A View of Mountaineer Field from the Goodyear Blimp
Next Up: ESPN projects WVU to Liberty Bowl in Memphis on 12/29 vs Tennessee
This game started pretty well with the Mountaineers driving 76 yards on 6 plays with the last 54 of those yards coming on a beautiful touchdown scamper by Rushel Shell, the first “To the House" touchdown run of his WVU career to be honest I felt he would have had 3 or maybe even 4 such runs before this point but it has been a struggle for Shell with a string of nagging and some might even say suspect injuries. Shell does have a yards per carry average of 4.7 with seven rushing touchdowns, not too shabby for a tailback that rarely ever seems to be on the field.
After the Mountaineers grabbed the 7-0 lead it must have “Pissed off” the Iowa State Cyclones because on the ensuing possession they marched 80 yards on just 8 plays to tie the game on a 3 yard touchdown run by their senior tailback Aaron Wimberly. On the ensuing series the Mountaineer offense moved 55 yards to the Cyclone 32 yard line but Josh Lambert had a rare miss from outside of 40 yards and the game remained tied. The Cyclones came right back with a 68 yard drive and took a 14-7 lead when junior quarterback Sam B Richardson found Aaron Wimberly from 5 yards out for his 17th touchdown pass of the season and after one quarter Iowa State looked like they were going to be all WVU could handle.
On their first possession of the 2nd quarter the Mountaineers began the drive with Dreamius Smith at tailback and on his first Carry fumbled the football at the WVU 37 yard line recovered by the Cyclones freshman safety Kamari Cotton-Moya and 4 plays later Sam Richardson found junior receiver Tad Ecby for a 29 yard touchdown, Richardsons 18th TD pass of the season and at the 11:57 mark of the 2nd quarter the Iowa State Cyclones had a 21-7 lead and Dreamius Smith had a permanent seat on the bench as he saw no further action at running back in this game.. On the ensuing possession the Mountaineers did not allow the Cyclones to feel too good about themselves as they marched 78 yards on just 5 plays and Skyler Howard found Mario Alford for a 29 yard touchdown pass to cut the deficit to 21-14. After a 3 and out by the Iowa State offense the Mountaineers were in business again driving 74 yards on 7 plays with Howard finding Mario Alford again for a touchdown this time from 4 yards out and just like that the game was tied at 21-21.
After yet another unproductive offensive series by the Cyclones the Mountaineers would retake the lead 24-21 on a 46 yard josh Lambert field goal and after the third consecutive Iowa State punt WVU would add to their lead just before halftime driving 58 yards on 10 plays to the Cyclone 15 yard line before settling for a 32 yard Josh Lambert field goal and a 27-21 halftime lead.
Iowa State opened the 2nd half with a 14 play 54 yard drive that took 5:53 off the clock before the drive stalled at the WVU 16 yard line and the Cyclones settled for a 34 yard field goal from their sophomore placekicker Cole Netten and cut the lead to just 3 points at 27-24 with 8:52 to go in the 3rd quarter. The Mountaineer lead would remain just 3 points until the 9:10 mark of the 4th quarter when Skyler Howard would orchestrate a 6 play 75 yard drive the ended with a 15 yard TD pass to Daikiel Shorts and suddenly WVU had a 10 point lead and the game was starting to look like a sure Mountaineer victory. On their next possession the Mountaineers would add another long Josh Lambert field goal, this time from 43 yards to close out the scoring and leave the lovely hamlet of Ames Iowa with a much needed 37-24 victory in their Big 12 season finale.
POSITIVES & NEGATIVES:
Positives: Well anytime you have a sophomore quarterback make his first start against a conference opponent and he completes 21 of 40 passes for 285 yards and 3 touchdowns with no interceptions it’s a pretty good performance. Howard did have a rather inexcusable fumble late in the 4th quarter at the WVU 29 when the Mountaineers were attempting to run out the clock but it was not a factor in the game.
