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wvu football

WVU Football Loses Close battle with Kansas State

West Virginia falls 23-24 on the road against Kansas State

Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
 WVU 3 10 7 3 23
KSU 0 3 14 7 24

It seemed to be the year that WVU football would defeat Kansas State for the first time since joining the Big 12. The Mountaineers came out strong to begin the game, dominating the first half. Though the Kansas State defense was able to hold West Virginia to only one touchdown in the first half, the Skyler Howard-to-Jovon Durante 24-yard pass kept the Mountaineers competing on the scoreboard for the remainder of the game.

It looked as though WVU football would get a little bit more help in the beginning of the 3rd quarter. Kansas State starting QB Joe Hubener ran for four-yards before going down with an injury, forcing Hubener to leave the game after completing only 6 of his 19-passes. With that, K-State was forced to put wide receiver Cody Cook in as their QB. What may have been game-ending for the Wildcats turned out to be a contributing factor to the eventual Mountaineer defeat. On his first play, Cook connected a pass with Kyle Klein, putting Kansas State at the West Virginia 12-yard line. three, short plays later, Cook ran the ball in for Kansas State’s first touchdown of the game.

Though the Mountaineers had out-gained the Wildcats 447-304, achieved 7 more first downs, and went into halftime leading by 10-points, the Kansas City special teams was able to wrap it up and defeat WVU football by a single point. Some of the struggle came with West Virginia’s passing game, with Howard only completing 19 of 42 attempts. The past four winds from WVU came from their strong running game. Jordan Thompson achieved the most catches (5) for 127-yards for West Virginia and Daikiel Shorts Jr. combined with Howard for seven catches and 68-yards. But it wasn’t enough to get the Mountaineers on a 5-game winning streak.

The good news? WVU football is still going to a bowl game! Your West Virginia Mountaineers will be meeting with Arizona State in the Motel 6 Cactus Bowl on January 2, 2016. Make sure your family is ready to cheer on your favorite team with gear from Mountaineer World under your Christmas tree this year!

Game Heroes

Though the Mountaineers tried to make the most of their passing game on Saturday, Wendell Smallwood earns our game-day hero title once again. Smallwood has been the Mountaineers’ top running back all season and continued to show his leadership, technique, and skill on Saturday against the Wildcats.

Falling just behind Texas Tech’s DeAndre Washington for the Big 12 rushing title, Smallwood ended his regular season with 1,447 yard – 8 points short of Washington. 141 yards of that total was earned in 25 carries against the Wildcats of Kansas State. In addition to his yardage, Smallwood was able to contribute a touchdown to his team after a 14-yard run into the end one in the third quarter. He was named Big-12 Offensive Co-Player of the Week.

Game Highlights

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WVU Football Remains Bowl Eligible

WVU Football Concludes Home Game Schedule with Win Over Cyclones

Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
 WVU 7 6 10 7 30
ISU 0 6 0 0 6

Game Overview

WVU Football ended this season’s home game schedule with a four game winning streak after defeating Iowa State at Milan Puskar Stadium on Saturday, November 28th. The win came after some odd, lack luster fake punt attempts from ISU Head Coach Paul Rhoads who had nothing to lose as he was given notice that he would not be the Cyclones Head Coach next season following their loss to Kansas State. Despite Iowa State’s fake punt attempts – two of which were successful against West Virginia’s punt return team – WVU struggle to keep their head above water until halfway through the 3rd quarter. Head Coach Dana Holgorsen commented after the game, “Glad that’s over,” as he spoke about his team’s performance on Saturday.

After stopping the Cyclones’ first possession of the second half, the Mountaineers began to pull further ahead. Josh Lambert sent both a 34-yard field goal on the board, setting the score at 16-6. Starting quarterback Skyler Howard followed suit, running 32-yards for a touchdown after Rushel Shell and Wendell Smallwood combined with Howard for an 83-yard scoring drive to put the Mountaineers within scoring distance.

The third fake punt attempt met with misfortune for the Cyclones as they went against the WVU defense. WVU got the ball at the ISU 15-yard line a Shell was able to carry it into the end zone for a touchdown.

The West Virginia defense carried their stellar performance from the shutout victory over Kansas with 3 turnovers and 5 sacks.

