41.2 completion percentage entering the Texas Tech game. Against the Red Raiders, though, he completed 27 of 43 passes for 254 yards and a touchdown.

At the same time WVU's defense shook off the beating it took at Baylor to perform credibly until the fourth quarter against Texas Tech.

Bob Hertzel is a freelance writer.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read WVU

  1. Big 12 adds wrestling, gymnastics affiliate members
  2. WVU adds ex-Marshall forward to men’s basketball roster