Viola: It’s a game WVU should have won
MORGANTOWN – Dana Holgorsen might just be the most disappointed man in Morgantown.
”This is a game we should have won,” the West Virginia coach said.
The Mountaineers (3-4, 1-3 Big 12) had an 11-point lead late in the third quarter against No. 16 Texas Tech, but simply didn’t finish out the potential upset.
”The will to win was not there,” Holgorsen said. ”You could see it on the sidelines. Our crowd was great when we gave them reasons to be. Fourth quarter, we were up 11 points and we didn’t have the will to knock them out. That’s disappointing. (Texas Tech) had the will to want to win more than we did. That starts with me.”
Holgorsen also noted it wasn’t a lack off effort by the Mountaineers that caused the 37-27 loss. He was impressed with the effort. West Virginia just didn’t get the knock out punch it needed.
”We had a chance,” defensive coordinator Keith Patterson said. ”We just have to finish. (If) you got somebody down you have to be like sharks in the tank. You have to smell it. You have to go out there and take it.
”You have to give Texas Tech credit, man. When it was on the line, they made the plays. It’s simple. They made the plays in crunch time. We were in position, they just made a play and we didn’t.”
The end for West Virginia surprisingly came after Dreamius Smith scored his second touchdown of the day to put the Mountaineers ahead, 27-16.
After Smith’s 12-yard score, WVU ran only 19 plays for a total of 33 yards.
Texas Tech, on the other hand, finished out that same stretch with 274 yards on 37 plays with three touchdowns to pull off the come-from-behind victory.
”We refused to make a play on offense, defense or special teams in the last quarter-and-a-half,” Holgorsen said. ”We refused to coach well enough to win the game. That will be addressed.”
As it should.
There’s no excuse for the Mountaineers’ late collapse. Especially when, in their previous game, the Baylor Bears embarrassed them.
To be able to bonce back from a loss like that and beat a nationally ranked opponent would have been huge, not only in terms of wins and losses, but as in confidence as well.
”The things that stick out to me are the negative plays, the false start penalties, the two or three drops we had,” offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson said. ”That’s the thing that stops drive. It was probably more mental than anything. Just pushing through in the fourth quarter when things get tough. A lot of that comes with experience. It’s nice to have guys out there that have done that before. Obviously, we don’t.”
Actually, neither did Texas Tech.
The Red Raiders were led by a freshman quarterback who was making his second career start. His only collegiate victory came a week ago.
West Virginia has a somewhat easy schedule remaining as they face Kansas State (2-4, 0-3), TCU (3-4, 1-3), Kansas (2-4, 0-3), and Iowa State (1-4, 0-2).
Texas (4-2, 3-0) is the only team the Mountaineers face that has a winning record to date.
Confidence isn’t something you learn, however, it comes from within.
The more you lose, the tougher it is to regain.
While this loss is disappointing, it’s not demoralizing.
The Mountaineers need to remember that if they want to accomplish anything more this season.
Tony Viola can be reached via email at email@example.com