WVU remains bowl eligible after Saturday’s win. Both Fox Sports and CBS Sports predicts West Virginia to play in the Cactus Bowl on Jan. 2 against California in a Big 12, PAC 12 match-up. ESPN projections for West Virginia put them in either the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl against LSU or the Cactus Bowl with California. The experts at SB Nation also have West Virginia appearing in the Cactus Bowl, but facing USC in Tempe, Arizona.

Do you think WVU will be heading to a bowl game this year? If so, let us know in the comments where you think our Mountaineers will be heading.

Game Heroes

Saturday’s best performance was given by the entire West Virginia defense. Coming off of a shut out victory over the Jayhawks on Saturday, November 21st, the WVU defense continued their strong performance against ISU on Saturday.

The defense finished the game on Sataurday with 5 sacks, a 3 turnovers against the Cyclones. WVU was able to hold Iowa State at 284 yards, while the offense put up 415 yards against the Cyclones. The opposition averaged a mere 3.5 yards on 80 plays.

Game Highlights

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WVU Football Earns Shut Out Victory Over Jayhawks

WVU Football is Bowl Game Eligible After Win Over Kansas City

Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
 WVU 28 14 7 0 49
KU 0 0 0 0 0

Game Recap

WVU Football earned its first shutout victory since 2012, the year they joined the Big 12 conference. The Kansas City Jayhawks have been through a trying season, featuring a roster made-up of mostly true freshman and redshirt freshman, and you could tell the inexperience when the Mountaineers took the field. Of West Virginia’s first six possessions, the team capitalized on four of them.

A gusty wind blanketed Kivisto Field Memorial Stadium on Saturday, but that didn’t keep the Mountaineers down as Terrell Chestnut forced the Jayhawks Tre’ Parmalee to fumble, which kicked off the Mountaineers’ scoring with a Rushel Shell touchdown several plays later. Chestnut came up big for WVU on the next play when he caught an interception from Kansas City QB Ryan Willis and brought it back for the second touchdown of the game.

West Virginia continued their first quarter scoring run with two more touchdowns that came by way of their running backs. Though the West Virginia running game has been getting stronger throughout the season, it climaxed against Kansas City on Saturday. Skyler Howard was also able to get in on the running game in the beginning of the second quarter as he weaved his way through the Jayhawk defense for a 42-yard gain. At the 3-yard line, Howard threw a short pass to Cody Clay in the back of the end zone to put the Mountaineers up 35-0.

On the next possession, Howard chose to take it in himself from the nine with about 5 minutes to go in the first half. The question after the first half wasn’t if West Virginia would take the game, but if for the first time since 1969, would the Mountaineers have three 100-yard rushers in the same game.

At the end of the third quarter, it happened. After Howard collected his 100-yards by the end of the second quarter, Wendell Smallwood had collected his 100 by the beginning of the third, leaving Rushel Shell. With two minutes left on the board during the third quarter, Shell ran the ball for 19 yards to earn 102 rushing yards and complete the trifecta.

By the conclusion of the game, the Kansas City Jayhawks were leaving with a loss, and the Mountaineers were able to say that they are bowl eligible yet again under Head Coach Dana Holgerson. Exactly what bowl game will remain undetermined until WVU finishes regular season play, but we know Mountaineer Nation will be excitedly awaiting the announcement.

 Game Heroes

With a first in 46 years, the heroes of the game would have to go to the three 100-yard rushers against Kansas City. Howard, Smallwood, and Shell combined for a fierce trio that couldn’t be stopped against the inexperienced Jayhawks.

Howard not only ran an amazing rushing game, but completed 13 of 22 passes including a touchdown despite the vicious wind during play. Smallwood and Shell came through early in the game, guaranteeing a Mountaineer victory before the end of the first quarter.

Unsung Heroes

We can’t forget the explosive start to the WVU shutout victory. Chestnut kicked the game off in high fashion, making plays to ensure WVU would earn a win. When a player comes out the way Chestnut did to start the game, they set the tone for the entire team for the remainder of the game.

Since struggling with an upsetting October schedule, WVU needs players who can pick the team up and set them back on the right path again, and Chestnut’s timing couldn’t have been better. With the win, WVU will continue play into Bowl season this year.

