It goes without saying that the West Virginia football team left a sour taste in a lot of fans mouths this past Saturday in their 59-31 loss to the Oklahoma Sooners.
It wasn’t even because the average knowledgeable fan expected them to win on the road against arguably the nation’s top team without Will Grier in uniform–he was present, rocking sunglasses on the sideline–but more so how they lost and appeared to give in early. The same issues that have plagued the Mountaineers for the last few seasons were still getting the best of them in Norman. Dropped passes, untimely penalties and poor tackling were just some of the issues. Throw in the fact of all the chippy play and not backing up the “smack talk” on the field and it was not a fun day for the West Virginia faithful.
Some were calling for the firing of the whole staff by creating meme’s on Facebook and Twitter. Others just wanted offensive coordinator Jake Spavital gone while the remaining outcries called for the release of home grown defensive coordinator Tony Gibson (Gibson told reporters after the game that Dana Holgorsen should fire him). For what it’s worth, Gibson is a very good coach and has proved such in the past.
But as has been the case for basically ten years now, fans have turned their attention to Bob Huggins and the basketball team for relief and smiles.
During the team’s opener against Texas A&M, the Mountaineers got off to a fast start taking a 20-7 lead early in the contest in what looked like a rout in WVU’s favor. However, from there it took a terrible turn with the Aggies winning the rest of the contest 68-36 from that point and a feeling of defeat spread throughout the Mountain State. Maybe this was just not going to be a good sports year.
But as everyone has learned, never count out West Virginia and Bob Huggins.
Sunday night, the Mountaineers defeated Missouri in the Advocare Invitational Tournament in Orlando, however at halftime and early in the second half it looked like a reincarnation of the opener against the Aggies.
But down 68-52 with just 7:38 to play, Missouri guard Jordan Geist decided he was going to tick-off Jevon Carter by trying to throw the ball off of Carter’s chest on an inbounds play and well, that proved to be a bad decision.
Carter, the reigning National Defensive Player of the Year, got two straight steals that led to points. Later, Carter hit a pull-up mid range jumper and hit crucial free throws down the stretch. He finished with 29 points. Daxter Miles had one of his better games as a Mountaineer with 26 points and five rebounds and went 14-of-15 from the foul line including four straight inside 10 seconds to go that were HUGE.
Wesley Harris grew up a lot with nine points and 10 boards and a key block on the defensive end during the West Virginia comeback.
Lastly, the Press Virginia defense showed up after being M.I.A. the whole game and created havoc on Tiger ball handlers.
With the win, WVU goes to 6-1 with a few days off and look to gain confidence after their tournament title.
Football still has a bowl game left. Grier may in fact play in that game. Kennedy McKoy may run a bunch more wildcat. So there are definitely things to look forward to on the gridiron. But after another 7-5 regular season finish with some very bad breaks along the way, it’s Huggins, Carter and the hoops squad that need to be there to pick up the pieces.