By Jay Fisher
West Virginia simply wasn’t ready for the Texas Longhorns. Texas played like team who knew they needed a win to get to bowl eligibility; WVU played like a team still suffering from the malaise of a tough loss. The result? A 24-3 halftime deficit. The Mountaineers staged a very minor comeback, but fell to Texas, 33-16. Nobody really had a good game – the offense, the defense, or special teams.
It was never going to be an easy game. Texas was in desperate need of a win to keep its bowl hopes alive, and they have been playing better. They were also going to be a tough matchup for WVU – they are a power team on both sides of the ball, and they had advantages along both lines of scrimmage.
But they are also pretty one-dimensional on offense, and WVU should have been able to have more success on offense. But they weren’t mentally prepared, and it cost them.
Now WVU has a bye week, which is much needed. It will give them a chance to refocus, and try to get back some of their previous mojo. WVU has a good team. Look at what TCU is doing this season. WVU should have beaten them. Look at what Baylor is doing this year. WVU did beat them. Handily. Alabama is still ranked in the top 5, and WVU gave them a tough game. Oklahoma – despite the blowout loss to Baylor – is still a good team, and WVU played them tough.
But the team that took the field in the first half against Texas looked and played like a worn down team – mentally and physically. That is why this bye comes at such a good time.
[private] The basketball team had its first public exhibition game, which was a 109-60 win over Shepherd. It was a balanced attack, with 13 players scoring, including six in double figures. Those players were Jaysean Paige (13), Devin Williams (11), Juwan Staten (11), Elijah Macon (11), Jevon Carter (10), and Tarik Phillip (10). Obviously, it’s hard to glean too much, but the performance of the newcomers did give reason for optimism.
This year’s team appears to be a very deep team, and it is certainly longer and more athletic than it has been in a while. Coach Bob Huggins will have some flexibility by going with big or small lineups, depending on the matchups. They showed some good defense, and pressed more than we’ve seen in a long time. They open the season for real on Friday, by hosting Monmouth. This should be an easy win, as the Hawks are picked just middle-of-the-pack in the Metro Atlantic conference. They finished well below .500 last year, but do return four starters, and their top six scorers from last season.
Congratulations to the women’s soccer team. For the second straight year, they have captured the Big 12 tournament title. They beat TCU, Texas, and Oklahoma to win the title. The NCAA Selections were announced Monday, and WVU should have ended up a 2 or 3 seed in a region, and be able to host at least a couple of games. [/private]