WVU football continues play on Saturday November 28th at 12PM against Iowa State at home. Be sure to make it into Mountaineer World before the game to get geared-up for another Mountaineer win!

Game Highlights

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WVU Football Gets the Win Against Texas Tech

WVU Football Unites to Defeat Texas Tech 31 – 26

Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
 WVU 7 10 7 7 31
TTU 7 7 3 9 26

Game Recap

In the first time this season, and perhaps the first time in a long time – WVU football came together, united on all fronts, to guarantee themselves a win against Texas Tech. Against a team who was able to put up 52-points against TCU and 53-points on Oklahoma State, the Mountaineers were able to shut their scoring down. The defense worked hard to prevent the score from turning to the Red Raiders favor, but this time they weren’t alone in doing so.

The offensive running game from West Virginia was outstanding Saturday against Texas Tech. Wendell Smallwood ran for a season-high 163-yards, earning a touchdown from 16-yards out for the Mountaineers. Rushel Shell also came up big for the Mountaineer, with 111-yards and two touchdowns from a short distance. Of the 449-yards WVU was able to gather, 300 of them came from runs. All-in-all, the Mountaineers were able to play a complete, united game of football on Saturday. Against a team that may become eligible for a bowl game after their game against Kansas State, this win could set the tone for the remainder of the season for WVU.

While the offense ran the ball against a defense who has only allowed about 270-yards against the per game, the defense was also hard at work stopping the Texas Tech offensive. The Red Raiders were only able to walk away from Saturday’s game with 378-yards, falling well-short of their season average of 603-yards.

Skyler Howard completed 12-of-23 passes – however five of his passes completed to Ka’Ruan White for 80 yards.

Game Heroes

It’s hard to name just one hero in the win over Texas Tech. However, there are a few names who come to mind when you think about Saturday’s game.

Smallwood’s running game accounted for much of the Mountaineer victory. During the second half – and a close score – Smallwood took the ball from the Texas Tech 47 to the 129-yard line in 3 consecutive runs after a personal fowl by the Red Raiders. Howard attempted a pass to Jovon Durante that fell incomplete, before returning to Smallwood on the next play. Smallwood ran the football to the 19-yard line, earning perhaps the most important third down of the game.

Smallwood was given the ball again and again achieved significant yards, landing the Mountaineers at the 6-yard line. Howard attempted a short run into the end zone, which didn’t result in a TD, but did force a personal foul when his helmet was removed by Micah Awe during play. Howard was able to run the clock out, taking a knee 3 times and ending the game with a score of 31-26.

Preparing for Texas

After a rough October schedule, no one was expecting the Mountaineers to pull together and finish the rest of the season on a positive note. However, West Virginia was able to unite and defeat a team that may be bowl-eligible after next Saturday’s game.

The Mountaineers could have come into the game against Texas Tech with their heads down and no one would blame them after their performance through October. Fortunately for Mountaineer fans, the WVU Football team has finally, after 4 consecutive losses, played a full game of football. All four quarters, down the the very last minutes of the game the offense, defense, and special teams began and completed every play as if the next point determined the win. It’s that drive and a winning attitude that will carry the team to victory over Texas on November 14th at noon.

What do you think our mountaineers have to do to guarantee a win on the road against the Longhorns?

Game Highlights

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October Schedule Proves Too Much to Handle for WVU Football

WVU falls 38-62 to No. 2 Baylor on the road

Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
 WVU 0 10 0 0 10
OSU 17 6 14 3 40

Game Recap

WVU football concludes their overwhelmingly brutal October schedule with a 10-40 loss to 5th ranked TCU on Thursday October 29th. TCU’s quarterback Trevone Boykin performed so well, in fact, he got a high-five after going out of bounds from West Virginia Head Coach Dana Holgerson in a show of both respect and confusion at what he just witnessed. Holgorsen was quoted saying, “He made one of the best plays I’d seen in awhile. He was right there, so I  didn’t know what the hell else to do.”

Unfortunately, this loss by West Virginia was a messy one that the team, coaching staff, and fans can’t blame solely on the difficulty of the schedule. Similar to the three games previous to Thursday night’s loss, the Mountaineers didn’t show up for the first half of the game. Mistakes made on both the offensive and defensive line lead to a lopsided score that should not have been as devastating as it was in the end.

