The 2013 football season for West Virginia was disappointing, to say the least, finishing the season 4-8, and 2-7 in the Big 12. This team only had 33 returning players who had played a game in the Big 12 conference. However, this year WVU has 55 returning players on the roster. With everything to prove, WVU has avenged four losses from 2013 leading them to enter the rankings at number 22 in the AP Poll. This football team continues to try to seek respect and to show the country that they belong in the Big 12 and are here to stay.
It all started on September 21st 2013 when WVU traveled to Baltimore, MD to take on Maryland at M&T stadium. Ford Childress lead the Mountaineers only completing 11/22 passes and throwing two interceptions. Unbeaten Maryland forced six turnovers in their 37-0 win. WVU traveled to College Park to face the Maryland Terrapins on September 13th 2014, looking to take avenge last year’s shut-out. Clint Trickett threw for 511 yards and four touchdowns. Despite these numbers, in the fourth quarter, a fumble on a punt return set-up Maryland for a field goal to tie the game at 37 each. WVU then marched down the field for 65-yards to set-up Josh Lambert for the game winning 47-yard field goal.
(Josh Lambert and Rushel Shell celebrate the game winning 47 yard field goal against Maryland. Photo courtesy of WVUsports.com)
The next three games for WVU really set the tempo for the now 5-2 Mountaineers. On November 16th, 2013 WVU traveled to Lawrence, KS to take on the 2-7 Kansas Jayhawks. With high expectations for this WVU team, they would go on to lose this game 31-19. With a bitter loss the year before, WVU welcomed Kansas to Milan Puskar Stadium earlier this October. This time, WVU showed Kansas a completely different team. Mario Alford returned a kickoff for a 94 yard touchdown, Kevin White matched Stedman Bailey’s school record for five straight games with 100 yards receiving, Josh Lambert made four field goals, and Rushel Shell ran for a season high 113 yards and a touchdown. The defense played a spectacular game keeping Kansas from scoring until the third quarter, with Jordan Thompson’s fumble. This gave the Jayhawks the ball at the West Virginia’s 18 yard line. The Jayhawks second touchdown came from a special teams punt return. WVU went on to avenge their previous loss with a 33-14 win.
(Karl Joseph, Nick Kwiatkoski, and Eric Kinsey tackle Kansas’ Corey Avery at the Gold Rush game at Milan Puskar Stadium. Photo courtesy of WVUsports.com)
Homecoming 2013 against the Texas Tech Raiders left the Mountaineers defeated once again with the score of 37-27. This was Clint Trickett’s third start, only completing 27/43 passes, but the defense tried their best to win by recovering two fumbles to tie the game at 13-13. At the end of the third quarter, WVU was winning 27-23; however, they were unable to score in the fourth quarter to lose and become 2-4.
On October 11th, 2014, WVU traveled to Lubbock, TX and had the fewest points in the first quarter since the Kansas game in 2013. The Mountaineers started the game by falling behind 14-0, but they would not let their slow start dictate the final outcome of the game. With three seconds left in regulation, Josh Lambert made a career long 55 yard field goal for the win, a complete turnaround from the 2013 loss. This game was a head turner for an otherwise overlooked WVU kicker.
(Josh Lambert and Clint Trickett celebrate the game winning 55 yard field goal. Photo Courtesy of WVUsports.com)
October 5th 2013, in Waco Texas, WVU took on the Baylor Bears which was a grueling game for the Mountaineers. In the first 40 seconds of the opening quarter, No. 17 Baylor scored a touchdown. Also in the first quarter, Baylor’s Lache Seastrunk ran the ball for an 80 yard touchdown to lead 28-7. The Mountaineers went on to score three times in the fourth quarter, but the effort was not enough in the 73-42 loss.
With a pretty new looking Mountaineer lineup, Baylor came to Milan Puskar Stadium on October 18th, to play a very important game for both teams. WVU was looking to keep their winning streak on pace, and Baylor was trying to defend their 6-0 record. Trickett went 23 of 35 with 322 yards and 3 touchdowns. Kevin White had 8 receptions for 132 yards and two touchdowns. At half time, WVU was leading 24-20 and head coach Dana Holgerson was not going to settle for close again! WVU came out with a vengeance to the second half and pulled ahead in the fourth quarter. Trickett threw two of his three touchdowns in the fourth, and the defense stopped the Baylor offense on 4th– and- goal with less than three minutes to play to prevent a comeback. Lambert was a big factor in this game also by making a 54 yard field goal, just a yard shy of his career long boot from the Texas Tech contest, right as the half came to a close. With a heavily penalized match-up (18 against Baylor and 14 against WVU) WVU avenged their fourth straight game from the 2013 season, upsetting Baylor 41-27.
(Kevin White makes spectacular touchdown catch. Photo courtesy of WVUsports.com)
So far this season, WVU has gone down a path of focus to redeem themselves from last years losing season. This team in a town of country roads has a new vehicle, fueled with heart and talent, seeking to find redemption road, one week at a time. They will continue to try and follow this path when they play Kansas State (35-12 loss), Texas (49-47 loss), and Iowa state (52-44 loss).
(Statistics courtesy of espn.com and charlestondailymail.com)
(featured photo courtesy of wvusports.com)