West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen has struggled to make an impact on the college football world since his team’s Fiesta Bowl thrashing of Clemson following the 2011 season.
That changed on Saturday.
The Mountaineers defeated the No. 4 Baylor Bears by a 41-27 score, giving WVU its first win against a Top 5 opponent since 2007, and more importantly, a signature win for Holgorsen.
West Virginia’s football program has regressed since their 10-3 mark in 2011, which included a BCS bowl victory.
In 2012, their first year in the Big XII, the Mountaineers had only seven wins, and were even worse last year, sporting a 4-8 record and taking a beating from conference powers Baylor, Kansas State, and Oklahoma.
Athletic director Oliver Luck, father of Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, stated that there were “far too many disappointments” following last year’s losing season. Holgorsen, who is known for his offensive genius, saw his defense shut down Heisman candidate Bryce Petty. Petty was sacked four times and was forced to get rid of the ball quickly.
The secondary blanketed Baylor’s receivers and held the nation’s top offense, which averaged a whopping 622.5 yards per game, to only 318 yards. New defensive coordinator Tony Gibson has kept the Mountaineers in games where their offense wasn’t at their best, which they weren’t on Saturday.
WVU Quarterback Clint Trickett had his eighth consecutive game of 300 passing yards dating back to last year, but he had more important things on his mind.
His father, Rick, who is Florida State’s offensive line coach, missed Saturday’s showdown with Notre Dame due to a health issue.
Both thanked fans on Twitter for their prayers and support later in the day. The Mountaineers overcame struggles on the field, committing three early turnovers, but that all seemed insignificant due to their quarterback’s family issues.
West Virginia’s 5-2 record means they’re one win away from becoming bowl-eligible.
Furthermore, the Mountaineers’ two toughest games remaining are both at home, against Kansas State and TCU, both of which may be in the Top 10 when the next AP poll comes out this afternoon.
Their remaining road games are against a struggling Texas squad, conference punching bag Iowa State, and Oklahoma State, who was crushed by TCU. West Virginia may be in contention for the top of the conference, but however their season turns out, this win has bought Holgorsen at least another year at West Virginia.
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