TCU opened the game when Boykin threw a 17-yard pass to Josh Doctson for a touchdown. The next play ended in a touchdown when Boykin ran the ball in from the two, flipping over Nana Kyeremeh for the touchdown. Nine more points went on the board for TCU in the first half. The Mountaineer’s only touchdown of the game came early in the second quarter as Skyler Howard connected a 32-yard pass with Shelton Gibson on the receiving end. A field goal by Josh Lambert with about 5 minutes left in the second quarter were the last points WVU would see on the board that game.

Mistakes by the West Virginia defense kept the ball deep in their own territory with seconds remaining in the first half. Kyeremeh was called for holding, which forced a punt by Nick O-Toole in the end zone. WVU defense was called for a substitution infraction, giving up their 44 yard line to TCU. Boykin was able to connect with Doctson for 17-yards and on the next play Jaden Oberkrom was in for a touchdown. After the half, it was a steeper drop down the hill for WVU.

Coming out for the second half, WVU offense struggled to connect passes on both the passing and receiving ends of the ball.  Howard completed only 16 of his 39 passes for 160-yards and 1 touchdown. David Sills was the Mountaineer leading pass-catcher with only 3 catches for 42 yards. Shelton Gibson, Jovon Durante, and Sills all dropped passes from Howard that could have resulted in WVU touchdowns to make the score gap a little less brutal. TCU continued scoring as they did in the first half, with more impressive plays by Boykin and Doctson.

Finding the Silver Lining

It’s hard to find the positives in a game that could have been closer – a game that the Mountaineers entered and left with their heads down. However, the one positive we can all agree on is the November schedule is guaranteed to be a lighter load than what October gave us.

The Mountaineers have the talent to come back from the blow October gave them, but the question is, will they be able to mentally recover from the four consecutive losses?

Preparing for Texas Tech

The Mountaineers face their first November opponent, Texas Tech, at home on Saturday. While Texas Tech does not match the caliber of play WVU football has faced this month, the matchup will still, surely, be tough. The Mountaineers need a clean slate. They need to revert back to the feeling of victory after their first 3 wins on the season and enter Saturday’s game ready to win and maintain that mentality throughout the entire game.

WVUs biggest downfall this season has been their inability to play a full game. Breakdowns in the opening half or the closing half have bee a consistent problem this year and in order to turn the season around it will be their biggest obstacle.

Get your tickets now for Saturday, November 7th when the Mountaineers take on Texas Tech at home with the kickoff set for noon. BE sure to make it into Mountaineer World to get all fo the latest and greatest WVU football gear and accessories to cheer your Mountaineers back into a winning season!

Game Highlights

West Virginia Football Continues to Struggle Through October Schedule

WVU falls 38-62 to No. 2 Baylor on the road

Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
 WVU 7 10 7 14 38
OSU 17 10 21 14 62

Game Recap

We all knew that the October schedule for the Mountaineers would be a tough one, but coming off of three straight losses has Mountaineer fans asking, “what needs to be done?” WVU football conceded a win to the No. 2 Baylor Bears Saturday afternoon on the road. Baylor showed up for vengeance after their only regular season loss last year to the Mountaineers, the question is, did the Mountaineers show up?

The Mountaineer defense was forced to compete with Corey Coleman, who Head Coach Dana Holgorsen describes as “the best player in college football.” Coleman gave his home crowd a little-something extra to cheer about when he broke his single-season school record for TD catches, now totaling 16 on the season. Baylor’s Seth Russel is now the only QB for the Bears – other than RG III – to throw for 300 yards and run for 100 yards in a single game.

Skyler Howard, who ended the game with 4 completed touchdown passes, made the first error after a pass intended for Shelton Gibson ended up int he hands of Baylor’s Ryan Reid in the end zone of what would have been 6-points on the board for West Virginia. Following Howard’s interception, WVU kicker Josh Lambert‘s field goal attempt of 45-yards went wide right and the Mountaineers were forced to enter halftime down by 10.

After halftime, the Mountaineers couldn’t seem to close the gap, and the third missed opportunity came at the end of the third quarter. Adam Pankey jumped too early as Howard was changing plays. What would have been a 1-yard attempt on the fourth down became fourth and six instead. Howard‘s fourth-down attempt to Jovon Durante didn’t connect and Baylor’s seventh touchdown came shortly after on a 52-yard run by Baylor’s Jay Lee.