Of course another major positive is Rushel Shell finally “feeling healthy” and rushing for 146 yards on just 22 carries, including a 54 yard touchdown run. That’s a 6.6 yards per carry average for the game. On the season Shell does have 766 yards on 164 carries for a 4.7 average. Incredibly Shell could actually still have a 1000 yard season after all. He only needs a 234 yard rushing performance in the bowl game!!!! ….Not very likely is it, Well anyway all things considered Rushel’s numbers are pretty good considering the Power 5 competition he's facing when he is playing.
Even though Kevin White has somewhat dissapeared since he obtained 1000 recieving yards early in the season Mario Alford who I like to call the "Morganown Missle" has played much more consistantly. In this game Mario had 5 catches for 82 yards and a pair of TDs. On the season Marion has a very good chance to join Kevin White in the "1000 Yard Club" as Mario now has 62 receptions and 888 yards on the season with 10 TDs. Mario needs just 112 yards in the bowl game to accomplish 1000 yard season.
Another great game by Josh Lambert with 2 more 40+ field goals and one miss. On the season Josh has made 15 field goals from 40+ yards out and 4 of those from 50+ yards out. In fact Josh is 4 of 5 from 50+ and 11 of 17 from 40+ yards out. Josh is currently eighth in the country in points scored (122) and 2nd in field goals made per game (2.25). More importantly, he has established an NCAA record with 15 kicks of 40 yards or longer in a season.Josh is also 41 or 41 in PATs. This has been an outstanding season for the sophomore kicker from Garland Texas.
Another positive was the WVU defensive adjustments. After jumping out to the 21-7 lead the Mountaineer defense pretty much shut the Cyclones completely down while the worked their way back into the lead. I know Iowa St is 2-9 but it was still a strong effort, it could easily have gone the other way.
Negatives: Another slow start that put them in a hole they dig themselves out of. There was certainly no reason to let this Iowa State team that is clearly less talented than WVU get up by 14 points in the 1st quarter.
So now th Mountaineers wait until this sundays Bowl Selection Show to find out where they will be headed for the Holiday Season. There are still about 6 different Bowl Games that WVU could possibly be selected for but ESPN has them projected to play in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl in Memphis Tennessee on Monday December 29th at 2:00 PM on ESPN. The potential opponent for that game looks like it could be Arkansas or our old friend Butch Jones Tennessee Volunteers. Jones of course served as WVUs Recievers for a couple of seasons coach under Rich Rodriguez.
Another potential Bowl matchup could be the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando Florida possibly against Clemson who would no doubt be looking for a little revenge for the 70-33 Orange Bowl ass whipping from a couple years ago. In any event we will know Sunday afternoon so until that time................
Let's GOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!! Mountaineers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
USA Today Coaches Poll
|Game Date||Game Time||Opponent/Location||Event||Televised||Game Score|
|08/30/14||3:30 PM|| Alabama
|Chick-fil-A Classic||ABC||West Virginia 23|
#2 Alabama 33
|09/06/14||7:30 PM|| Towson
|Non League Game||Root Sports||West Virginia 54|
College Park, MD
|Big Ten Network||West Virginia 40|
|09/20/14||7:30 PM|| Oklahoma
|Big 12 Game||FOX||West Virginia 33|
|10/04/14||4:00 PM|| Kansas
|Big 12 Game |
|FOX Sports Network||West Virginia 33|
|Big 12 Game||Fox Sports 1||West Virginia 37|
Texas Tech 34
|Big 12 Game||Fox Sports 1||West Virginia 41|
|10/25/14||3:30 PM||Oklahoma State
|Big 12 Game||ESPN||West Virginia 34|
Oklahoma St 10
|11/01/14||3:30 PM||Texas Christian
|Big 12 Game||ABC||West Virginia 30
|Big 12 Game||FOX Sports 1||West Virginia 16|
|11/20/14||7:30 PM||Kansas State
|Big 12 Game |
|FOX Sports1||West Virginia 20|
Kansas St 26
|Big 12 Game||FOX Sports 1||West Virginia 37|
Iowa St 24
||TBD||TBD||West Virginia |