Skyler Howard ended the game 15/23, 189 yards, with 2 TD’s in his most extensive playing time so far as a Mountaineer. Down 20-3 in the third Howard provided a spark to a WVU offense that, to that point, had look stagnant. The Mountaineers ended up losing to Kansas St 26-20 but did Skyler Howard do enough to earn himself the starting spot?
We learned after the game that starting QB Clint Trickett has suffered a concussion at some point in the 3rd quarter that paved the way for Howard and a near WVU comeback.
Frustration levels seemed to be growing for WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen over the now 3 game losing streak and much of that frustration seemed to be at the offensive play. After the TCU game Holgorsen described Trickett as being “spooked” by the Horned Frogs pass rush. Trickett finished that game 15/26 for 162 yards including 1 TD pass and 2 interceptions. his worst performance of the season. The following week Trickett’s stats looked better on paper going 36/49 for 248 yards and 1 interception. The problem was Trickett was unable to throw the ball downfield and standout WR Kevin White was all taken out of the game.
All of this may have finally led up to Holgorsen’s statements after the Kansas St game that sophomore QB Skyler Howard would get the opportunity to win the starting position moving forward. This is in direct contrast to Holgorsen’s stance up to this point in the season. If you recall, Holgorsen had named Trickett the starter before he was even cleared to return to practice coming off his shoulder surgery.
Holgorsen had nothing but praise for Skyler after the game. “I don’t think it was by mistake that he was in there and we started moving the ball and playing uptempo and our players started blocking better, our players starting running better, they started catching better. I would say he’s the reason it was a six-point game,” said Holgorsen.
It is hard to overlook the performance Howard put in, in relief of Trickett on Thursday night. He made the tough throws, extended plays with his feet, and was able to sustain drives. If Trickett has been playing hurt it has been kept quiet, if there are any underlying issues they have also been kept quiet. What we do know is that we may have seen the last of Trickett starting for the Mountaineers.