Baylor hit West Virginia hard in the opening quarter of the game – scoring the first touchdown in under a minute. While the Mountaineers were able to match the Bears point-for-point in in the second quarter, the Bears blew them away again in the third. By the fourth quarter, nothing WVU could do would keep up with their opponent.

Finding the Silver Lining

It’s hard to imagine a bright side when looking at the loss-margin on the scoreboard Saturday night. However, there are some positives to the WVU performance against Baylor.

Positive #1: Skylar Howard performed well, despite the first half interception.

The junior QB completed 18 passes for nearly 300-yards Saturday night, and added 4 touchdowns to the WVU score. Howard, who Holgorsen says, “puts pressure on himself” has been the “fall-guy” in the media after the past WVU losses this season. Despite what the media says about him, Howard has fought through the criticism and begun to improve in high-pressure situations. Had the Mountaineers played Baylor in either of the first two Big 12 games this season, there may have been more than one interception. Though his pass completion remains similar to the game against OSU, he added significant yards to his throws – echoing his stats win against Maryland earlier this season.

Positive #2: The team finishes strong

The Mountaineers already know what they need to do – and there are glimmers of it in the loss to Baylor. The problem lies in their slow start. In the opening quarter, and coming out after the half, the Mountaineers struggled to put points on the board, which when facing top-ranked Big 12 teams is a guaranteed loss and WVU knows it. We can imagine that every player on the field knew after the quick touchdown scored in the opening minute of the game that the loss was inevitable – but they fought for what was almost a tied game going into the half.

Preparing for TCU

The Mountaineers face the same challenge preparing for TCU as they did Baylor – competing throughout the game. With 12 days to prepare against yet another top-ranked team, WVU needs to find a way to put pressure on the opposing defense for four quarters rather than two.

What do you think WVU needs to do to improve? Does the team stand a chance against No. 3 TCU on October 29th?

Don’t forget to visit the Mountaineer World blog for all of the highlights and visit Mountaineer World for all of your game day needs! Remember to tune in for West Virginia football on October 29th to cheer on your Mountaineers!

Game Highlights

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WVU Football Falls to Oklahoma State in Homecoming Game

Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 OT Final
 WVU 0 2 14 10 0 26
OSU 7 10 6 3 7 33

Game Recap

The Mountaineers couldn’t recover after a 2-yard touchdown run by the Cowboys in an overtime game at Milan-Puskar Stadium filled with a homecoming crowd on Saturday. WVU football Head Coach Dana Holgorsen said after the game, “You’ve got to put together four good quarters in the Big 12 to win football games and right now we are not capable of doing that.” Similar to last week’s loss to Oklahoma, West Virginia had another rough start against No.21 OSU.

The first two quarters of the game were wrought with mistakes from the Mountaineers. A fumble by Skyler Howard early in the game was recovered by Oklahoma State defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah which put an early 7 points on the board for the Cowboys. WVU was able to hold Oklahoma at 7 – 0 for the remainder of the 1st quarter, but at the beginning of the 2nd, a fumble by Rushel Shell gave the Cowboys the opportunity to score. At the Mountaineer 28, a sequence of five plays gave OSU’s Rennie Childs a scoring opportunity from the 1-yard line. WVU was down 14-0. The Mountaineers would turn the ball over for the third time after a 59 yard push to the Cowboy’s 15. Wendell Smallwood had an opportunity for a first-down until Chad Whitener stripped Smallwood of the ball, which was then recovered by Jordan Sterns at the OSU 5-yard line. WVU lost the touchdown opportunity and may have gone into half-time without a point on the board, but Kyle Rose‘s sack on Cowboy quarterback Mason Rudolph in the end zone gave the Mountaineers 2-points.

For every mistake West Virginia made during the first half, they topped with impressive play in the second. Smallwood opened up WVU scoring early in the 3rd quarter with a 29-yard run to the OSU end zone. Howard answered for his earlier fumble with what would be the most impressive play in the game. Howard threw a deep pass to Shelton Gibson which resulted in a 48-yard touchdown, bringing the score to 23-16. Howard pumped even more adrenaline through the stadium when he ran the ball into the end zone with 2:44 left in the 4th quarter, tying the score.

