Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

October 25, 2011

Mountaineers moving on after Syracuse loss

By DAVE MORRISON for the Daily Telegraph
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

MORGANTOWN — Syracuse apparently pulled the old okey-doke on West Virginia last Friday and it worked.

That’s why the Orange were able to get so much pressure on WVU quarterback Geno Smith in Syracuse’s 49-23 rout of the Mountaineers at the Carrier Dome.

“Sixteen of Syracuse’s first 24 blitzes were different blitzes,” coach Dana Holgorsen said. “That’s something I’ve never seen in college football and that’s a tribute to Syracuse doing some good stuff defensively, but we padded it up for the most part. We have to keep getting better at making sure we get the ball out of our hands and keep doing a better job of one-on-one pass protecting.”

Indeed, Smith was harassed all evening, much like he was in last year’s shocking 19-14 loss to the Orange at home.

“I give them a tremendous amount of credit,” Holgorsen said of the Orange. “We knew what we were getting ourselves into from the atmosphere — they were going to be excited. It’s the same thing talking with the defensive guys last year, they hit the field here in Morgantown and played harder than West Virginia did — I don’t know why.

“But they did the same thing up there, and I give them a bunch of credit schematically on all three sides of the ball.”

The 49 points surrendered where the most by WVU in a Big East game.

Holgorsen said he hoped that provided WVU (5-2) with motivation heading into Saturday’s 3:30 p.m. game at Rutgers.

“You look at what’s on tape and you see yourself get outplayed by your opponent, and it typically motivates you,” the coach said. “We’re not going to change how we do anything around here. We have a weekly schedule that we’re going to abide by, and we’re going to do everything we possibly can to get them motivated to play on Saturday afternoon.”

Holgorsen also addressed the fact that he wanted to challenge a call that Syracuse had at least 13 players on the field during a late first half drive. The play resulted in an incompletion and a play later Geno Smith threw one of his two interceptions.

“I was under the impression that you could challenge that, and they told me that you couldn’t,” Holgorsen said. “I knew that there was anywhere from 13 to 15 guys on the field when the ball was snapped, and that was a key second down play where they gave us the first down, so I wanted to challenge it, and I was told that I couldn’t. You learn something new every day.”

The Mountaineers begin prepping for Rutgers today after getting the regular Monday off.

Holgorsen’s job now, he said, was to get his team past the shocking and upsetting loss.

“It’s obviously no fun,” Holgorsen said. “It’s our job, and we only get 12 opportunities a year. So you put so much into it, and when it doesn’t work out it’s discouraging. So our job as coaches, and players as well, regardless of whether you win or lose, you have to move on to the next day.

“There is no time to start feeling sorry for yourself. We’ll be up here all night preparing for Rutgers, and it’s going to be a big challenge this week. We’ve got to move on and do the best that we possibly can to put ourselves in position to win the game this Saturday.”

— E-mail: demorrison@