WVU Suffers Painful Loss To Cyclones
MORGANTOWN — Only a snap away.
Such is the life of a backup quarterback. That is a role that Jack Allison has served at WVU this season, understudy to Austin Kendall.
That all changed during the Mountaineers’ first offensive series Saturday against Iowa State. Kendall was injured when he took a vicious hit on a pass attempt. The Oklahoma transfer never re-entered the game.
The severity of Kendall’s injury is still not known.
Coach Neal Brown said in his post-game press conference, “He (Kendall) got hit in the act of throwing and his arm kind of got behind him. The good thing is it’s not an arm or a shoulder injury. It’s more in his chest area.”
Allison showed some flashes. He led the Mountaineers on a second-quarter scoring drive, capped by a 9-yard TD toss to T.J Simmons. That made the score 14-all at halftime.
The Mountaineers’ offense was non-existent, however, in the second half as WVU dropped a 38-14 decision to the Cyclones. For the day, Allison completed 18 of 24 passes for 140 yards with one interception.
Compounding the Mountaineers’ offensive woes was their absence of a running game, similar to their first two games of the season. WVU managed just 41 ground yards on 28 carries.
“We struggled to get the run game going against some decent box numbers and that’s a tough thing to ask of Jack,” Brown told the media after the game. “It’s tough to go in and play when you’ve got limited reps during the week.”
Kendall’s injury couldn’t have come at a worst time.
WVU has now dropped two straight contests, falling to 3-3 on the season. Moreover, the next two games are brutal road tests. The Mountaineers travel to Oklahoma Saturday before facing Baylor on Thursday, Oct. 31. Both are currently unbeaten.
Allison is a 6-foot-6, 210-pound junior. He has played in eight games for WVU, starting last year’s Camping World Bowl. The Orlando native completed 17 of 35 passes for 277 yards in a loss to Syracuse in that contest. He saw mop-up duty against Missouri this season, completing 1 of 2 passes for four yards.
“I didn’t make enough plays to help my team (Saturday). Everyone fought really well. The is my second year as second string so I know I have to be ready,” Allison said. “I think the second half we got caught with some bad field position. I think the rest of my team played a great game. I would like to have a couple of plays back, but you have to live with that.
“I need to do what my team needs me to do. I felt comfortable. I really did. I was excited but I was comfortable. I know I am one play away as a quarterback. I was involved in the game plan all week. I just need to do a better job of preparing.”
∫ This Saturday’s game against Oklahoma will be a noon start.
∫ Union Local’s Colton McKivitz again served as a captain Saturday.
∫ Dana Holgorsen is wasting no time in turning around the University of Houston program. The Cougars are now 2-4 after losing to Cincinnati Saturday. They went 8-5 last season.
∫ Saturday’s attendance was a season low 51,836. That was due to WVU students being on fall break.
∫ Iowa State is now 4-2 overall and 2-1 in the Big 12. The Cyclones visit Texas Tech Saturday.
∫ WVU doesn’t play again in Morgantown until Saturday, Nov. 9 when Texas Tech comes calling.
∫ The Mountaineers sported gray uniforms, both jerseys and pants. It was a sweet look.
∫ WVU defensive back Hakeen Bailey was ejected in the third quarter for targeting.
∫ “I thought our guys were ready to play but we just ran out of gas,” Brown said.
∫ At times in the second half, WVU featured five freshmen on the defensive side of the ball.
Bubba Kapral can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org