The Mountaineers began overtime with their defense, and after several plays, OSU’s Walsh carried the ball in for a touchdown on 4th-and-goal from the Mountaineer 2. The Mountaineers answered back during their possession with a push beginning with Shell‘s 5-yard run and ending with a first down at the Cowboy’s 9. Shell may have been able to run the ball in for a touchdown, but chose to take a route on the outside, leading him straight into Jordan Burton and Tre Flowers and a 7-yard loss. Howard‘s throw to Daikiel Shorts Jr. that would have tied the game ended in an in-completion and, ultimately, a loss for our Mountaineers

Who Stood Out

Though the Mountaineers struggled offensively, the defense showed up to match the amount of turnovers by West Virginia to OSU. Early in the game, corner back Terrell Chestnut ran under a Rudolph pass and made the interception with ease inside of the Cowboy’s 10, giving Chestnut his second interception on the season, and the third in his career. Daryl Worley intercepted a pass intended for Oklahoma State’s Marcell Ateman inside the Cowboy’s 50, marking his 2nd interception of the season and 6th in his career.  The final WVU interception came from Nick Kwiatkoski (his first since 2013 and 4th in his career) who caught the ball, intended for OSU wide receiver James Washington, off the shoulder of Chestnut.

The three interceptions made by the West Virginia defense gave WVU 16 takeaways this season, topping their previous year’s total of 14. WVU is now the 8th college football team since 2000 to have 13 or more interceptions in the first 5 games of the season.

Preparing for Baylor

After another lack-luster performance by WVU in the first half, it’s clear that the Mountaineers need to start capitalizing on opportunities earlier in the game. Facing No. 3 Baylor on the road next Saturday, the Mountaineers will have to do exactly what Holgorsen commented to the media – play all 4 quarters. West Virginia, as-of-yet, in the Big 12 has become a “second-half” team. While the fans admire their drive when the team comes into the 2nd half ready to make a comeback, the offense will have to work on putting numbers on the board early in the game without conceding any turnovers.

Don’t forget to visit the Mountaineer World blog for all of the highlights and visit Mountaineer World for all of your game day needs!

Game Highlights

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WVU Football Breezes Past Liberty University

West Virginia collects their 2nd W over Liberty University, 41-17

Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
 WVU 6 14 14 7 41
 LU 0 0 7 10 17

Game Recap

The West Virginia Mountaineers came out to capitalize on the momentum from their win over Georgia Southern last weekend and collected another early season win against Liberty University. The offensive push began early in the game with an 11-play push down field that resulted in a 28-yard field goal completed by Josh Lambert and shortly after, Lambert scored another 3 points for the Mountaineers after a 34-yard scramble from Skylar Howard put the ball on the Liberty 13-yard line.

When the Mountaineers gained their next possession of the game, Howard wasted no time putting the ball in red-shirt sophomore Wide Receiver Shelton Gibson’s hands for a 52-yard run resulting in a touchdown. Less than 10 minutes later, WVU’s Wendell Smallwood carried the ball a short 4 yards into the Liberty Endzone and fumbled, but was able to recover the ball at the bottom of the pile for a 0-yard fumble recovery. True freshman receiver Jovon Durante impressed his teammates with a team-best 7-catches resulting in a total of 60-yards, including a 10-yard touchdown in the 3rd quarter.

Liberty was able to finally breach the Mountaineer defense that was on a 6 1/2 quarter scoreless streak when Todd Macon was able to carry the ball in from the 7-yard line. Halfway through the final quarter, Liberty scored their final touchdown with a 60-yard push by Liberty’s John Woodrum and Zac Parker.

William Crest Jr. played for a hefty amount of time in place of Howard in the fourth quarter and was able to complete 6-of-6 passes for a total of 50-yards. Smallwood capitalized off of one of those passes and marked his second touchdown of the game with 3:36 remaining in the fourth.

