On the 31st of December, the West Virginia Mountaineers stormed into Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium to fight off against the Army Black Knights.
From the stands in Memphis, “Is our defense going to be ready for the Triple Option,” long time Mountaineer fan, Jim Ashley, asked himself. The longtime fan sat down for an interview exclusively with Blue Gold Sports intern Tom Berdel after traveling to Tennessee to attend the team’s bowl game on New Year’s Eve.
The triple option is the primary offense for the three military academies football teams. The Navy, Army and Air Force all use the triple option, or the flexbone. It essentially consists of your standard option play, however there are three potential ball carriers ready and willing.
As the game has shown us, West Virginia was in fact ready for the Army’s run game. While the game itself was one of excitement and intrigue, some of the fans were not having the best of times with weather conditions and the halftime quarterback change.
“Cold, 39 degrees, and I’m trying to think of the best,” Ashley said as the Mountaineers struggled to gain control of the game.
Ashley had a shock in Memphis during the second half, “When I heard the name Austin Kendall come to mind the first three letters that came to my head were W. T. F.” Judging by social media, many other WVU fans showed a very similar confusion to the sudden change.
Putting in Kendall turned out to be somewhat of a blessing.
The chemistry Kendall has with a lot of the players on offense was quickly apparent to those in the stands and watching on television. During the bowl game, it appeared that Jarett Doege did not have that same chemistry with players as Kendall. This came in handy for the Mountaineers’ monumental comeback.
When asked about the future for Mountaineer football, specifically next year, Ashley was very optimistic on the up-and-coming juniors and seniors.
“I know this is cliche, but listen to your junior and senior leaders,” Ashley explained. It seems as though many fans agree that the team next year has great potential. Especially with HC Neal Brown staying here at WVU.”
The offense seems to be looking to keep Jarett Doege as the starting quarterback for next year. As it stands, this Mountaineer football team is in excellent shape, especially if they scout out some good prospects for the offense.
The Mountaineers have had a record season, especially for their defense. Ranked No. 4 overall by the NCAA, the Mountaineers came into this game prepared. However, of course, so did the Black Knights. Their defense finished the season as top-ranked in the nation. The bowl game turned out to be a battle of defenses who can stop two monster offenses, especially with the Army’s use of the triple option.
Army finished their season with a 9-3 record overall, ending the season with still having the best defense in all of college football.
After securing the bowl game victory, the Mountaineers have ended their season with a record of 6-4 overall, with going .500 in Big 12 play. All the while being undefeated at home, sporting one of the best defenses in the nation.