Individual MVP

 Player Completions / Attempts Yards TDs INTs
 Skyler Howard, QB 21/26 263 3 0

Skylar Howard has clearly been working hard to prove he is cutout to serve as the Mountaineer’s No.1 QB this season. Howard was patient against the Liberty Flames for most of the game as he faced a defense that specializes in forcing teams to really work for the big plays. Howard combined with Smallwood and Rushel Shell in a nostalgic running game that WVU has been lacking for a long time. That, combined with Howard’s shorter passes, led to WVUs second win of the season at Milan Puskar Stadium.

Howard completed one of his most productive games since wearing the WVU jersey with 14 consecutive pass completions during the third quarter. Howard has yet to throw an interception in his Mountaineer career. Head Coach Dana Holgorsen remarked to the media after the game that Howard is “a good football player [and] a good quarterback.”

Unsung Hero

The Mountaineer offense made major strides this game after the win last weekend over Georgia Southern. There were several key players who teamed up with Howard to get the win against the Flames, but Wendell Smallwood gave an outstanding performance, collecting two touchdowns for the WVU victory.

The first Smallwood touchdown was a result of a 7-yard carry into the Liberty Endzone, but as Smallwood was coming down with the ball, it was stripped from his hands. Smallwood battled at the bottom of the pile up to regain possession and record a 0-yard fumble recovery. Late in the 4th quarter, Smallwood tallied his second touchdown after a 75-yard offensive drive led by backup QB William Crest Jr. His 5-yard carry into the Endzone gave WVU the resulting 41-17 win over Liberty.

Game Highlights

The Mountaineers will be taking the next two weeks to prepare for their border-rival Maryland, who they play Saturday Sept. 26th at home. In the meantime, submit your photos of your Mountaineer tailgate to our “Best Mountaineer Tailgate” contest for a chance to win a FREE Mountaineer World tailgating tent and don’t forget to shop at Mountaineer World for all of your WVU football jerseys, tailgating equipment, and more!

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Mountaineer Football Prepares for Georgia Southern

It’s almost here! Mountaineer football will be underway on September 5th when WVU takes on Georgia Southern. There have been a lot of questions surrounding the West Virginia football team since the loss of several key players from last year’s impressive season. However, after rigorous training and some players stepping into the vacant leadership roles, this year is looking to be a good season for our West Virginia Mountaineers.

Nothing lifts Mountaineer spirits more than seeing a confident Dana Holgorsen on media day. This past Tuesday, Holgorsen opened by explaining that he, his coaching staff, and his team are focused for the upcoming game against Georgia Southern – stating that the next week of practice will be a “mock game week” in order to get an idea of what they need to do against Georgia Southern. Though there is no chance of exactly replicating Georgia Southern’s explosive triple-option offense, Holgorsen is confident his scout team has studied the tapes enough to give his starting line-up an idea of what they’ll be facing on opening game day.

A bit of good news for the WVU football team – Georgia Southern’s starting QB will be out for the September 5th game. The bad news?  Holgorsen was quick to point out on media day that Southern’s second QB, Favian Upshaw, is more than capable of leading his team as he did last year. Holgorsen said Upshaw would surely “run that offense as good as he did last year, more than likely better than last year.” As for our starting QB, Skylar Howard, there have been doubts that he will be an effective quarterback for the Mountaineers – based on his size, speed, and skill. However, Holgorsen and the rest of the Mountaineers back Howard, saying that he is ready to prove everyone wrong.

Defensively, West Virginia has a lot to work on despite their reported outstanding defense. The game on September 5th will give everyone an idea of exactly how solid the Mountaineer defense is, and will help players understand where they still need some extra work for the rest of the season. Sophomore Safety Dravon Askew-Henry said it best, “I’m kind of glad we get to open up with them, because it will make everybody play better […] I think we will be alright.” Assistant Coach and Defensive Coordinator, Tony Gibson, hopes his players can be patient enough to properly defend the Georgia Southern offense, which contradicts the Mountaineer “quick attack” style usually practiced.

Overall, the Mountaineers have a lot of things that work in their favor now compared to what was available to them in the past offensively. On the ability and leadership of Howard, redshirt senior tight end/full back Cody Clay explained that Howards “mobility opens up a lot of stuff for us in terms of misdirection” – which makes blocking a little easier when the opposing team isn’t sure if Howard is going to run or throw. Typically in college football, a team with so many younger guys is questionable as far as performance because of the leap between high school and college football – longer practices, tougher opponents, and new teammates. Though when junior wide receiver Daikiel Shorts Jr. was asked about freshman WRs Jovon Durante and Gary Jennings, Shorts was happy to sing their praises.

The rest of Mountaineer Nation thinks their favorite college team will be alright as well. What are your thoughts on the upcoming game? Do the Mountaineers have what it takes to get the win and start the season with a loud bang? Let us know in the comments…

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NFL Draft: How Soon Will White Go?

As every dedicated football fan will know, the NFL draft begins tonight, and Mountaineer Nation is on the edge of its seat. Kevin White, West Virginia football’s star wide receiver that graduated last year, is being predicted as an early, Round 1 draft pick. What people can’t seem to agree on is where he’ll go!

Kevin White Draft 3White’s Mountaineer Career

White, son of Kevin and Tammy White, transferred to WVU as a Junior in 2013 from Lackawanna College. White saw action in his first season at WVU – 2013 season – where he played in eleven games, with a starting position in nine of those. White topped off his first year in a Mountaineer jersey with 35 receptions totaling 507 yards. White added five touchdowns to the 2013 season, including a long catch of 43 yards.

In the following year, White came back much improved, and more knowledgeable on WVU football. He recorded an additional 109 receptions – adding up to 1,447 yard to become another of Head Coach Dana Holgorsen’s 1,000 yard receiver club. White capped his year’s performance with 10 Mountaineer receiving touchdowns on the season.

Kevin White DraftWhite’s NFL Combine Stats

White’s Mountaineer career, though impressive, was not the only factor that contributed to his high expectations in the draft. White gave an impressive performance at the NFL Combine this year, with a grade of 6.95 going into tonight’s draft. What exactly does that mean? A quick break down of any player who has a chance of making it onto an NFL team is:

  • 00 – 50-50 chance of making an NFL team
  • 01-5.19 – better-than-average
  • 20-5.49 – Drafted as a backup, or as a special teams potential
  • 50-5.99 – Chance to be an NFL starter
  • 00-6.49 – instant starter
  • 50-6.99 – Chance to be a Pro-Bowl caliber player
  • 00-7.49 – Pro-Bowl caliber
  • 50-7.99 – Future All-Pro
  • 00-8.99 – Perennial All-Pro
  • 00-10 – Once in a lifetime

White is one of four Wide Receivers in this year’s draft to rank above a 6.0 grade. Overall, White is ranked 3rd – just behind rival Amari Cooper from Alabama – in the overall Best Available Prospects list. What exactly does White have to say about his play compared to Cooper’s?

White claims he’s a little behind Cooper as far as developmentally – due to his start at the junior-college level. Despite the slight disadvantage, White was confident when he said, “Amari Cooper is a great receiver, a great competitor, but I think I bring more to the table.”

2015 NFL Scouting CombineWho’s looking in the Draft?

Looking at the Round line-up in the draft, there are some teams looking to capitalize in the Wide Receiver position, but who needs it more?

The Buccaneers have the first pick in round one of the 2015 draft, and are looking for a wide receiver to add to their line-up. However, the Quarterback position seems to be a little more pressing, along with Head Coach Lovie Smith’s need to build-up their defense.

The Oakland Raiders are in desperate need of anything, and obtaining a wide receiver that can help motivate the team and fill some holes in the offense is of top priority. As of now, the Raiders seem to be the team that’s going for a quality Wide Receiver right out of the gate. Will they pick Cooper? An athlete that is extremely talented, but may not have the potential to reach any higher? Or will the Raiders select White, an athlete who had a late start, and still could use development, but is a superb athlete all-around?

The Jets are also in the market for a wide receiver, and an overall upgrade to the offensive line. However, the team could be examining quarterback’s closely in the first round.

The Bears are looking for a replacement at wide receiver for Brandon Marshall. The Rams – again – are looking for a wide receiver. The Browns, though not feeling too much pressure on the matter, are looking for a wide receiver at the 12th pick of the first round.

Most predict that White will be drafted early, within the first 12 picks of the first round. Regardless of where he goes, it’s sure that West Virginia will be cheering him on next season as he makes his NFL debut.

Where do you think White will end up?

Share your thoughts with us!